2034.

I spent my monthly Audible credit on 2034: A Novel of the Next World War, after having it spoiled for me by some idiot columnist at the New York Times. I can’t remember which idiot because I rage-quit the app as soon as they gave away the ending of the book, so be warned. The NYT is not a safe space for this topic.

But I’m still loving the book.

Rando Penguins (who are also my publishers in the US) splurged on a full cast recording for the audio book. I think there’s about half a dozen narrators. It’s weird at first, a bit like falling into a rift in the space time continuum and waking up in an old school radio play. But you quickly get used to it.

The premise?

In 2034 the Chinese figure they’ve tilted the balance of power far enough in their favour that’s time for some reverse Monroe Doctrine. They kick the US out of the South China Sea and everything escalates from there.

The book is a collaboration between former US Navy Admiral James Stavridis and the surprisingly literary Elliot Ackerman. It’s a combo that works. Stavridis brings the narrative and technological crunch and Elliot polishes the prose to a pleasingly shiny finish.

Seriously, there’s whole passages here that could have been written by effete, Booker winning stylists - except they’re about murderous Iranian Quds Force generals and hypersonic missiles and shit. So it’s cool.

I’m loving it so much I think I’m going to pick up a couple copies in formats other than audio.

In loving it though, can I mention how fucking terrifying this book is? And I’m a guy who just finished a series about a US/China war destroying the world. 2034 will turn your shit white. It is horrifying how convincing these guys are when they set about dismantling the USN’s carrier battle groups.

It feels like a Tom Clancy novel but well written and hyperreal.

Given current geopolitical developments it takes me want to stock up on toilet paper and tinned ham.