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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