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.

How to teach Quantum Physics to your dog – Chad Orzel

How to teach Quantum Physics to your dog – Chad Orzel

Sometime you pick up a non-fiction title based on a scientific field and you think its going to be a good read and it turns out to read just like a text book. this most certainly was not like that. The Author added humour to this discussion of quantum physics through a high unlikely means. by writing the book as if he was discussing it with his dog

Chad has made reading about quantum physics a bit more fun. Converting many aspects of this topic into layman’s terms and using the dog based analogies, from  quantum tunneling squirrels to Schrodinger dog treats, it was such a laugh.

Chad has done what many authors have tried to do and failed, he has made a book about science that is just as entertaining as an adventure or crime novel. Many just try to crack quick witted one liners, or tell jokes.  but chad goes one better and rethinks the whole medium of telling a story. Chad joins the elites of  Michio Kaku and Neil Degrasse Tyson who likewise create books that are entertaining and informative.

Personally one of the best aspects of this book was the ending, now that may sound a bit harsh but bare with me. Most authors end with a boring epilogue that either thanks the reader or tries to pass off some motivational message. Nope not chad, he ends with a chapter on debunking, Where he dismisses all those crackpots who try to use the terminology of quantum physics in the wrong way. such as those crazy holistic healers or people trying to sell perpetual motion machines. I thoroughly enjoyed this chapter as i love seeing crackpots, con artists and false beliefs being debunked.

While i was already a fan of physics based books as i am quite passionate on the subjects of astrophysics and astronomy. I don’t normally buy too many books from authors i don’t know because too often they just read like text books. But i think i will definitely be keeping an eye out for Chad Orzel when im next in a bookstore.