four-stars
Bookmarks Issue: 
28-May-June-2007
user_rating: 
0

A-Final ImpactThe multinational force of "uptimers" (Britain’s Prince Harry is one) who found themselves transported from 2021 to 1942—aboard the U.S.S. Hillary Clinton, no less—in a physics experiment gone awry participate in World War II’s chaotic final days. Much of the history is hauntingly familiar. D-Day goes off as planned, but with unexpected results brought about by the collision of 21st-century military technology and mid-20th-century sensibilities. And with Hitler, Tojo, Stalin, Roosevelt, Churchill, and other historical figures battling for control of the newest, most dangerous weapons, anything can happen. An information leak brings partial foreknowledge of the war’s outcome, which makes the fighting even more desperate.
Del Rey. 350 pages. $14.95. ISBN: 0345457161

Sci Fi Weekly 4 of 5 Stars
"John Birmingham very efficiently and satisfyingly brings to a climax all the threads he launched in the first two books, but at the partial expense of some of the more interestingly SF and cultural angles he had been exploring. … On the level he does inhabit in this particular installment, though, Birmingham is exemplary." Paul DiFilippo

Scifi Dimensions 4 of 5 Stars
"As we have come to expect from Birmingham, his speculations are laced with humor. … Though Final Impact is putatively the end of the trilogy, one has to hope that it’s just a pause and not a full stop to this action-filled, entertaining temporal thriller series." Carlos Aranaga

Alternative Worlds 3.5 of 5 Stars
"The story line ties up WWII nicely (see Designated Targets and Weapons of Choice), but contains many less cultural clashes between the two competing centuries of players, the prime underlying concept to the thrillers. Still this is a terrific look at the white male dominated Greatest Generation and the multiethnic bi-gender twenty-first century ‘intruders.’" Harriet Klausner

Wired 3.5 of 5 Stars
"This third and final installment in Birmingham’s insanely clever alt.history mashup of WWII and the 21st-century war on terror isn’t your typical time-traveling techno-thriller." Mark Horowitz

Critical Summary

What of a writer who once penned a book called He Died with a Falafel in His Hand? The conclusion to John Birmingham’s Axis of Time trilogy is another imaginative and logistical tour de force (previous volumes include Weapons of Choice and Designated Targets). Birmingham has credited fellow Aussie and adventure novelist Matt Reilly (Ice Station, Contest, Seven Deadly Wonders) as an influence in his foray into popular fiction. The result garners broad praise from critics, who compare Birmingham’s alternate histories favorably to those of genre veterans Eric Flint and Harry Turtledove. The work inspires devotion from general readers as well, with its careful plotting, full-throttle action, social commentary, and a sly sense of humor as the author plays with history and its familiar figures.