Reviews: Asimov's Science Fiction Short Fiction Reviews

Shorts: Liberating Alaska

Liberating Alaska is an alternate history that’s more military fiction than science fiction, portraying a realistic battle as the American forces attempt to take back a small city on the coast of Alaska. The narrative and language are spot on, and the author transports you to a circa-WWI battle with ease.

LIBERATING ALASKA

Harry Turtledove

Asimov’s Science Fiction

July/August 2018

STORY

American troops are called in to liberate the Alaskan coast from Siberia. In this alternate history, the US is at war with Russia, with Stalin reneging an agreement made by Lenin that Alaska would be left to the US after World War I. The troops advance slowly on the town of Siknazuak, once a prime gold rush town, now rundown and bombed out. There are many casualties on either side and the Americans eventually make it to the city center. They see atrocities done to Russians and American alike by the Russian Red military, and decide they need to document it.


CHARACTERS

Liberating Alaska follows a few different soldiers as they prepare for, and execute, their mission to liberate the town of Siknazuak. This is hard military fiction. The author features multiple American dialects, and has a deep understanding of the language of war.


SETTING

Liberating Alaska takes place on the tip of Alaska in a town once known for its boom during a gold rush. There isn’t much left to it but the Americans want to take it back as a matter of principle. We follow the troops from the sea into the town, showing the many obstacles standing in their way.


CONCEPTS

War, Alternate History, Communism, World War I

Click here to read an excerpt on Asimov’s.com.

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