Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Turtledove, Harry. Days of infamy. New York: Penguin Roc, 2005. 520pp.

A pretty typical Turtledove alternate history novel, nothing more, nothing less. Interesting premise, large cast of viewpoint characters on both sides, lots of plot threads to make room for a bunch of sequels, a fair amount of padding in the text itself in the form of endless repetitions. And most of all, not much plot for a lot of pages.

This one is set in the Pacific theatre of WWII, with Japan invading and occupying Pearl Harbor in December 1941 instead of just mounting a surprise attack. The occupation that Turtledove presents seems suitably brutal, mostly in sync with what we know about the Japanese military during the war. Since Turtledove always has some characters conflicted by their situation in his alternate histories, this one is no different. This time it's the substantial population of Hawaiian Japanese, with the older generations tending to favour their homeland and younger siding with the USA. Of course, the Yankee characters are generally fairly arrogant and self-assured about their innate superiority and it's nice to see them taken down a peg by the superiority of the Japanese forces, leading me to at times root for the Japanese (if only temporarily, the occupation is truly brutal). I imagine that we'll see the American forces get the upper hand in later volumes.

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