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United States of Japan by Peter Tieryas
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United States of Japan (edition 2016)

by Peter Tieryas (Author)

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Member:parasolofdoom
Title:United States of Japan
Authors:Peter Tieryas (Author)
Info:Angry Robot (2016), 400 pages
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United States of Japan by Peter Tieryas Liu

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This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot, Booklikes & Librarything and linked at Goodreads & Mobileread by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: United States of Japan
Series: ---------
Author: Peter Tieryas
Rating: 2 of 5 Stars
Genre: Alt-History
Pages: 400
Format: Digital Edition


Synopsis:

Japan and Germany win War World II. Japan takes over the West Coast of America and completely destroy all American culture and replace it with their own. Having the upper hand in technology, the Japanese establish the United States of Japan.

Now in 1988, one man...
Is Fighting Back. With Giant Robots, Nukes and Robo-swords. He is the technological Wizard and is going to restore the American Ideal of Freedom!

Ha. Fooled you. This is some piece of crap about a coward and a disgraced Secret Police woman fighting a little bit before being killed or seriously wounded. Not going to lie.

My Thoughts:

The best thing about this book was the cover. That is one awesome cover. Beyond that, this was Alternate History from the view of the little people [ie, the people without a lot of power to actually affect things]. If you like that sort of crap, then this book is definitely tailor made for you.

For those of us who are not enamoured of fake history, who went in thinking that there would be giant robots fighting all over and cool and awesome rebel battles, this was beyond a disappointment. Replace the cover with some grimy war victims in a bombed out city and you'll have a better representation.

I am not a fan of reading REAL history. So why should I WASTE my time with FAKE history? I just figured that the description was trying to rope in the literati and that the author would actually give me a kick butt action story. No such luck. At least I now know not to try any more by Tieryas.

From a purely technical standpoint, my only gripe was the word choices and phrasing employed by the author. It kept throwing me out of the story. Only use a little known or little used word if it fits better than the common word usually employed. And by fits better, I'm talking “ochre” versus “orange” versus “cinnamon” kind of difference. Not “orbulianicus” instead of “round”.

What a bloody waste of my time. I hate Alt-History. So take my venting with a gigantic grain of salt.

★★☆☆☆ ( )
1 vote BookstoogeLT | Mar 21, 2017 |
Author Peter Tieryas has done his homework in spinning this taut tale of mystery, violence, persecution and politics in an alternate universe where Japan won World War II and occupies the United States of Japan (USJ). Oddly enough, the book this brought to mind was not referenced by the author in his afterword/acknowledgements: Battle Royale by Koushun Takami.

Protagonist Beniko "Ben" Ishimura is a wastrel, an elite hacker, and is a Captain in the military mostly due to his turning in his parents to the authorities for treason when he was a child. Combine this with his official job as censor for computer games in this future USJ, his growing relationship with a psychopathic member of the secret police (Tokko), and the backdrop of the incredibly vicious "George Washingtons" who are suicide terrorists on "our" side and you get a novel difficult to put down.

What I probably found most fascinating was the subtle way Mr. Tieryas confuses the various sides of an ongoing conflict which is disturbingly familiar to our contemporary "War on Terror." His protagonists are on the side of what is a rigid bureaucracy blithely complicit in the murder of millions as it organically (and apparently successfully) protects its own existence. The George Washingtons are no less sympathetic, if not understandable. Empathy for terrorists is a disturbing motif. Overall, all humans are pretty much cogs in a totally screwed up world that is all too comparable to our own. Amidst the misanthropy there are glimmers of hope, but no mistake, this is a dark, dark, dark novel.

It was also refreshing to see technology mostly take a back seat to character and plot development. There are familiar tropes, such as the USJ's mecha corps, but Mr. Tieryas does not overplay the technology. Still, he produces a couple of satisfying set pieces that wouldn't be out of place in the movie Pacific Rim.

Finally, though the parallels to Philip K. Dick's The Man in the High Castle are undeniable (and acknowledged strongly by the author) this is a book that stands alone. The author has built on the work of many others, but that is often the way of art of the novel.

Final warning: this is not for the faint of heart. The violence and war depicted is as brutal as it comes.

I loved this book. ( )
  fugitive | Jul 7, 2016 |
Review copy

United States of Japan is Peter Tieryas's third book, it began as "a story revolving around the tragic events on the Asian side of WWII." The book is inspired by Philip K. Dick's The Man in the High Castle, his time at Electronic Arts, and his experiences traveling in Asia.

For the most part, I've never been much of a fan of alternate history stories, but John Liberto's cover art caught my attention and I did enjoy the Amazon Prime series The Man in the High Castle, so I decided to take a chance.

As in The Man in the High Castle the Japanese have taken control of much of the West Coast following the Asia-Pacific War of WWII. The Germans exerting an influence in what was once the Eastern United States, but that's where the similarities end.

This story begins in one of the Japanese internment camps during the war. After their liberation by the Japanese Empire the action quickly moves to 1988.

The times are very different in the 1988 under the rule of the Japanese Empire. There is so much going on in this story. there are many little details woven into the tale. Marvels like "porticals", very addicting, iPhone like devices. There's a little used technique where "private messengers were making phones powered by the biochemistry of their body, electric pulses from the heart, additional radio connectors integrated into their intestines." And Mechas—robotic soldiers that were as tall as skyscrapers—vigilantly guarding the skies against enemies outside and within.

When a video game emerges that posits a world where the allies won, a game censor and an Imperial Government agent discover truths about the empire that make them question their loyalty.

There is a marked difference in culture between the America I grew up in and the United States of Japan as envisioned by Peter Tieryas. It's a story filled with wild ideas. The war may have ended forty year ago, but it's not exactly a peaceful time. There's a radical resistance group which calls themselves the George Washingtons who employ a particularly horrific torture involving genetically engineered ants with a taste for human flesh.

Available as an e-book, in paperback, and through audible from Angry Robot Books The United States of Japan was a compelling read, thoroughly entertaining, and the ultimate "what if?" story.

Peter Tieryas is an Asian-American writer. In addition to writing United States of Japan, he is the author of the collection Watering Heaven and the novel Bald New World. He attended the University of California Berkeley. Tieryas is a Lead Character Technical Director at Sony Pictures Imageworks and has worked at LucasArts as both a technical artist and technical writer. ( )
  FrankErrington | Mar 22, 2016 |
I received an advanced copy of the book from the publisher via NetGalley.

Tieryas draws inspiration from Philip K. Dick's Man in the High Castle in this new release from Angry Robot (which has one of the coolest covers I've seen in recent months). This alternate history largely takes place in a 1988 California where Japan rules and Nazis possess the eastern seaboard. Beniko Ishimura is given top billing in the cover copy and at the start of the book, but he shares the book with Akiko Tsukino, a female agent of the secret police and antagonist. The two form an unlikely alliance as they delve into the truth behind a an illegal video game that portrays a United States victory in World War II.

It's a tense and intriguing read, a blend of alt history and cyberpunk and thriller. I confess, the style wasn't to my preference since it was fairly dry in the way of a golden age scifi novel, with heavy reliance on dialogue and minimal description. I was left wanting more insight at times. That said, I still thoroughly enjoyed the book. I mean, 1988 California where San Diego is a razed landscape home to American rebels, and Japanese mechas patrol the coast? Heck yes! ( )
  ladycato | Jan 24, 2016 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0857665332, Paperback)

A spiritual sequel to The Man In The High Castle, focusing on the New Japanese Empire, from an acclaimed author and essayist.

The Axis won WWII and now, in the late 1980s, the Japanese Empire rules over the western US states, their power assured by technological superiority (giant mecha, etc.) But when a video game emerges that posits a world where the allies won, a game censor and an Imperial Government agent discover truths about the empire that make them question their loyalty.

(retrieved from Amazon Fri, 08 Jan 2016 16:39:32 -0500)

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