Stalin’s Hammer: Cairo – John Birmingham

Stalin’s Hammer: Cairo – John Birmingham
Part 2 of the ebook trilogy for Axis of Time series, follows straight on from Part 1 (Rome). Here we find ourselves still trying to piece together what is happening with the Soviets. Why there is so much focus on a scientist in Cairo for a talk.Will all be revealed in the soon to release Part 3 Paris.
Loving these brief returns to the world created in Axis of Time. Cant wait for Part 3 but i’m still not liking this whole ebook trend. I understand this author is in disputes with some Publishers so has chosen the self-publish ebook route for these books, but the concern is why are they always so short? There seems to be a real trend of publishers wanting shorter stories to fuel the ebook market. Aiming at people with short attention spans or busy schedules who don’t have lots of time to be able to read. Instead of releasing these ebooks as 3 small 100 page books, we not combine them into a proper sized book of 300 pages?
I need the big epics, i love my Tom Clancy or George R.R. Martin massive tomes. I pretty much won’t buy a book if its under 300 pages, i only grabbed these ebooks because it was the only way to continue the story that was established in the first trilogy. That being said i have my fingers crossed that they will be released in physical book one day so i can delete this damn kindle app for good.
Physical books for the win!!!!

Stalin’s Hammer: Rome – John Birmingham

Stalin’s Hammer: Rome – John Birmingham
Continuing on from the epic Axis of Time trilogy,  John returns us to the world he established but a few years later. The year is now 1955 and the world has changed. The Allies won world war 2 (again) but with different outcomes, German cities being Nuked and finished earlier than expected.  The technology from the future has been in their hands for 13 years now and great leaps and bounds are being made.
Stalin’s Hammer is scheduled to be broken into 3  books, Rome being the first, Cairo and Paris being the other too and these books catch us up on what has been happening. Turns out Stalin not happy to hear his communist party doesn’t survive to the turn of century and sets out to fix this. Whatever that may mean….
Let me be clear i’m not an ebook person. I could ramble on about the smell, tactile sensation or how awesome a full bookshelf is but that’s beside the point. I prefer books on the shelf but since john has been screwed over by publishers he is going out on his own. As such the only (read cost effective) way to get the books is in ebook format. These are just novellas so quite short but i loved the world he created and just had to get them. Since my favourite characters from Axis of Time return such as Prince Harry, it is a fantastic (short) read.
He intends to release part 2 and 3 for free on his mailing list first so defiantly jump in there and sign up if you like freebies. http://cheeseburgergothic.com/

Axis of Time Trilogy – John Birmingham

Axis of Time Trilogy – John Birmingham

Who hasn’t wondered about theoretical what ifs. What if Hitler got into The Academy of Fine Arts as a youth, would he still of got into politics? What if JFK changed his route that day?  So when you see movies like The Final Countdown, you think its going to be awesome but it just doesn’t live up to it since they fail to destroy the Japaneses (they want to preserve the timeline).

I had previously dabbled in some alternate history works by Harry Turtledove in his “Days of Infamy” duology in which the Japanese follow up Pearl Harbour bombing with a land invasion too.  Then i heard of the Axis of Time trilogy (which is now more than 3) in which a multinational task force from the year 2021 is sent back to the battle of midway (by accident). They are stuck in the past, as soon as i read that i was yes, shit is going to get messed up and changed. So i had to get them.

It great from the get go, The multinational task force had a Japanese ship in it so when the midway fleet see that they attack and are pretty much destroyed by the future ships. From that point on history is completely changed. Its worse because some of the fleets ships are missing. Did they travel back?  If so where or who has them, because some had nukes on board.

John crafts an amazing universe here with 1940s tech trying to adapt and jump forward to 2021. We see huge leaps in tech, Generals in WW2 using Ipads but more interestingly, John does a fantastic job of bringing to the front cultural issues too. Us civilized countries take it for granted that our armed forces are made up of both men and women and people of many colours but 1940s is far different. There are some massive issues in 1940 of people taking orders from women captains and “coloured” captains. I feel john does an amazing job of capturing this racist attitude. I know back then they didn’t see it as that but in today’s world that is exactly what it is, racist. This series covers the time frame of world war 2 which to no surprise finishes earlier in this new time line.

There are numerous comic moments for example Prince Harry was serving in the fleet that got sent back, so he gets to meet his grandparents before they were married and the royal succession line goes into a panic trying to adapt. Stalin loves hosting Tarantino marathons!

While this Trilogy deals just with ww2 John has continued this universe in some ebooks but set 10 years later. This series has really cemented john as one of my top 5 authors. Doesn’t hurt that he is an Aussie too, even though he is from Queensland.

The Man Who Broke Into Auschwitz – Denis Avey

The Man Who Broke Into Auschwitz – Denis Avey

We live in a different time now, we have become numb to violence and hatred. We fear speaking out because the left wing nanny state fascists will accuse you of being a racist or intolerant.

This story serves to remind us of a time when people risked death to save another and didn’t give it a second thought, a time when people saw something was wrong and knew something had to be done to let others know what occurred. A far cry from today’s generation who only care for themselves (and their votes at the next election). All life is equal and it is only through the fallacies that are religion, Supremacy ideology and elitism that we seem to forget this. This story is a horrible insight into a difficult and appalling time but one that still offers a glimpse at the enduring human spirit.

What Denis did for a stranger is beyond words, but shows us what we were once made of. This story is even more emotional as not only are we given a glimpse into what occurred but we also follow the journey of Denis as years later, he discovers the consequences as a results from his actions.

A brilliant and emotional read….

Survival In Auschwitz: If This Is A Man – Primo Levi

Survival In Auschwitz: If This Is A Man – Primo Levi

I have read several of these Holocaust novels and i don’t mean to take away anything from these survivors but they are all pretty much the same. They all deal with the same issues of maintaining hope or giving up and withering away. So why do i read them? My grandfather was in a concentration camp for several years and i read these books to understand how his life was during this time. He flat out refuses to speak of it. Granted he wasn’t a Jew but merely a ‘Russian” prisoner. Well technically he is Ukrainian but back then he was classed as Russian. So he didn’t have that fear of the gas chambers but still life wasn’t easy. Books like these don’t offer anything new and are pretty much always written by Jewish survivors. But what they do offer me is a connection and an insight into the life of my grandfather from a dark chapter of his life he doesn’t wish to speak off. I read these books in the hope that one day i might find one that speaks of the camp “Dachau” he was interred in and to catch that glimpse into that life for a moment.

Look Who’s Back – Timur Vermes

Look Who’s Back – Timur Vermes

Oh man what a read this was. Some people get so touchy on this subject but damn it was a funny read. Hitler wakes up in a field in Germany in 2011, still in his uniform with no recollection of his last moments in the bunker in 1945.

What then follows is Hitler’s discovery of the modern Germany and surprise surprise he doesn’t like it and starts on his usual rhetoric. However this time instead of flat out blaming the Jews he targets more modern enemies. Soon people start to take notice but here’s the kicker instead of taking him seriously they think he is a satirical comedian and praise him as such. Soon he has his own TV show and YouTube channel.

Sometimes the topic of Hitler can be taboo as some people quite naturally are very sensitive to this topic but i find that its the Germans who crack the best Hitler jokes and this book is right up there. So many funny fish out of water moments, like Hitler discovering the joys of Wikipedia and the internet to him struggling  to decide a ring tone  for his phone.

What adds realism to this story is the author has done his research quite thoroughly the names, places and events Hitler talks about are real and factual. There is even a section in the back of the book that lists all the Nazis Hitler refers to in this book and describes them and when/if the were trialed at Nuremberg.

To be honest there are people who will be offended by this book in fact the author inserts one of these people into the story. But sometimes peoples hate blinds them so much from the truth. The truth is The author isn’t glamorizing Hitler. He isn’t saying he was good or asking us to forget the past.  He is simply putting an historical person in modern day times and letting the madness ensue

Great unique read. in fact i just couldn’t put it down. Dont read this if you don’t have a sense of humour