Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Disunited States

I'm not entirely sure that "disunited" is a word. Still, Harry Turtledove is a professional author who probably owns a dictionary or two so I shall bow to his expertise. "The Disunited States Of America" is another in the seemingly unending stream of freebooks from Tor. I thought they were only doing about 10 of them as a teaser for their SF social network before they rolled it out. They must have hit a snag; never mind, more books for me to read on my phone.

Disunited is a lot shorter than the last couple of fantasy (virtual) doorstops from Tor, and that is commendable. The plot is straightforward: alternative timeline travellers get stuck in an America that never stuck together, lots of little states bickering over borders. If you know your US history this might be a lot more intriguing than it was for me. It would make a great alternative textbook for kids at school.

It is set in 2092 or thereabouts, but I can't quite work out why. There are no great leaps in technology, apart from the mcguffin for travelling to alternative timelines. People still use cellphones, PowerBooks (obsolete already), and drive cars that run on petrol. It could easily have been set now.

Less annoying than a lot of books, not as interesting as some books. A middle-of-the-road, ho-hum, nothing else is on so I'll watch this, kind of a book. The literary equivalent of watching "The Wedding Planner" on TV. Again.

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