Kathleen Ann Goonan, In War Times Reviews

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“In War Times ”

written by Harriet Klausner on 06/03/2007

In War Times
Kathleen Ann Goonan
Tor, May 2007, $25.95
ISBN 0765313553

In 1941, enlisted soldier Sam Dance enjoys playing the saxophone, but the Army notices his inclination for math and science so they think he might make an ideal code-breaker; the brass assigns him to attend college-level classes. While his Physics Professor Dr. Eliani Hadntz seduces him, she also informs him of her concept to tie physics and the human mind so that she will be able to rescue Europe from the Nazis. At about the same time, Sam's older brother dies when the Japanese attack Pearl Harbor.

Sam and his jazz playing friend Wink work on the Hadntz device that shifts the realities of the space-time continuum. By doing this, he and Wink see the worst of Hitler, but make progress until they begin to place their machines around the world, praying that this time they have seen the war to end all wars by preventing humanity's basic mob trait tendency towards abuse and violence.

Using a comparison between the evolution of jazz and science starting in WW II through JFK and beyond, Kathleen Ann Goonan provides a powerful and exciting science-fiction thriller that calls for an encore. Sam is terrific as the star performer holding the tale together on both counts; all that jazz and physics. The storyline is fast-paced as the hero dances to a different beat once he meets Dr. Hadntz, but saving JFK brings other consequences. Alternate history has never been better than IN WAR TIMES.

Harriet Klausner

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