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.
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.
" feels like a Tom Clancy novel but well written and hyperreal" best backhanded compliment I've read this week.
I have seen this book and considered it. Re: USN carrier groups getting their a#$es handed to them. The bad guys have been thinking about this since WW2. It's going to happen along with other fatted calves getting put to the knife by some ruthless actor.
Is "toil paper" what you write on when the words just aren't coming?
This post came out just as i was in the market for a new audio book so i got it based on the usual quality of recommendations. I haven't picked up a real book in years - living on 5 acres means a to do list that i will hand down to my children, but the rise of audiobooks means i can get my story fix and do jobs!
The format wasn't too bad either - i've listened to a few BBC radio plays for Gaimans books - the multi author thing struggles sometimes when characters traverse narrator arcs (radio plays get around this by one person sticking to one character) but i didn't seem to notice too much in this. My brain had to do some mental gymnastics over the almost Mcguffin like cyber powers of the Chinese (with no response from the yanks) until i drew a link between the Germans and the enigma machine and i could just write it off as a modern day equiv of that. The interview at the end with Admiral Stavridis was interesting as well to get some context into his brain process.
I'm going to have to completely disagree with JB here. I hated it. I know it is a novel and all but the sheer stupidity of the science and engineering throughout the book just set my teeth on edge.
Excellent... but, it can all be avoided by the results of WW3.1 - there, a happy thought to fix the white shit.