Rather, what was unique, and made this book so intriguing, was that the people and countries involved in World War II become aware of how "their future" was supposed to play out and, in the case of the Axis powers, are forced to change their plans in order to try and thwart history.
This was my first novel by Birmingham, as he came highly recommended by http://www.goodreads.com/user/show/14... Addressing some of the review points about how this novel was plotted? (An action based novel is NOT going to have long sections of world building or lengthy character development). I wouldn't pick up a Harlequin Romance novel and then complain about terrible pacing/plotting from the author, quipping, "There is too much lovey-dovey emotional crap going on and not enough ass kicking." A review like that from me would be idiotic. Many of the novels I have read in 2012, came from recommendations here on GoodReads.
Birmingham devotes a lot of time not just to how the fleet's arrival upsets the balance of power, but also to its societal impact and resultant culture clashes. To my eyes, Birmingham treats mid-20th century America rather fairly, and despite the comparative social enlightenment of the 21st century characters, he shows the cultural scars and nihilism that two decades of War on Terror will imprint upon Western society.
I'll always give the alt-Earth story a shot and this started off great with a quick precis on the book's modern day world and then quickly jumping into the WW2 PTO. I think he did a good job capturing the kind of conflicts that might arise should a black man or half Pakistani woman show up in the 40s in positions of command.
An American led (yeah, ho hum) multinational force is positioned near East Timor, just outside Indonesia's territory. Indonesian Armed Force (TNI) had been divided, some are supporting the Jihad. And the story goes, the multinational force, accompanied by two of Indonesian frigates, KRI Sutanto and KRI Nuku (yes, the author is using KRI as the term), which are refitted frigates bought from East Germany during Habibie's term as president (yes, he said that), which are a part of national armed force still loyal with the government. One ship, which is a research vessel is conducting a top secret science experiment, accidentally creates a worm hole which transports the entire fleet backward in time, to 1942, in the middle of Midway naval battle, creating huge confusion in the Allied fleet. The multinational force from the future, is destined to change the history of World War II. Birmingham seems undecided about whether he will make this novel a "lesser history", such as Band of Brothers: E Company, 506th Regiment, 101st Airborne from Normandy to Hitler's Eagle's Nest, as historical account of the foot soldier, or a "major history" such as The Second World War, as the account of generals. You cannot have a deep sympathy for the character, such as in Band of Brothers: E Company, 506th Regiment, 101st Airborne from Normandy to Hitler's Eagle's Nest or A Game of Thrones.
Conveying this message convincingly is somewhat hampered by the fact that theyve got a Japanese ship with them, as well as some German officers. But with major damage to both fleets, including the fact that some of the 21st century task force apparently didnt make the trip successfully, they have to learn to work together if theyre going to prevent a disaster at Midway. There is one minor error, though, demonstrating why its dangerous for British and Australian writers to assume that America is as much like their homes as the language sometimes suggests: At one point, Birmingham has two of his 1940s American enlisted seamen, Moose Molloy and Slim Jim Davidson, talking about American Girl Guides.
This a definitely interesting read and the author raises some interesting problems that would arise not just because of the technological but also the cultural differences between the time travelers and the people of 1940s.
(view spoiler) When they get there they end up in the middle of another fleet of ships... So along about page 66 I've finally had enough of the fight where you know it's going to end when Americans figure out that they are shooting at each other.
An American led Multi-National armada from year 2021 is transported to WW2, right in the middle of the US Task Force heading to Midway for a major battle with the Japanese. On the ships from the futures, are men and women of all nationalities and races.
John Birmingham grew up in Ipswich, Queensland and was educated at St Edmunds Christian Brother's College in Ipswich and the University of Queensland in Brisbane.