Monday, March 14, 2016

Weekly Update #226! The Critics Talk About the United States of Japan and More.

Editor's Note

I'm glad everyone seemed to enjoy my review of The Merchant of Death by DJ MacHale. Sam McDonald later commented on the review saying the series does get better as the books go on, so who knows, I may try book two sometime in the future. That being said, I am more interested in reading Behemoth, the sequel to Scott Westefeld's Leviathan.

I should also remind everyone that you can read "Collapse Theory" the first short story I finished on Patreon. All you have to do is become one of patrons. Depending on what level you pick, you can get your credits in one of my videos, early viewings of my videos and the ability to tell me what to write about next, along with monthly original fiction by yours truly.

One final note: I will not be posting a Map Monday today. Last week was slim pickens for good maps and for those I did feature I just couldn't come up with much to say about them other than "they are good, I guess". Hopefully this week we will see a better performance from the alternate cartographers out there.

And now the news...

What do the critics have to say about Peter Tieryas’ United States of Japan?

So if you have been following this blog the last few months, you have probably heard me talk about Peter Tieryas’ United States of Japan. I won't show the Amazon description again, but its been called the spiritual successor to The Man in the High Castle and it was published only recently. The critics have also spoken quite highly of it.

Narelle Ho Sang of SF Signal gave the book 4 1/2 stars and said it was "a smart, gut-wrenching alternative reality that blurs lines between hope, what’s right and wrong in war and under the guise of loyalty, with a focus on emotional truths of human nature." Meanwhile Kameron Hurley (Intellectual Badass) said the book was "one of those books that you think about long after you put it down. I haven’t been able to shake it. This is a darkly fun, clever, and unrelentingly ambitious book. Pick it up and enjoy the ride."

In Pursuit of My Own Library, however, was more critical of United States of Japan. Although they said it had a "motivating, compelling, and fascinating narrative" with "characters [that] are real and gritty" it also knocked points off for the mecha featured on the book's cover not entering the story until the half way point. The reviewer also questioned why American cities weren't renamed by the occupying Japanese, but apparently the author reached out to him and he later dropped that criticism.

Even with the above review, most of the reviews I have seen for the United States of Japan have been positive. This is certainly a book on my to-read list and I hope that Peter submits it for the 2016 Sidewise Award reading period.

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Matt Mitrovich is the founder and editor of Alternate History Weekly Update, a blogger on Amazing Stories and a Sidewise Awards for Alternate History judgeWhen not writing he works as an attorney, enjoys life with his beautiful wife Alana and prepares for the day when travel between parallel universes becomes a reality. You can follow him on FacebookTwitter and YouTube. Learn how you can support his alternate history projects on Patreon.

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