Title: United States of Japan
Author: Peter Tieryas
Publisher: Angry Robot
Publish Date: March 1, 2016
What's the Story?:
From Goodreads.com: "Decades ago, Japan won
the Second World War. Americans worship their infallible Emperor, and
nobody believes that Japan’s conduct in the war was anything but
exemplary. Nobody, that is, except the George Washingtons – a shadowy
group of rebels fighting for freedom. Their latest subversive tactic is
to distribute an illegal video game that asks players to imagine what
the world might be like if the United States had won the war instead.
Beniko Ishimura's job is to censor video games, and he's working with
Agent Akiko Tsukino of the secret police to get to the bottom of this
disturbing new development. But Ishimura's hiding something... He's
slowly been discovering that the case of the George Washingtons is more
complicated than it seems, and the subversive videogame's origins are
even more controversial and dangerous than either of them originally
My Two Cents:
"United States of Japan" looks at what would happen if Japan won World War II. Some of the book takes place in the years right after Japan won the war and other most of the rest of the book takes place decades after. The book doesn't take place in Japan but in the United States, which is now a part of the Japanese empire. U.S. is a completely different place after the war. This is an exciting scifi book that will make you think "what if."
The plot line had a good dose of mystery running through it that kept me wanting to read in order to find out what happened. I think the author also does a really good job of creating characters that the readers care about in order to keep them wanting to turn the pages. There is a lot of action in this book!
I really like reading sci-fi and I especially like when it looks at the what ifs. It is hard to imagine the U.S. not winning the war but had things happened differently, the world could have been a much different place. I think it is especially strange for Americans such as myself to imagine how different our lives would be. The author really captures this! The world building is what really sold me on this book. I thought that the author did an amazing job of making the world feel really real and something that could actually exist. He weaves in a lot of actual historical details (e.g., the emperor as a deity) that makes the world feel both familiar and strange at the same time. I think world building is so important, especially worlds that are unfamiliar to the readers. A world in which Japan wins World War II definitely fits that bill. The author does a really good job of showing and not telling throughout the book.
Overall, if you want scifi that sticks with you long after you finish the book and has you asking what if this happened after the last page, this would be a great pick!