When the East takes West

When the East takes West

Last week I had finished reading United States of Japan by Peter Tieryas, Set in an alternative history where the Axis won the Second World War. The book explores what might happen if Japan had taken over West land America and ruling it in its authoritarian ideology.

This book was hard put down, every page was just too good to leave from the way peter writes his book. The flow of the story is what catches me, learning about the characters and the world they inhabit. There’s a lot of interesting concepts such as the George Washington’s, a group who believes in the values of freedom and pride of old America.

Beniko has an interesting role in the story, whilst he may seem like a slacker and a womaniser on the outside, but inside, there’s a lot more to him that makes you understand him, if sometimes he tells half truths. Whilst I can’t spoil the end of the book, he’s an entirely different person at the end of the story, you get to see man who gets live on because of others who would help him, wether for the greater good of the USJ or for justice sake.

I also like the world building in the story, Tieryas puts a lot of effort (but not too much exposition) in presenting America with Japanese culture and society. You get to see both the marvels of technology, health and prosperity in a clean city life in Japan (lucky for the Third Reich, they get the worst carbon monoxide choked cities in the East). However, the darker side of the USJ reveals how very ruthless the authoritarian rulership can be if anyone expresses freedom of will that’s against the God Emperor (before you ask, no it’s not the Emperor from Warhammer 40k)

I wish I could go into more detail about this amazing book, but I’d be spoiling a lot of the story. I’d recommend this book if you like alternative history and Japanese culture. For those of you who like mechas (like me), there’s a good sprinkle of mecha action and lore behind the developments of these colossal giants in USJ.

Before I finish this post, I’d like to point out five things that’s got me curious about USJ (warinig! Some major spoilers about the book will be mentioned!)

  1. Since this story is set in the later half of the 80’s, will future books be continuing the timeline of the USJ, or run parallel with this book?
  2. As the next book in the USJ series will be focusing on mechas, will it be set before or after USJ?
  3. I’m interested to know the fate of Akiko after USJ, will she be making an appearance in the next book?
  4. Reading about Kujira’s thoughts on the empire and how newer mechas are vastly more cheaper and heavily relies on simulation recruitment. Will the next book show division between the old timers against the new changes in mecha production?
  5. Seeing as USJ only focuses on the West side of America, it would be interesting to see how East side of America looks like in the prospective of the Axis controlled side.
  6. After the aftermath of the book, what happens to the George Washington’s?

overall, I’d recommend this book to anyone who enjoys alternative history and Japanese culture and mecha anime. Whilst the story has a lot less mecha action and more about character driven story and world building, the book is nonetheless a fantastic story to read!

-Bjorn

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Grimaldus!!! (During course work break)

Having lunch now, I’ll be reading this glorious book during my break. I was inspired to read it after last night watching all of the fan made videos of (unofficial) series on Helsreach (I’ve forgot who the creator of the unofficial series was called, but you’ll be able to find some links on Aaron Dembski Bowden’s blog, or search Helsreach on YouTube). Seeing how badass the Black Templars are, I’m getting prepared to get back into painting my Black Templars Collection tonight.

For those of you who are new to the blog, here’s a photo of my best works in the collection.

Now if you’ll excuse me, there are some heretics to purge!

-Bjorn

12 days of winter [day 1]: For Sotha!

12 days of winter [day 1]: For Sotha!

Starting off my Calendar count down is a short but interesting look at a Black Library publication that I’ve been reading, Space Marine Battles: Scythes of the Emperor by L J Goulding. As part of the collection of short stories (including a novella) I’ll be sharing my thoughts on a short story called The Aegidan Oath.

Just to be clear, I won’t be spoiling the short story, as I think you’ll find it more interesting and absorbing if you read it yourself. However, there might be a small spoiler relating to Pharos and the 13th Legion after HH.

My thoughts on The Aegidan Oath

This short story is surprisingly filled with some interesting information and opinions on the Ultramarines, and how Robute Guilliman is described by both his greatest achievement, and his greatest failure. For those of you who know about the Imperium Secondus will know that it is in fact one of the Primarchs greatest failure, which his legion have tried to cover up post Heresy. This revelation was surprising to me, as I didn’t know much about the Ultramarines chapter apart from some basic information.

This story offers an insight into the Ultramarines and how they aren’t as perfect as current events would show them to be. The Imperium Secundus and the secret phantom 11th company, which, if found out by the High Lords of Terra, could not only Jeopardise the Legion branded as heretics , but also the Codex Astartes itself! I like how L J Goulding has fleshed out Guilliman for both his glory and faults, which makes him more relatable and more compelling as a character.

How is this story tied to the Scythes of the Emperor? Well first off, the story is set on Pharos, on the world of Sotha, which is very much part of the 3rd Successor chapters culture. This story takes place many centuries after the Horus Heresy, as well as the death of Guilliman (well, in stasis to be exact). It tells a tale about two Ultramarines who have come to deliver news to a certain “legend” on Pharos, news of which will lead to two major choices.

The story, whilst leaves many questions than answers, at least it gives you some prospective on events of then, and how the Scythes of the Emperor were established.

My overall thoughts on the short story

The story overall is a fantastic read for a short story, it shows you a historical event on how the Scythes were established, as well as adding more mythos to the cannon. Whilst I lacked much knowledge on Pharos during HH, I did however, enjoy the story which thankfully had some context on post HH on Pharos.

I’d recommend this as a good short read for traveling, or if you want to know more about the origins of the Scythes of the Emperor.

______________________________

Thank you for reading this post. This was my first attempt at typing my thoughts down on reading a short story, so I might be a little bit amateur on description and format of the post. However, it was difficult not to spoil the story.

If you have any questions or anything about this post that you want to ask me (no spoilers), post a comment below and I’ll reply back as soon as I can. Thanks!

-Bjorn

Book review: Red Dwarf; Infinity Welcomes Careful Drivers

Book review: Red Dwarf; Infinity Welcomes Careful Drivers

To celebrate the return of Red Dwarf this month, I’ve decided to do my first review on one of the four books from the cult classic Sci-Fi series.

 [This is my first review, so if my quality of grammar and reviewing isn’t that great, I do apologise].

Book~ Red Dwarf; Infinity Welcomes Careful Drivers

Publisher~ Penguin Books

Written by~ Grant Naylor

Genre~ Sci-Fi/ comedy

My views:

I found the book to be really entertaining from start to finish, exploring each of the characters more wider backstorys that sets up their role in the story progression. The book was actually written by Grant Naylor, who along with Doug Naylor and Rob Grant created Red Dwarf, so the book is very much on par as the televised series standards. The book is split into three parts, telling the story of listers journey from Mimas on Saturn, to being the last human alive on Red Dwarf. 

The book demonstrates a great way of fleshing out character thoughts, which really helps to see how their views and actions affect their choices in the story. This is clearly present with Rimmer, who goes through a really deep thought reflection before his ‘uncertain’ inevitable fate.

However, my only down side on what the book could improve on is that the ending of the book is sort of left on a cliffhanger, I won’t spoil it, but I felt that the final part was rushed.

Overal, this book has more than stayed true to its source material, delivering the same characterisation of the Red Dwarf crew. With added exploration not just from outer space, but for the characters that we follow on the journey. I hope you have enjoyed this review!