United States of Japan by Peter Tieryas
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I actually had a pretty good time with this novel, expecting more of a carry-over from The Man in the High Castle, in the same vein as The Time Ships carrying forward The Time Machine, but instead we've got a fast forward to modern day with modern day trappings in an America dominated by Japan, with a virtual game taking the place of the The Grasshopper Lies Heavy, an awesome (but short) stint in a huge mecha-robot, and a completely torn-apart California.
It doesn't quite have the same weight as the original, but I certainly loved all the modern storytelling, the pacing, the characters, and, of course, all the trappings. Who doesn't love a good hacker or enraged "hackers"?
The culture and the conspiracy and the deeply submerged idealism worked really well for me, too, and the characters worked fine for me, too. The plots and the twists were quite decent.
Just because it's not breaking horribly new ground doesn't mean that it can't appeal more to modern readers than the original, because it can. The game may not have had the same deeply convincing effect as the underground novel, alas, but practically everything else was a better *story* than the original.
No props for the unique way the original was written for this one, though, and that's fine. I still had a good time. :)
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