RogerBW's Blog

Into the Storm, Taylor Anderson 02 April 2017

2008 alternate-history science fiction war story. During the Battle of the Java Sea in 1942, two antiquated four-stacker destroyers sail into a squall… and come out somewhere else.

Maybe I just shouldn't bother reading books like this. It came recommended by people who seemed to have had many of the same problems I did with Weapons of Choice, and it's clearly a love letter from the author to the Clemson-class destroyers aboard which most of the action takes place. So far so good.

The world into which they're flung is one with identical geography, but no humans – rather, there are two other sorts of intelligent life, one descended from lemurs, the other from velociraptors or their kin. Naturally, they fight each other. Naturally, the four-stacker is a vastly more powerful weapon than anything they can produce themselves. So the Americans have to decide which side to fight on… which takes less than a page, and is made rather easier by the raptors attacking them without provocation. Meanwhile the lemuroids have a culture best described as "generic tribal".

Eh, it's all right as far as the action goes I suppose (though it does have a tendency to skip over the descriptions once the battle is decided), but it's so thoroughly lacking in character that I really couldn't feel any enthusiasm for anyone here. There aren't just Navy men on board, which is plausible enough given the chaos of the evacuation of the Dutch East Indies: there are some Army Air Corps pilots of whom the leader is an Antagonist, there's a convenient petroleum geologist who knows where to find and how to refine the oil that can keep this ship moving, and there are some Navy nurses presumably to provide an eventual love interest; but when people here get one character trait they're already beating the average.

There are ten more books in this series, with another due out soon, but I just felt absolutely no sense of engagement with this parade of stereotypes. Many people who aren't me think these books are wonderful, so maybe you will too. Followed by Crusade.

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See also:
Weapons of Choice, John Birmingham

  1. Posted by Michael Cule at 12:01pm on 02 April 2017

    Presumably they have to be lemurs and velociraptors because:

    1) Velociraptors are cool right now and

    2) Those books about the lost US Civil War regiment already did the parallel world with humans on it being rescued by more advanced world hoppers thing. (I can't recall the titles now despite having read more than one of them. Which is sad in more than one way.)

  2. Posted by RogerBW at 01:22pm on 02 April 2017

    William R. Forstchen's The Lost Regiment series of nine books? Haven't read them (I don't like Forstchen's writing style in other works) but they sounded familiar.

  3. Posted by Michael Cule at 07:57pm on 02 April 2017

    That would be them.

    Let's see what else he's done... Mixture of historical and military style sf... Oh, look helped inspire the 'prepper' movement by writing domesday fiction about EMP weapons. Uh huh.

    Well, I wasn't even planning to finish reading the LOST REGIMENT series..

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