Monday, November 25, 2013

Alternate History is Butchery

I have ranted previously of my distaste for alternate history fiction. Even with the badge ALTERNATE in front of the history part, these novels pollute our understanding of history just for a garnered fifteen minutes of entertainment factor. It is always great to play the what-if game with hindsight being 20-20 and all, but we should have a responsibility to the future generations to get the story right (what happens in 30 years when the fiction part gets lost in translation?). Authors can create a fascinating world of how history could have been glorious with our romantic visions of the steampunk genre in an entirely created universe. That romanticism is what actually draws me to the movement most of the time. Emma Jane Holloway is one of my favorites by revitalizing a much beloved fictional character with modern twists of science. Chris Kohout fell drastically short for me by using very real, historical persons in his twist. I really thought it might have turned out differently and am very glad I only spent 99 cents.

Fate of Nations: Einstein Must Die! by Chris Kohout

The title is catchy and makes you want to read the synopsis to see if this story is going to have anything to offer. When I purchased the book, it had a different synopsis posted than the one up today and probably would have dissuaded me from reading. The brief promotional talked of war tanks melded with human psyche forever changing the landscape of war (very science fiction and "un"real at first glance) but set in the landscape of early Industrial Revolution America. Inventions by Einstein, Tesla and Edison were mentioned for that authentic feel. I was very mistaken after reading the first chapter and realizing that our main protagonist and antagonist would be Tesla and Edison themselves. Eek! Did I get suckered?

The action of the story was incredible. Fighting scenes followed by dramatic, heart-wrenching scientific advancement moved the story at a great clip. I must give it credit for making it hard to put down. You just absolutely get carried away on a tidal wave of activity. The climax of the story almost seems to occur at the beginning of the book leaving me wondering how the rest of the story will shape up (and if the author has ever taking a writing class on the structure of fiction), but you end up relishing the continuous ups and downs of war just as they really are.

There was a satisfying conclusion despite this being the first in a series. I'm not sure if I will progress along with the series, but this installment was certainly thought-provoking. There is a beautiful blend of philosophy brought about by war and technological advancement. The author brought forth a striking reality to the fiction.

The editing on this book was phenomenal. There were minimal grammatical and structural errors to trip up the story. If only the author had used such great creative powers with fictional heroes, I would have easily given this book 5 stars. My principles on muddying the waters of historical fact leave me at 3 stars; however, many others may not agree with my point of view and should thoroughly enjoy this novel.