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Madurai
Jun 26, 2012

It's 2007 (as envisioned from 2000), and there's trouble in Liberia--an ambitious general has decided to make his dreams of a West African Union not just an economic organization, but a regional military power. A wave of coups topples governments from Ivory Coast to Senegal, with all the torture porn you can tastefully hint at. How fortuitous there's a USN area command to put a stop to all this, and they've got just the tools to do it--a bunch of those Cyclone-class patrol boats.

Wait, as it turns out that's not enough. The nascent West African Union navy's fleet of speedboats-with-RPG-dudes-aboard climbs all over US and other foreign efforts to put the brakes on things. Clearly, what's needed is a new technological twist: converting LCACs into chaingun-and-Hellfire-equipped fast attack craft! The new gunboat hovercraft are given US Civil War-era ship names (from both sides, in a poorly-aged spirit of inclusiveness). Battle is rejoined, with some stuff about drones and aerostats thrown in there, too. At no point is US involvement considered important enough to commit a carrier group or indeed any other major combatant to, and upending all US doctrine to sort of forget about air superiority is just kind of accepted.

Anyway, a lot of African folks die, despite using tactics on the water described in very detailed terms as being inspired by the Zulus fighting the British.

This is James H Cobb's Sea Fighter, and is apparently the third book in a series featuring his heroine Amanda Garrett. I've never seen any of the others, and the characterization of Commander Garrett made absolutely no impression on me at the remove of twenty years (take as you will).

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Arrath
Apr 14, 2011


Ofaloaf posted:

Harry Harrison wrote a trilogy of books about Britain intervening in the Civil War and loving up tremendously.

The first book is about the Trent Affair going wrong, and how this leads to the United Kingdom intervening on the side of the CSA.

Snip

That sounds much, much worse than the other "Europe gets involved in the Civil War" series I know of, Britannia's Fist.

Midjack
Dec 24, 2007



That's the name of my new sex move.

Moon Slayer
Jun 19, 2007

Alright, so, the Colonization trilogy picks up twenty years or so after the events of Worldwar. It's the 1960's but with access to a bunch of captured and traded-for Race tech humans have computers and spaceplanes and have gone to the Moon and Mars and have several space stations. Remember that the only independent human countries are the US, the UK, Germany + France and the low countries, Italy I think, the USSR, and the Japanese and their colonies in Indochina and the East Indies. Everything else is territory of the Race and the humans are their subjects. There's a bunch of insurgencies though as the Race tries various means of subjugation, both by force and culturally.

Anyway, the lizard colonization fleet pulls up to Earth and the leadership is less than impressed as they were expecting a fully subjugated per-industrial civilization and not ... whatever all of this is. And then suddenly a bunch of nukes get launched from orbit and blow up some of the colonization ships, killing hundreds of thousands. Nobody knows which country did it. Our everyman GI hero from the first series is now a high-ranking Race liaison/expert and starts looking into it.

Different storylines that I remember:

- ginger addiction among the Race remains a huge problem that now gets even worse as it sends female lizards into heat. Middle Eastern insurgents use this to set up ambushes.

- the American space station is way bigger than it needs to be and everything about it is turbo-classified. An American pilot is really curious about this and fakes an emergency to get on board. Surprise, it's not a space station but a space ship that heads out to the outer solar system. Zero-g loving is described in detail.

- Nazi-occupied France remains a bad place to live.

- the Race tries to introduce their state ancestor-worship religion to China.

- the human that was raised as a member of the Race is an adult now and her masturbation habits are described in detail. Everyman GI's son is flown up to the spaceship to have sex with her because she's just too horny, dammit.

- there's a brief hot war between the Race and the Nazis. I'm not 100% sure if it's because they think the Nazis attacked their colony ships or some other reason, but after twenty years of advancement the Nazis can give almost as good as they get from the aliens.

- in the end it turns out it was the Americans that attacked the colony ships! The Race nukes Indianapolis in retaliation and the president shoots himself and so everyone agrees to just sort of let things go.

Vincent Van Goatse
Nov 8, 2006

Enjoy every sandwich.

Smellrose

Ofaloaf posted:

The Monitor squares off against the Warrior at some point, and of course the Monitor handily wins because you can already tell what sort of book this is.

I can buy everything else in the book, but as a naval historian of the ironclad era I cannot buy this. Warrior was superior to any US or Rebel ironclad in every way except one, and in a standup fight would win easily. There's quite a good chance Monitor's guns wouldn't have even been able to damage Warrior's armor because they just weren't powerful enough.

But there is a way Monitor could win against Warrior and it would honestly make for a much better story than the two slugging it out. It involves the only advantage monitors had over full-size broadside ironclads like Warrior: they were shallow-draft vessels. Now, Warrior's draft was 26'10". That's worse than both the combatants at Hampton Roads, where Virginia's draft was 21' and Monitor's was only 10'6". This matters, because it means in coastal waters like Hampton Roads Monitor and her sisters have massive mobility advantages. There's a chance they can, if handled correctly, bait Warrior onto a shoal sticking her in place where she can be attacked by shore batteries and, if not sunk outright, put under siege and forced to surrender.

Vincent Van Goatse fucked around with this message at 02:03 on Sep 5, 2023

FrozenVent
May 1, 2009

The Boeing 737-200QC is the undisputed workhorse of the skies.

Vincent Van Goatse posted:

I can buy everything else in the book, but as a naval historian of the ironclad era I cannot buy this.

Of course not, everyone knows naval history of the ironclad era doesn’t pay.

McNally
Sep 13, 2007

Ask me about Proposition 305


Do you like muskets?

Ofaloaf posted:

Harry Harrison wrote a trilogy of books about Britain intervening in the Civil War and loving up tremendously.

The first book is about the Trent Affair going wrong, and how this leads to the United Kingdom intervening on the side of the CSA. Prince Albert dies early, and a grief-stricken Queen Victoria decides that the stress of trying to reason with those upstart Yankees is what caused Albert's health to sharply decline in the leadup to his death,

This part is sorta true on its own anyway, Prince Albert intervened from his deathbed to try to defuse the situation.

FrozenVent
May 1, 2009

The Boeing 737-200QC is the undisputed workhorse of the skies.
Prince Albert of the dick ring fame?

Deptfordx
Dec 23, 2013

That Harry Harrison trilogy remains the worst alt history series I've ever read.

As well as being super-phoned in writing, John Ericsson doesn't just invent the tank, he invents lightbulbs, dreadnoughts and I'm sure a ton of stuff I don't even remember.

He basically gets turned into a Wizard who can just magically invent anything Harrison wants him to.

Charlz Guybon
Nov 16, 2010

Madurai posted:

I forgot all about this. They really are just never mentioned again. Though in truth, I'm not sure if what these books needed was an additional viewpoint character or two.
That's not true. A race fighter pilot is shot down over Manchuria and taken back to Japan.

Edit: Beaten.

The aforementioned Britannia's fist was good.

pkells
Sep 14, 2007

King of Klatch
I feel like I start reading the majority of these posts thinking I'm hearing about a crappy book/series I've never heard of, and then halfway through the description I feel this small tinge of familiarity, and by the time I'm done reading, I'm pretty sure I've read it as well.

The Harry Turtledove synopsis was the latest instance of this. I went from "This sounds dumb as hell" to glimmers of recognition when it mentioned the Chinese woman (who was being forced to have sex for the lizards, right?), to absolute certainty with the scientist biking around the country. I've probably read tens of thousands of pages of this crap that I'll never remember.

Madurai
Jun 26, 2012

World War III has ended over a year ago, and instead of a kick-rear end Mad Max postapocalypse, it's more of the same old poo poo, just with all the former major powers reduced in capability to the status of regional powers, who are now squabbling over what's left. One of those things that's left is rights to mega-exploit Antarctica for oil drilling and overfishing, and os a lot of attention has turned to the Southern Ocean. Unfortunately, down there is Krak, a fully-automated undersea fortress that has never received a stand-down order and now the capability to send it valid commands has been lost.

The solution to this problem is seen to be another AI-controlled weapon, and advanced combat sub that this time has capacity for a live human to go along and keep an eye on things. There's a lot of cool technical details, as one might expect, with the propulsion, sensors, and weapons involved, but the key plot point here is that Demon (the sub) is a little more aware than its owners are ready for. It quickly identifies the human operator as detrimental to the mission, regarding it as both a point of vulnerability and a waste of payload volume better spent on munitions. So when Demon is near-missed and the pressure vessel housing the operator starts to leak, the sub doesn't regard aborting the mission and surfacing in time to save them to be worth its time, and keeps to the attack anyway.

There's a pretty memorable Jules Verne omage where the sub has to fight a giant squid that's been weaponized as part of the fort's arsenal, and eventually the finale, where Demon has fought Krak to a standstill, occupying its attention long enough for outside forces to hit it with a bunch of nukes. Demon slinks away, apparently intending to hide in the ocean forever.

That's David Mace's first novel, Demon-4, and he goes on to write some other quality highly depressing novels about the nuclear end-O-the-world we were all expecting back then.

Madurai
Jun 26, 2012

It's World War Two! And Japan has just won the Battle of Midway! (not a spoiler, it's the premise of the book) This kicks off a whole shitload of fuckery as the USN's sole remaining carrier (Saratoga) does its level best to hide instead of risking destruction. With a free hand in the Pacific, the IJN blockades Oahu and launches raids up and down the US west coast. We see the war through the eyes of a staffer of Admiral Spruance's who survived the sinking of USS Enterprise, a man equipped with the ability to hold unfailingly right opinions about everything associated with the war, almost as if he was well-read in post-war analyses. We also get viewpoints from an Army nurse who escapes Oahu (and is sweet on Our Hero, naturally), Our Hero's younger bother, an Army officer, an IJN pilot who is basically a walking bushido caricature, and numerous POV cameo scenes from persons both famous and fictional.

If my tone has not conveyed my contempt for this one yet, let me make it plainer. This is not a good book. The scenario, for those simply wanting an alt-history naval battle generator, is fine: nothing particularly outré happens, and WW2 still results in the defeat of Japan, though we stop well short of the inevitable conclusion. The narrative's failings are in execution. Aside from suffering a critical case of People Do Not Talk That Way, there are myriad weird little errors that make it feel as if the manuscript wasn't proofread by anything other than a spellchecker, and the aforementioned tendency of the main character who seems to exist mainly to show off how much the author loved reading Parshall and Tully's Shattered Sword.

Anyway, that's Robert Conroy's Rising Sun, and if you like this sort of thing, there are better ones.

Moon Slayer
Jun 19, 2007

One of the better ones, though not by much, would be Harry Turtledove (of Worldwar fame)'s similar two-book series, this one where an amphibious assault group accompanies the Kido Butai and occupies Hawaii right after the attack on Pearl Harbor. The rest of the book is mostly torture porn as the mistreatment of the population is recounted in loving detail. The Doolittle Raid happens against Pearl, there's also some raids on the West Coast ports, the Japanese put a distant relative of the last Hawaiian monarch in charge of a puppet government. There's also a Japanese-American family torn between the immigrant father who gleefully collaborates and the second-generation sons who help the resistance. I might not have actually read the second book but I think there's some biological warfare involved, Hawaii is cut off from Japanese resupply, and retaken by the Americans.

Comrade Blyatlov
Aug 4, 2007


should have picked four fingers





Arrath posted:

Patrick Robinson is a wannabe Clancy, who really likes the Hunt for Red October, and we're in the 90s doldrums, no more Soviet boogeyman so authors have to find new bad guys. Presumably after a drug fueled writing binge we find ourselves in possession of Nimitz Class.

In which a suave, crafty, Soviet Academy trained Iraqi submariner captains a clandestinely acquired Soviet Kilo class (gotta love that USSR collapse fire sale, one assumes it as purchased from Nick Cage) diesel electric sub to bushwack the USS Thomas Jefferson with a nuclear torpedo, sneaking up on the battlegroup through a mix of crafty tactics and the silent running superiority of electric drive. This was done to assuage Iraqi honor after GW1, or something, idk. The rest of the plot follows not-alec-baldwin trying to hunt down the perpetrators and their invisible sub, with a tense chase scene and a battle in the Falklands, iirc.

Our plucky antagonist makes good on his escape and survives into the sequel, in which he fits a S300 system into the Kilo's tower and shoots down at least one world leader's jet over the Atlantic as the gripping, page turning game of cat and mouse continues.

E: I have to admit that as a nerdy teen with no taste I liked the Net Force books.

Don't forget the sub somehow transiting the Suez Canal undetected, and the yanks having to do the same to prove it possible

Arrath
Apr 14, 2011


Comrade Blyatlov posted:

Don't forget the sub somehow transiting the Suez Canal undetected, and the yanks having to do the same to prove it possible

Lol I completely forgot about that

Moon Slayer
Jun 19, 2007

What if, when his mom was pregnant with him, Joseph Stalin's parents emigrated to the US and changed their last name to Steele? And then he got into politics? Well, if you're Harry Turtledove (Master of Alternate HistoryTM), you'd think it'd go a little something like this ...

It's 1932 and the Democratic National Convention has gone to a floor fight between the governor of New York and a junior congressman from California, the titular Joe Steele. One of our heroes is a newspaper reporter who hears one of Steele's main cronies talking on the phone, saying something like "time for some fire code problems in Albany." He's spotted after the guy hangs up the phone. The next day comes the news that FDR was killed in a sudden fire at the governor's mansion. Reporters can't prove anything but they know that he knows. When Steele is elected president they offer him a speechwriting job that he knows is a way to keep an eye on him.

Steele and his new BFF Hoover start arresting people left, right, and center; congressmen, supreme court justices, anyone who gets in the way of centralizing the state and revitalizing the economy gets scooped up. I forget what justification they use for a lot of the early arrests but before long laws are passed to make it all legal. Congress is reduced to a rubber-stamp organization very quickly. Reporter's brother and the other POV character in the book is arrested for something and sent to a labor camp (they have labor camps instead of CCC camps in this timeline).

Despite the authoritarianism Steele is reelected in '36 and '40, partly because accident's and Hoover-provided blackmail keep any opposition candidate from gaining traction. The rest of the world continues as in OTL save with Trotsky in charge of the USSR (Steele and Trotsky, despite never meeting before Yalta, share an antipathy that crosses timelines). World War 2 kicks off in Europe, Steele goes through with lend-lease and embargoes Japan, and Pearl Harbor is attacked.

Reporter's brother, still in a labor camp, volunteers to join a penal brigade and spends the next several years being the first ashore on a bunch of islands. Honestly, the war basically goes exactly the same until the end when the US is forced to invade Japan. Not too long after this Einstein is called to the White House to explain why Hoover discovered that there were plans to make a nuclear bomb that were never brought to the White House's attention; Einstein says they wouldn't trust Steele with that kind of power and is taken away to be shot.

The war ends in the Pacific with Japan divided between the Soviet-occupied north and Allied-occupied south. Reporter is still writing speeches for Steele and reporter's brother stays in Japan despite finally transferring out of a penal brigade. A new Cold War sets in between Steele's US and Trotsky's USSR and ten years later there's a war between North and South Japan. McCarther shoots his mouth off and gets arrested, and then each side uses a nuke once and calls it a day.

Steele dies in 1953 and Congress immediately moves to impeach the Vice President as a "gently caress you" for not letting them do anything for the last 20 years. This leaves nobody in charge and the book ends with Hoover seizing power, reporter's brother getting set free, and reporter getting arrested.

Madurai
Jun 26, 2012

Moon Slayer posted:

One of the better ones, though not by much, would be Harry Turtledove (of Worldwar fame)'s similar two-book series, this one where an amphibious assault group accompanies the Kido Butai and occupies Hawaii right after the attack on Pearl Harbor. The rest of the book is mostly torture porn as the mistreatment of the population is recounted in loving detail. The Doolittle Raid happens against Pearl, there's also some raids on the West Coast ports, the Japanese put a distant relative of the last Hawaiian monarch in charge of a puppet government. There's also a Japanese-American family torn between the immigrant father who gleefully collaborates and the second-generation sons who help the resistance. I might not have actually read the second book but I think there's some biological warfare involved, Hawaii is cut off from Japanese resupply, and retaken by the Americans.

The whole time I was reading Conroy I was wistfully remembering these similar-but-better books.

Flikken
Oct 23, 2009

10,363 snaps and not a playoff win to show for it
Conroy likes to have a female protaginist that is a victim of sexual assault. Or portraying the bad guys as committing sexual assault.

Cythereal
Nov 8, 2009

I love the potoo,
and the potoo loves you.
Crush Depth, a book I picked up for an airplane trip when I was in college and can't remember the author.

It's 'not as distant as you think' in the future, and WW3 has erupted between the American-British-Russian alliance and an alliance between Germany and sudden new world superpower South Africa (you might call it... an axis), and all the carriers and surface fleets and convoys are now moot because any collection of ships on the surface eats a nuke, so WW3 is instead a duel of submarines centered on fancy new submarines with ceramic hulls that are invisible to sonar and can destroy any ship in the world with impunity.

The book centers on the American super-sub, which I think has a hot'n'sexy French Resistance spy lady on board for the protagonist to bone, fighting a German super-sub called the Voortrekker and it ends up with a showdown under the Antarctic ice pack with nuclear weapons.

The phrase 'Berlin-Boer Axis' got talked about a lot to describe the bad guys.

shame on an IGA
Apr 8, 2005

there's a fun dadlit thread in gip thats slow but still active, summarizing from memory no notes is really the key to the experience

https://forums.somethingawful.com/showthread.php?threadid=4025906&userid=0&perpage=40&pagenumber=1

mllaneza
Apr 28, 2007

Veteran, Bermuda Triangle Expeditionary Force, 1993-1952




shame on an IGA posted:

there's a fun dadlit thread in gip thats slow but still active, summarizing from memory no notes is really the key to the experience

https://forums.somethingawful.com/showthread.php?threadid=4025906&userid=0&perpage=40&pagenumber=1

You might want to repost that where you thought you were posting it :v:

Humbug Scoolbus
Apr 25, 2008

The scarlet letter was her passport into regions where other women dared not tread. Shame, Despair, Solitude! These had been her teachers, stern and wild ones, and they had made her strong, but taught her much amiss.
Clapping Larry
An African country called Sainte-Marie, sometime in the 1970s. A CIA backed team of mercenaries led by an active-duty Captain named Rick Galloway has been sent in to fight against the Cuban backed forces of the rebels.

For political reasons, some sort of peace is declared and the mercs are left hanging in the wind as the new government and the Cubans are circling in on them and they are all gonna die after the show trial. Suddenly this dude arrives from nowhere and says effectively, 'Come with me if you want to live'.

Galloway and his crew load onto some weird-rear end transport and they are out of there.

Turns out the dude was a rep for an alien drug cartel, and Galloway's people are just low-tech enough to slip in under the various tech-scanning poo poo to not be spotted as the overseers for a planet where the cartel is growing its drugs in return for not getting annihilated by the Cubans.

This world has been stocked with other 'extracted before they were about to get severely hosed up' groups of people including Celts and Romans.

This is 'Janissaries' by Jerry Pournelle; he (along with Roland Green) wrote four of these starting in the late-70s-- early-80s and they are pretty good actually.

Log082
Nov 8, 2008


Humbug Scoolbus posted:

This is 'Janissaries' by Jerry Pournelle; he (along with Roland Green) wrote four of these starting in the late-70s-- early-80s and they are pretty good actually.

That vaguely reminds me of a SF short story I read somewhere that was actually pretty good (so maybe it doesn't fit here) and had a hell of a punchline.

It followed a man from roughly our time who had been recruited as a mid-ranked officer in an ongoing multi-dimensional/timespan war between heaven and hell after being saved from death - by hell. The main part of the story was him leading a group of warriors from the past, attacking some enemy base while armed with future railguns. It's made kind of a point that he's not given many details on who he's fighting, just that they're the enemy. The attack goes to poo poo, in part because his warriors aren't familiar with guns and relevant tactics, and he's the only one to escape while everyone else dies horribly. After successfully navigating enemy territory to return to his base, exhausted physically and mentally, he asks his demon superior, "After all that, are we at least winning?"

The demon laughs and tells him, "As long as people like you are out there fighting, we're winning."

Fivemarks
Feb 21, 2015

Log082 posted:

That vaguely reminds me of a SF short story I read somewhere that was actually pretty good (so maybe it doesn't fit here) and had a hell of a punchline.

It followed a man from roughly our time who had been recruited as a mid-ranked officer in an ongoing multi-dimensional/timespan war between heaven and hell after being saved from death - by hell. The main part of the story was him leading a group of warriors from the past, attacking some enemy base while armed with future railguns. It's made kind of a point that he's not given many details on who he's fighting, just that they're the enemy. The attack goes to poo poo, in part because his warriors aren't familiar with guns and relevant tactics, and he's the only one to escape while everyone else dies horribly. After successfully navigating enemy territory to return to his base, exhausted physically and mentally, he asks his demon superior, "After all that, are we at least winning?"

The demon laughs and tells him, "As long as people like you are out there fighting, we're winning."

That's a David Drake short story, and its good as gently caress. Also the demons from hell are represented as being CIA style spooks. The actual implication in the story is that both sides are the forces of hell and this is just hell, straight up.

Fivemarks fucked around with this message at 00:35 on Apr 23, 2024

Arrath
Apr 14, 2011


Fivemarks posted:

That's a David Drake short story, and its good as gently caress. Also the demons from hell are represented as being CIA style spooks. The actual implication in the story is that both sides are the forces of hell and this is just hell, straight up.

That sounds pretty great

Fivemarks
Feb 21, 2015

Arrath posted:

That sounds pretty great

A lot of David Drake's stories are pretty great. I think my favorite is A Very Offensive Weapon, which is a parody of fantasy stories and has a running gag of the hirelings brought along competing and taking pride in having the best death imaginable, which includes debates on if being squashed flat is a good death.

I'd honestly recommend picking up three of his big short story collections: All The Way from the Gallows (A "black humor" collection), Grimmer Than Hell (A collection of his stories, including the one talked about above, from when he was still working out his post-vietnam issues), and Other Times than Peace.

Log082
Nov 8, 2008


Fivemarks posted:

That's a David Drake short story, and its good as gently caress. Also the demons from hell are represented as being CIA style spooks. The actual implication in the story is that both sides are the forces of hell and this is just hell, straight up.

Oh yeah, David Drake is the good SF David. And maybe I phrased it wrong in my post, but the interpretation I remember wasn't so much that the main character was in hell as it was that in the battle between heaven and hell as long as anyone, anywhere, is at war, hell is winning.

Midjack
Dec 24, 2007



Drake is legit, Haldeman is legit.

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Fivemarks
Feb 21, 2015

Log082 posted:

Oh yeah, David Drake is the good SF David. And maybe I phrased it wrong in my post, but the interpretation I remember wasn't so much that the main character was in hell as it was that in the battle between heaven and hell as long as anyone, anywhere, is at war, hell is winning.

There's two ways to read it: "This is hell" and your interpretation, yeah.

also, warning about Drake's Grimmer Than Hell collection? When I say they're dark and him working through his nam poo poo, I mean that. the Jed Lacey stories in particular are pretty drat dark.

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