Monday, October 10, 2005

Book 42

"World War 2.2: Designated Targets" by John Birmingham

Observant readers (specifically, those what read my friends' blogs) will remember that Sam IV has already had something to say about this one. I would like to echo most of his thoughts (and save space by suggesting you follow the link and read his plot summary) with one notable exception. I really, really enjoyed the first book. I also really, really enjoyed the second one and am really, really, really looking forward to the third. 2006 they tell us.

After reading the mildly interminable "American Front", I would have to suggest that Mr Turtledove get himself to his local bookshop and read Mr Birmingham's two offerings. He's got everything here that Turtledove was going for - examination of socio-cultural ramifications, intricate plotting, multiple storylines and brilliant action sequences - but executed (for the most part) with an elan and smoothness that Turtledove has yet equal (or approach, really).

With the near-future military contigent racing around 1942, Birmingham has given himself some very shiny toys with which to play and he uses them brilliantly. Even when the high-tech side is not being exploited, such as when SAS Major HRH Harry Windsor is fighting hand to hand with SS paratroopers, the narrative hammers along at a cracking pace. I actually had to stop myself reading this one during a stage door shift because the constant need to do the job I was being paid for was bringing me to the point of yelling at the people backstage to fuck off so I could finish the book.

While not a perfect book by any means (a couple of times Birmingham even falls into a near-Turtledove repetition trap - yes, John, there are thousands of planes battling over the English channel. You've told us five times), "Designated Targets" is an excellent and enjoyable one.

Four and a half hand-made Vulcan cannon out of Five.

PS: In finding the link I notice that we got the book before the US. Oh, and they don't call it World War 2.2. Apparently in America it's the "Axis Of Time" Trilogy. What a dinky name...

PPS: Oh, and the proofreader needs a stern talking to. There were about half a dozen spelling errors (wrong word, usually, or missing letter).


Anonymous John Birmingham said...

Five times? Really? Okay, that is excessive. I'll cut a few out in the mass market edition.

7:37 PM  
Blogger Euan said...

Um... yeah... about 5 times I'd say... um... thanks for writing such a brilliant book, though... um...

10:27 AM  

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