Final Impact: World War 2.3 (Axis of Time Trilogy)

Final Impact is the third volume of John Birmingham's Axis of Time trilogy. Contents. 1 Plot summary; 2 Historical characters featured. British Commonwealth; Germany; Japan; USA; USSR The Axis Powers give in to unconditional surrender, ending the war in June , but the damage has been done.
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Birmingham is really good at this and I'm glad I stumbled into this series. Jan 13, Paul rated it it was ok. A bit disappointed really. Started out with a great concept and an interesting look at the cultural and social interactions involved in the 'Transition'. By halfway through book 2 and all of book 3 I felt an inevitable drive towards a minimalist ending I had such high expectations and feel that this series of books is an opportunity lost for a great exploration of alternative realities. Lots of military action as WWII forces are injected with future military and communications technology.

Abounds in stereotypes, but what the hell. Jul 24, Adam Whitehead rated it really liked it. Those books chronicled how, in the year , a UN multinational carrier taskforce was deployed to drive a terrorist insurgency out of Jakarta. Unfortunately, a nearby scientific vessel undertaking experiments into quantum tunnelling accidentally opened a wormhole through space and time, dumping the entire fleet on top of Admiral Spruance's US Navy fleet sailing to relie World War 2.

Unfortunately, a nearby scientific vessel undertaking experiments into quantum tunnelling accidentally opened a wormhole through space and time, dumping the entire fleet on top of Admiral Spruance's US Navy fleet sailing to relieve Midway in the summer of The final novel opens in the late spring of Both the Axis and Allies are now equipped with considerable technological advances gleaned from the ships from the future.

Jet aircraft fight on both sides, and the UN taskforce's immense AWACS and radar capabilities provide the Allies with considerable tactical and intelligence advantages over the enemy. Germany and Japan made alterations to their strategies after capturing some of the ships from the future themselves and these paid off in the short term, with Germany and the USSR concluding a cynical peace and Japan successfully invading Australia and occupying Hawaii.

Driven by their superior economic base, however, the Allies are now resurgent, having retaken Hawaii and defeated a German invasion of Britain before preparing their own, improved version of D-Day. The Allies, the Germans and the Russians are now in their own, frantic races to complete the atom bomb before the others, for whoever develops a nuclear arsenal the earliest will likely be the side that wins the war.

Final Impact marks a solid conclusion to the trilogy, although unfortunately some of the more interesting elements that were being developed in Designated Targets seem to have been scaled back. The sociological ramifications of the arrival of the ships from the future continue to be examined, but not quite so cleverly as in the previous volume. The sheer mass of data that the people of the s would have to absorb is overwhelming and you can't help but feel that Birmingham occasionally misses out on a few interesting possibilities although a scene where John Kennedy quietly arranges for a young Lee Harvey Oswald to be taken into state care is a nice touch.

However, with the need to bring this alternate Second World War to a conclusion the sacrificing of some of the quieter elements in favour of the main storyline is understandable. This also explains the somewhat jarring leap ahead of more than a year since the end of Book 2. Several major characters die off-page between the two books, and given the ending of Book 2 it is a surprise to find Hawaii already back in Allied hands. Birmingham obviously felt that expanding on these elements would expand the series to four books or more and I certainly understand him wanting to avoid that.

Final Impact marks a solid ending to the series, with the war rapidly winding down after the nukes start being deployed. Birmingham treats these weapons as the terrible forces they are some military authors, Turtledove particularly comes to mind, seem to love hurling them around with almost gleeful abandon and the impact of their use is made clear. The ending is also not particularly neat. The USSR emerges from the war far stronger than it did in real life, with the threat of a real 'hot war' with the Allies seemingly much greater than in reality, but that is not part of the story that the author is telling, so that element is left dangling.

As with the prior books, the author mixes action with intriguing historical speculation with solid characterisation and a fascinating contrast of the morales and attitudes of the two time periods: There is also plenty of humour to be mined, such as SAS commander Harry Windsor having an amusing conversation with his year-old grandmother or disco becoming popular thirty years ahead of schedule, as well as interesting side-effects of the transition, such as questions over who has the copyright on films yet to be made by directors and actors yet to be born.

When I first started Final Impact I thought I had somehow made a mistake and missed an entry in the series. When part 2 ended, the Japanese had just taken Hawaii and yet this story commences after the state was retaken by the allies, along with some other developments.

Once assured that I did not miss anything I plowed onwards and gradually had the salient details unveiled as the 3rd part progressed.

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Other than that narrative hic-cup this entry continues with the same pacing and thrills that Mr. Birmingham had previously established. I very much enjoyed the approach taken with these books and also with the conclusion as it was not where I thought this saga would end up. I choose the word saga, as I do not believe this will be the end of the story since the world created has much more potential. Overall I thought the author was true to his characters and that the conflicts and resolutions were in keeping with the combatants at the time.

Final Impact

On a side note, without giving it away, I thought for sure I knew who the guilty party was regarding an atrocity committed in part I, but as usual, I was wrong. That entire story line could make an interesting read on it's own. This is an excellent alternative history series and I was very glad I purchased them.

I am moving on to Stalin's Hammer, which I understand to be more of a, "set in the same universe," type of story more so than a sequel, but I do not care. If John Birmingham wrote it, I am sure it will be terrific! I do like how the author has mixed 'old' tech with the 'new' [modern] tech in the series, especially this book. He has done a good job of it so far. I also like how the author has included dates with each chapter. I think it helps the narrative; it helps create a sense of what is happening and how much time has elapsed.

The first two books did not have this 'feature' and it showed. It bugs me to no end that the Allies 'are so far behind' in the technological race [as it were] and yet Thots so far: It bugs me to no end that the Allies 'are so far behind' in the technological race [as it were] and yet the Germans and Russians 'are so far ahead' with no justification for it. This novel takes place eighteen months [nearly two years] after the second novel; it is during the time when America's industrial base is geared up for wartime production, yet it seems to have made no difference.

Yet the Russians are supposed to have created advanced testing centers out in the middle of nowhere and created advanced tech faster than the rest of the world? Not to come across as judgmental, but this is the hardest part of the book to swallow, and it is kind of ruining it for me. I'm about halfway through the book - I figure I should finish it in the next day or so. Hopefully it gets better. Oooooh, that was a dirty trick! And I thought she had died! By a German execution squad, no less! I should have known my joy was for naught! We learn she's the only survivor a couple of pages later; her advanced future-armor [sounds funny, saying that] saved her miserable hide [drat it all!

There was something about that scene in the book; I loved it. I think it was the best scene for far. I actually 'liked' it more, by the end, than I did the second book and even the first book. I liked it enough to give it three stars. Maybe it has to do with view spoiler [three Bs hide spoiler ] being view spoiler [used to nuke Berlin off the face of the Earth, I don't know; it was hide spoiler ] too cool, though, or with view spoiler [the Japanese kamikaze carrier being allowed to 'nuke' the Russian nuclear facility off the face of the Earth before being sunk, setting back the Russian program indefinitely and hide spoiler ] 'making things right' [so to speak].

I still do not agree with the 'ultimate ending' to the book, personally view spoiler [with the Russians controlling "four-fifths" of the world. The 'temps' know what the Communists are like; there is no way they would have allowed the Russians to remain in power like they did at the end of the book hide spoiler ]. It was an odd book, for being about World War II. Obviously the book could not have an overall broad focus; we only get snippets letting us know that the war is still being fought in other parts of the globe.


It was so 'focused' in its narrative that it made it seem like the War had devolved to specific locales and nowhere else. If it were not for those snippets, then it would no longer have seemed to have been a global conflict any longer. I did appreciate that it was not so focused on the 'political agendas' of the author like the first two books.

The second book seemed to bog down in the minutia of 'civilian life' like the first book did, ignoring the fact that a war was going on. The uptimers, while being the 'saviors' of the world [as it were] were shown to have their own foibles and weaknesses and imperfections, which was 'nice' on the one hand.

There did not seem to be as many consequences for their actions, though, when they disobeyed orders and 'took the law into their own hands' because it was more expedient to do so. I was actually "sad" [disappointed] at one point in the book view spoiler [: I was hoping Yamamoto would survive with his fleet of four to six battleships and remaining carrier.

I get it why the battleships were sunk, on the one hand, but it still seemed 'stupid' and hypocritical, considering they were letting the German Army survive and move to the East to fight the Russians. So it really should not have been any different, on the one hand, to have let Yamamoto and his forces live. But what is life, if not chock full of stupid decisions and hypocrisy hide spoiler ].

I guess it was a decent series.

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Eighteen months did pass between the second and third book, so perhaps the Russian improvements were more feasible than I give them credit for. It just seemed like the United States still had one hand tied behind its back in the narrative whereas the Nazis and the Communists had everything going their way [for a while]. Obviously, it had to stop for the Nazis, as they still are shown as losing the War. References were continually made to ensure the United States never becoming beholden to the House of Saud like they had become in the original timeline. I also think it is crap that they were reported as moving into India, which was still a part of the British Empire at the time.

It seems to me that would have been [should have been] viewed as an 'act of war' on the part of the Communists and justified Allied retaliation against them. It ended on a better note than I thought it would [based on the first two books in the series and how they bogged down on stupid details that really had nothing to do with the story]. The war for the future has begun I will start by saying that I love alternate history. Harry Turtledove is in my top 5 authors. This trilogy by John Birmingham is as gripping to me as the Worldwar series was.

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The way the story moved ahead at a brisk pace without a lot of embellishments was just right. Characters were hard because of the future they came from but they have some humanity. I like how historical characters were portrayed and shocked at what happened to some. One has to suspend some d The war for the future has begun I will start by saying that I love alternate history. One has to suspend some disbelief when reading books like this and for some things it was kind of hard for example that it took two years from arrival in the past to build a B I really enjoyed the series, highly recommended.

Mar 27, Louise Potterton rated it it was amazing. Aug 02, Nicci rated it really liked it Recommends it for: The format is setup like a diary with date and time, a leading topic sentence in metaphoric style to start the scene. Then there is the background information immersed in the details of the actual events giving the readers a flavor of actions. The author introduced a slightly different format for Book Two: I read some complaints some readers missed the format of the fir I really enjoyed reading this series consisting of Weapons of Choice, Designated Targets, and Final Impact.

Final Impact (Axis of Time, #3) by John Birmingham

I read some complaints some readers missed the format of the first book. It came back with the third and last of the series. What is so cool about the American led Multinational 21st ships was the meeting its counterpart, the US Task Force heading to Midway to fight the Japanese navy. The 21st ships had built in Combat Intelligent technology. Combat units spoke with a particular personality. Have the capacity to design defensive attacks without human interference, as with the situation of the armada crew being unconscious resulting from transportation through the wormhole.

The not so cool but granted awesome for a science fiction story, the CI units practically wiped out the US Task Force with the wonder of laser rays, rockets, and missiles multitasked to hit multiple targets. Of course, once the commanders of the 21st became conscious and aware of the situation, they immediately obliged the 21st armada to the Americans to continue the fight in WW II.

To be fair and to level the playing field, Japan, Germany, and Russia captured their own 21st century ships to their joy and detriment. Searching through historical archives, they discovered they would lose the war. They will set about changing history, which ultimately leads them straight to a predetermined fate. On those ships, blacks, Hispanics, Asians especially Japanese, women, people of any color, gender, nationality, and sexual orientation are in position of authority as part of the of the year social construct.

One can imagine the major undertaking of acceptance or more likely unacceptable attitudes towards these people. Imagine a Japanese Commander committing horrible crimes against women and children taking a terrible beating from a woman naval security officer. God Help us, are all the women from her day like this?

Hee, yes we are like that. Mind bending I read many, many, many books - John Birmingham pulls you in after the first chapter and doesn't let you go until the very end. This leaves you wondering where to now?

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  • I have only read the trilogy and I'm looking forward to the other offshoots to the series. Dec 18, Tim Hicks rated it liked it Shelves: This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Third of three in the Axis of Time series. It's a good fast read. I suspect it was researched thoroughly but written hastily. Some characters are well developed, others are cardboard caricatures. Admiral King continues so be so ludicrous that I want to throw the book across the room every time he appears.

    Kolhammer and Jones are impossibly competent in a Heinleinesque way; perhaps it's a tribute. Author was careful to explain how ship A could communicate with ship B miles away, but didn't te Third of three in the Axis of Time series.

    John Birmingham

    Author was careful to explain how ship A could communicate with ship B miles away, but didn't tell us how they pulled off a worldwide videoconference without having satellites, especially when he explicitly mentions their lack a few pages later. At the end, they are talking about dividing Japan. We're told that the Good Guys will get Tokyo, as if that matters when the city was completely destroyed about ten pages earlier.

    There's some sloppy editing. A character struggles to breath not breathe ; the Japanese missiles are sometimes Ohkas, sometimes Okhas; and there wee several other sloppy bits that a copy editor should have caught. I understand that there's an audience for that. Things happen that need to happen, and in reasonably plausible ways, but as guts hang out, people are turned to a "pink mist", and gory deaths abound, I get the feeling that the author was enjoying himself a little too much; if he were reading the book to us he'd say, "Hoo-hah, here comes a juicy bit!

    You eat them all, and they're tasty, but later you wonder if you couldn't have used the day's calories better. Feb 19, Allen Garvin rated it liked it. A fleet from gets thrown back in time to right before Midway. The first two books were very intelligent, but were basically alternative-history-technothrillers. This last one is darker and ambivalent. It's two years since the previous book. At the end of the last, the Soviets and Germans agreed to a cease fire because of the threat of the western democracies. Now, 2 years later, the Japanese invaded Australi inal book in a trilogy that included Weapons of Choice and Designated Targets.

    Now, 2 years later, the Japanese invaded Australia and Hawaii, but got repelled. The allied invasion into France is just starting. Several characters have died in the meantime. The darker side of the "good guys" is on display here. No qualms about torturing or humiliating their enemies, or killing in the cold blood. Admiral Kolhammer manipulates politics and goes behind Roosevelt's back. Roosevelt comes across as peevish and unwilling to look at the long term. Duffy is haunted by the ruin of her contemporary marriage and deaths of her friends.

    Halfway through the book, the Soviets get the bomb first and use it on Lodz. The Germans retalliate with chemical and biological weapons. Then the US drops 3 bombs on Berlin. The future will be vastly different, but instead of giving some hints as to how, the novel ends with personal notes about several of the characters returning to civilian life. Interesting, but ultimately disappointing end to a trilogy that started so great.

    Feb 27, Jeff rated it liked it Recommends it for: Hard core Alt History fans, Military Sci-fi fans. Axis of Time Trilogy: An unsatisfactory conclusion to the otherwise acceptable alt-history trilogy by John Birmingham. The ending was far too rushed. Several compelling story lines that had been nurtured in the first two books were s Axis of Time Trilogy: Several compelling story lines that had been nurtured in the first two books were simply abandoned in this one; seemingly for the sake of "getting to the good stuff", ie: It felt like three more books' worth of material was crammed into this on volume.

    The Socio-political changes one would expect due to the deposit of a slice of fully-integrated "future America" - seismic in any society, but even more so in a pre-Jim Crow United States - seemed also to have been given short shrift in this book, abnegating the promise of the first two.

    Characterizations mostly coast along from the first two books, as no major characters are introduced in this installment; or at least none who don't immediately die in variously gruesome ways. Likewise these 21st century warriors - men and women of all races and colours - are constantly confronted by the bigotry and hostility endemic in Meanwhile, along with all this lethal firepower arriving from 80 years in the future, the ships contain databases full of information, so Hitler, Stalin, Roosevelt, Churchill and the rest are able to see how the war is supposed to have turned out, and for the losers this presents an opportunity to do everything possible to change history.

    The key to victory, each side is convinced, is to be the first to build an atomic arsenal; there's no need for the Rosenbergs - all the Allied and Axis powers now know the secrets of the atom, and the arms race is well and truly on. And so Birmingham sets up his most intriguing conundrum. Under Stalin's ruthless brutality, the Soviet Union races ahead as a military super power. Learning of the eventual victory of the West over Soviet communism and the negation of all he stood for, Stalin is determined to prevent it. Seeing his superior military might, both Germany and Japan seek alliances with the Allies against the Soviets.

    But the Nazi death camps, the Final Solution, Changi and Bataan death marches have happened, not in the past but in this present. Knowing about these, but also about the eventual emergence of the Cold War and the threat of nuclear annihilation, can Britain, the US, Australia and the rest break off hostilities against their hated foes in order to prevent future conflicts against the USSR? These are deeply involving questions, atypical action fodder. The veteran comedy writer in Birmingham emerges from time to time to leaven the seriousness.

    At one point Stalin is demanding information from his advisers. Dissatisfied with their answers, he shouts: To hide their atomic program, the Soviets build a decoy science facility, a fake, which is named the Demidenko Centre.