Sunday, May 18, 2014

Surfing the Human Wave: James L. Young's Pandora's Memories

I'm not feeling at all well this weekend, but while lying in bed, I did get a chance to read James Young's Pandora's Memories, a short teaser for an upcoming alternate history series in which Hitler dies in the early days of World War II and England is apparently overrun by Nazi sympathizers. At least, that's what I managed to glean from James' afterward and the description on Amazon. Because Memories is set a decade later and focuses more on the characters' personal recollections of one particular battle, the larger historical context is missing in the story itself.

And in the end, I think that's why I'm struggling to come up with something to say about what I've just read. I liked Memories okay; I thought Tabitha and Jeff got to the French kissing a little too soon, but other than that, I have no major complaints. Unfortunately, because the aforementioned context is missing, I'm unable to fully appreciate the thought James no doubt put into his alternate timeline -- nor am I able to appreciate the stakes of the battle he so lovingly describes in retrospect. Might this story have been better served if it had been published after the longer novel?

Still, if you like military fiction, you might want to give this one a try. The dog fights depicted are well-researched, and the few historical details that are provided jog enough interest that I will probably pick up the follow-up novel when it's finally released.

Final Verdict: Recommended, But With Notes.

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