Saturday, May 23, 2009

A particulary geeky side of scifi

For me science fiction is a completely unguilty pleasure. In fact, if the cruel book gods one day forced me to read from only one genre, it would be science fiction. That said, there are some sub-genres about which I feel a twinge of regret about reading. Mostly because they usually aren't that great. Alternative history is one. It's sub-category of modern folks going back in time, accidentally or otherwise, always tempts but usually delivers so-so results. Although it was over-long, I liked John Birmingham's Weapons of Choice which features a fleet of early 21st century warships being flung into World War 2, the time line of which they immediately disrupt.

This sets it above the lame Final Countdown in which the USS Nimitz goes back to Dec 6, 1941 and decides to not intervene in Pearl Harbor. That movies reminds me of trashy bit of military scifi from the 80s called the Seventh Carrier. This one imagines that a seventh carrier was meant to participate in the Pearl Harbor raid but it got frozen in an iceberg (or some such). Freed in the 80s, it goes on to successfully attack Pearl Harbor sinking a helicopter carrier and damaging a battleship. Astounding to say, but the author was able to turn this into a franchise.

There is also a great short story out there, maybe by Clarke or perhaps Asimov, which has a US soldier stationed in Iceland transported back to the Viking days. He sees himself as superior to the locals, but finds he has no skills for the time and is promptly killed when he runs out of ammo. Nice twist on the superiority of current civilizations.

Anyway, I have been intrigued by the Destroyermen series. In these, a World War 2 US Navy destroyer enters some sort of worm hole and goes to a Harry Harrison like world where the dinos never died. It has all the preposterousness that can make for good adventure scifi. I nearly grabbed it at the library but a friend has lent me the latest Peter Hamilton doorstopper and I should really read that first.


kwandongbrian said...

What, you don't think people could live aboard a carrier for 40 years, emerging at the same time as the Chinese launch a salvo of military satellites that destroy any jet or rocket propelled vehicle? To me, this is the single best reason to watch the Reds for sneakiness and a space program!

Tripp said...

It makes perfect sense. I think the whole thing was designed to argue for the revival of Essex class carriers to further beef up the Navy under Lehman.

IIRC, the later books gave the Seventh Carrier a Godzilla like role, turning from attacker of the West to defender of the West.

Or something like that.