Wednesday, March 4, 2009

You got your Alternate History in my Sci-Fi

I'm normally not a huge fan of Sci-Fi. I love Ender's Game like most everyone and Feintuch's Hope series has some nice moments (more about that in another post). But as a whole it isn't a genre that speaks to me. I love the idea behind alternate history, but I've not seen it executed very well. Turtledove has some very interesting ideas, but I can't stand his writing, and other authors never seem to do as much with the stories as I would like.

Then I read the Destroyermen trilogy by Taylor Anderson. It begins in 1942 with the USS Walker, an obsolete American destroyer fleeing desperately from the Japanese onslaught in the company of the remainder of the Allied forces in the South Pacific. Harried and overwhelmed by overwhelming Japanese naval and air forces she slips into a passing squall for shelter and emerges in a totally different world. The sea is somehow different and more dangerous, the landforms don't quite match the charts, and there are no radio signals or any evidence of human presence.

As they explore the new world they find themselves in the men of the Walker come across a race of lemur-like seafarers known as The People and hear of the all-consuming Grik, a race of predatory lizards. They will be forced to choose between searching for a way out of their untenable situation or confronting a terrible and implacable enemy. And they will find out they weren't the only vessel from their world who passed through The Squall.

Filled with interesting characters coming to grips with a strange new world the three books of the series, Into the Storm, Crusade, and Maelstrom provide no shortage of fierce creatures, jury rigged solutions, and frantic battles. Anderson creates a savage world creepily similar to our own and populates it with characters you care about and root for. If you like militaristic sci-fi, or WWII action Destroyermen might be the perfect blend for you.

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