United States of Japan is set in a gripping alternate history where the Japanese Empire rules over America with huge robots. Is resistance possible in the form of subversive video games?
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 group of rebels fighting for freedom. Their latest terrorist 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. Captain Beniko Ishimura's job is to censor video games, and he is tasked with getting to the bottom of this disturbing new development.
But Ishimura's hiding something...kind of. He's slowly been discovering that the case of the George Washingtons is more complicated than it seems, and the subversive video game's origins are even more controversial and dangerous than the censors originally suspected.
A spiritual sequel to Philip K. Dick's The Man in the High Castle, United States of Japan carries on the legacy of Dick's famous alternate history, focusing on how Americans and Japanese deal with their guilt and troubled relationship to the past.
Peter Tieryas is a character artist who has worked on films like Guardians of the Galaxy, Alice in Wonderland and Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2.
His novel, Bald New World, was listed as one of Buzzfeed's 15 Highly Anticipated Books as well as Publishers Weekly's Best Science Fiction Books of Summer 2014.
©2016 Peter Tieryas (P)2016 Audible, Ltd
As soon as I saw this in the Coming soon section, I put it on my wish list. I am a fan of this type of scenario. No, I don't want a foreign government to take us over, but neither do I want a Zombie Apocalypse, yet I enjoy those type of books I am a fan of Vaughn Heppner's Invasion series. I am also a fan of robots, especially giant robots. As another reviewer mentions in the first three hours, a robot is mentioned and that is it. I could not get past three hours. Peter Tieryas tells us things, but shows us nothing. Seemed more like a soap opera about some loser, than anything else. Peter has a great idea, he just needs to get a co/author to help with the writing.
The narrator sounds like he is on the verge of crying his eyes out, no matter what character he is attempting.
"Decent story, spotty narration"
They story was well enough, not great, but definitely entertaining. The narrator on the other hand, with his shaky/nervous sounding delivery certainly took away from the overall experience.
I flew into rage every time mecha was prounced Meh-Cha instead of Meh-Ka. A huge annoyance in an otherwise pretty good performance.
"Great story, but Narrator mispronounces "mecha"."
Great story, if a little sparse on actual 150m tall robots fighting. And the narrator needs to learn its pronounced "mekka", not "meh-cha". Very annoying.
"An intricate look at a grim alternate history"
I picked up United States of Japan on a recommendation from a friend and was expecting a fun but blockbuster-style action/adventure. Instead, I was totally blown away by the intensity and intricacy of the storyline and the ideas presented here. This is, at its heart, a very serious book. There are fun things like the huge towering mecha battles and a look at an alternate universe where technology took a very different course, but what really shines here are the characters and the decisions they make. This is not a world I'd want to live in, and it's a grim mirror to where we could have gone. The people here are making the best of a horrific society--some by trying to make it a better place, some by sinking into violence or depravity. The lines between good and bad people are almost non-existent. And in that backdrop, the story slowly and quietly spins out a tale of love, dedication, anger, and hope.
This is a brutal and often hard story to read, but one very worth reading.
"decent story, awful narration"
the story was decent, certainly able to finish. I actually finished it in 2 days. I had some issues with the story, and some aspects seemed forced. I mean, The colored hair? why? My real issue was with the narration. The shaky voice made it almost unbearable. Also, the fact he couldnt pronounce "mecha" correctly was really annoying.
"Really interesting and fun alternate history"
My rating: 4 stars
Audiobook narrator rating: 3.5 stars
This is an Interesting book and a fun alternate history, especially since we only go as far as 1988. I was a little scared due to the poor reviews from the narrator, but he was not nearly as bad as people made him out to be. I liked his voice for the main character – it made me think of Kumar (Kal Penn) from Harold and Kumar (he had a very similar kind of lazy-ish attitude while being smart, etc.). Though, the narrator could have changed his voice a little more for different characters. I feel that he will improve in future books.
The first part (1940s part) of this book was a little confusing with all the terms and things going on (plus a lot of characters). Though, this was a short part and later on, things were more clear with somewhat less characters. However, I was a little lost in some of the terminology – a little more review might have been helpful.
Either way, I really enjoyed this book and found it very interesting. The technology that was thought up was impressive and the story line made me wonder about the “what if…” scenarios. It sounds like the author spent a lot of time looking up and thinking about pre-WWII Japanese culture.
Spoilers… [why can't audible do spoiler tags???] This is a spoiler about the end, so be warned… This book did not necessarily end on a positive note. Much of the pretext of the book is disturbing and the end is not that different (pretty sad, actually). Though, there is a ‘flashback’ to the younger age of Ben in which it puts him in a much better light as it explains his parent-betrayal situation. I am quite sad of how these events all played out at the end but I really enjoyed this book and thought it was very well written.
"No Giant Robots, or, how I learned to let go."
A Giant Robot. I'm sorry but look at that cover. I was 2-3 hours in, waiting on bated breath for a giant robot. The Cover promises it, the prologue promises it. Then nothing. I honestly just felt baited and switched into a sub-par detective novel which might have been higher in stars, had it not made the promises to be something different.
Also, I understand that the story is about Japan taking over, but the use of Japanese words felt super random and not at all natural. It's like the author finished the book, then googled 'Japanese for Chair' went back to his novel, hit CTRL + F, and replaced 'Chair' with the Japanese equivalent.
The words were Japanese, but it felt hollow. Like a museum tour guide on their first day rushing to read the tag lines before the audience can ask a question.
Eh. Probably. In all honesty the book isn't terrible. But I know I for sure won't be trusting the cover, prologue, or description of the book. I'd heavily read reviews even if it meant spoilers so I knew what I was in for. I honestly felt like I was tricked into this book.
None of the characters are likeable. I'm find with a dark and twisted book, but one character is so quick to pull the trigger and torture because 'that's what she does' without a seeming draw back other than paranoia, which she's often right about. I honestly didn't enjoy any of the characters.
The writing itself isn't dreadful, just know what you're getting into.
Don't bait and switch.
Filled with action, suspense, and heartbreak. This is about a soldier and a secret police agent in an alternate reality where Japan won WWII and ruled the USA. It's worthy of being described as a spiritual successor to Philip K. Dick's "The Man in the High Castle".
"weak story, worse reader"
the narrator mafe everyone sound like a disinterested, glib, petulant, whining teen. had to force my way through to the end and will avoid his narration from here on out. just awful.
the story was a weak cyberpunk jaunt and an insult to its influence.
"Don't be fooled by the cover.."
Giants robots are mostly in the background in this novel.
Nice world building that rather overshadows the actual plot, and an ending that gives a finger to any hopes that this is not a one off.
NarratIon was good and understandable at x2 playback speed.
Still, I'm glad I 'read' this book.
The performance is absolutely amazing. The setup is quite unique and well designed. The story is more like a tool that allows facts to be revealed from the past one after the the other, but still the story is pretty much OK. There is a lot of pain and violence in there, very slight optimism, but if you can live with that then you will find this book completely worth to listen.
"Passable but incredulous story "
I enjoyed the story enough to listen all the way through. It was a little ridiculous and there were parts that had me screwing up my face in disbelief. Beniko and Akiko were intresting characters and I liked both of them but I really hated the campy narration. The men sounded all sounded like teenage stoners and the women were all overly aggressive in their tone. I would reccomend as a curiosity but it's no Orwell novel.
"Could have been so much better"
Never read print version as I am blind and unable to read print
First timer to this author
Read very well with good voices
Could have been so much better
This book feels like the author has a grudge against the Japanese. I'm no fan of them, but they're portrayed as monsters.
Aside from that, the graphic violence that appears to be used as filler for a weak story became tedious very quickly. It doesn't advance the story in any way.
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