Monday, February 15, 2010

"Without Warning" by John Birmingham - Mini Review

Described as a work of "alternate fiction", John Birmingham's "Without Warning" falls just inside the realm of science fiction, barely meeting that category description because of a deadly and unknown phenomenon that has scientists baffled.

A techno/political/military thriller in the best tradition of authors like Michael Crichton and John Clancy, it's a grand "what if" mash up that asks, "What would happen if the United States and much of North America was essentially wiped clean by some sort of mysterious energy wave?"

Naturally, the obvious haters are elated by this new development, but soon even they begin to rethink the benefits of living in a world without Pax Americana.

The story itself is a series of vignettes following the reactions of a group of drug smugglers, our surviving overseas military, a lethal assassin, and a lowly Seattle city engineer to the reality that America, with all her warts and beauty, no longer exists. Birmingham masterfully weaves the seemingly unconnected story lines together in a way that makes the book hard to put down. The first installment of a proposed trilogy, "Without Warning" is highly recommended.

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