Peter Tieryas, United States of Japan (2016)

My first ARC 🙂 Yay! Thanks to Angry Robot’s Robot Army programme, we got early access (through NetGalley) to the ebook of United States of Japan by Peter Tieryas. Thanks, Angry Robot! Book will be published in the beginning of March, and I got to read it already, so it’s only fair that I’ll write a few words about it 😉

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It is, of course, The Man in the High Castle with mecha, the cover (I love it!) tells us as much. It’s more than that, surely, but that’s the first thing that comes to a reader’s mind and the author doesn’t hide his inspirations:

United States of Japan wouldn’t exist without some wonderful people. Obviously, the first person I want to thank is Philip K Dick who inspired me a great deal growing up, especially through The Man in the High Castle. Even though we’re very different writers, he’s had a huge influence on me and helped me to view the world in a completely unique light. (from Acknowledgements)

Another bow to Dick – similar plot device. In the classic book, a novel depicting alternative history within alternative history – a world where Axis won the war (differently than in our world, but still) is central to the plot. Here – it’s a computer game based on the same assumption, that’s a great idea for our times :)!

It is, ultimately, a very different book than its great predecessor, and one that deserves to be judged on its own merits. And I’m conflicted about how to judge it. It was a brave project to attempt writing spiritual successor to PKD’s masterpiece, probably too ambitious, but the result is an interesting book, though one not suited for everybody. A strong stomach is required, for one. An ability to either forgive protagonists a lot, or to enjoy a book while despising most of the characters – also helpful.

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