Sci-Fi United States of Japan (Peter Tieryas)

Kevin

Code Monkey
Staff member
Joined
Mar 20, 2004
Location
Pennsylvania
United States of Japan is an alternate-history novel by Peter Tieryas that I was looking forward to reading as it has been described as a "spiritual successor" to The Man in the High Castle by Philip K Dick.

Here's the Amazon description: https://www.amazon.com/United-States-Japan-Peter-Tieryas/dp/0857665332

Decades ago, Japan won the Second World War. Americans worship their infallible Emperor, and nobody believes that Japan's conduct in the war was anything but exemplary. Nobody, that is, except the George Washingtons - a shadowy group of rebels fighting for freedom. Their latest subversive tactic is to distribute an illegal video game that asks players to imagine what the world might be like if the United States had won the war instead.

Captain Beniko Ishimura's job is to censor video games, and he's working with Agent Akiko Tsukino of the secret police to get to the bottom of this disturbing new development. But Ishimura's hiding something... He's slowly been discovering that the case of the George Washingtons is more complicated than it seems, and the subversive videogame's origins are even more controversial and dangerous than either of them originally suspected.​

I ended up finishing it in just two days as it kept me entertained; it may have also been a result of me being a sucker for alt-history stories. :bookworm:

My thoughts on the novel though can be best summed up by the response I gave to my wife when she asked me if it was a good book. After thinking about for a moment or so the best response that I was able to give was that it was like somebody adapted Man in the High Tower into a Japanese anime movie and then the anime was adapted into a book and the result was be United States of Japan. To his credit Tieryas freely admits to the inspiration from Dick and credits him for inspiration.

Now bear in mind, my description of the novel as I gave it to my wife above is not a bad thing. United States of Japan stands on its own and really is an entertaining read for those who would like some sci-fi tossed into an alt-history story. I enjoyed it and I know some of you guys/gals would as well. The problems come in only when comparisons are made to Man in the High Tower as it does a disservice to both Dick and Tieryas. The best way I can think of describing it is that Man in the High Tower is the story of several people on a spiritual journey to find their place in a crazy 'What if?' world while United States of Japan is the pop culture version of the same 'What if?' world. Comparison are sure to be made but it is no successor.

The only thing that bugged me about United States of Japan is that at the ending, much like Man in the High Tower, something is revealed in the end but it only leads to a bunch more questions that are left unresolved. :banghead: If Tieryas does a sequel I'll be sure to pick it up and in the end that's the best way of me showing whether I liked a book or not. :coffee:



 
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