UNITED STATES OF JA­PAN

Dumbed- down Dick

SFX: The Sci-Fi and Fantasy Magazine - - Reviews -

re­leased 3 March 384 pages | Pa­per­back/ ebook

Au­thor Peter Tieryas

Pub­lisher An­gry Ro­bot

Talk about good tim­ing. This book ar­rives when the “Ja­pan won World War Two” idea is at its trendi­est for decades, thanks to the TV ver­sion of Philip K Dick’s The Man In The High Cas­tle. United States Of Ja­pan is pre­sented as a re­spect­ful trib­ute to Dick. In­stead it’s an in­sult.

For­get Dick com­par­isons; even as pulp fic­tion, this is abom­inably bad. The early chap­ters seem okay, es­tab­lish­ing a world where Ja­pan nuked Amer­ica in 1948. Most of the book hap­pens 40 years later, as two mis­matched Ja­panese of­fi­cers ( a man and a woman) seek a miss­ing gen­eral in the con­quered coun­try. He may be linked to an il­le­gal com­puter game, which sim­u­lates a his­tory where Amer­ica won.

But the in­ves­ti­ga­tion quickly be­comes ridicu­lous. The set­ting is sup­pos­edly a ter­ri­fy­ing, be­yond- Or­well po­lice state, yet char­ac­ters act in cretinously ca­sual ways, right up un­til they get tor­tured and shred­ded. ( The video nasty hor­ror scenes feel in­spired by a no­to­ri­ous Chi­nese tor­ture film, Men Be­hind The Sun.) The plot, char­ac­ters and world are bor­ingly, hu­mour­lessly un­be­liev­able, and by the time gi­ant ro­bots stomp onto the scene, you’re al­ready long past car­ing. An­drew Os­mond

In his day job cod­ing for Sony’s Image­works, Peter Tieryas has worked on films like Guardians Of The Galaxy.

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