Moon of Ice Hardcover – Feb 1988
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From Publishers Weekly
Hitler did not lose World War II in Linaweaver's alternate history. After developing his own atom bomb, he conquered most of Europe and Russia but reached a stalemate with America. In the ensuing cold war, Germany suffers renewed inflation and is stifled by an overstratified bureaucracy while America prospers but becomes Balkanized with an ever-weaker Federal government. This warped mirror image of our world is seen through the eyes of New York editor Alan Whittmore and through two of his publications: the diaries of aging Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels and his rebellious, anarchist daughter Hilda. Linaweaver's relegating the Holocaust to a small corner of his sometimes comic opera plot is sure to offend some, but he also offers a provocative rereading of the last half century, comparing FDR's powers to Hitler's, considering the war crimes trial of Winston Churchill and, in the book's grabber, describing a hugely popular Nazi propaganda film that turns out to be Raiders of the Lost Ark with every ethnic stereotype intact.
Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Library Journal
In an alternate universe in which Hitler won World War II and America has devolved into a fractured country of rugged individualists, the radical daughter of Joseph Goebbels dares to publish her late father's secret diaries, revealing the bizarre fantasies at the core of Nazi doctrine. Considerably expanded from his short story of the same title, Linaweaver's first novel takes a satiric look at national insanity of many kinds. Recommended for sf collections. JC
Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
It is not a bad book. In fact, the bulk of it is a rather good alternate history based on the premise that Germany won WWII. The frustration lies in the jarring lack of cohesion or integration.
There is a prologue which is not explained, and is brutal and cryptic at once. The meaning and context of the prologue are largely hidden until the final chapter, when it is revealed that they have no bearing on the main plot, but are merely a future (and rather arbitrary) consequence of it.
Then there is the first chapter, in which the consequences of the alternate history on the US are hinted at. This is a mixed bag, but drew me in. In essence, rather than creeping socialism taking control of all aspects of civilian life, the consequence of WWII in this time track was a creeping libertarianism and decreasing size of the federal government.
This is handled both well (the consequence of privately owned roads is that some roads are not owned or maintained, leading to moon crater potholes and the market solution of tires that can handle anything, but give a bone-jarring ride -- a concession to reality that few other libertarian novels ever make) and not so well (if a customer tips a waitress exceedingly well, she will serve him in the nude -- something I just don't buy at a posh restaurant in America, since the Puritan strain of our culture predates WWII by centuries).
But the various awkwardnesses are made up for in the fascinating background.
Then Mr. Linaweaver gives us many pages of autobiography from Joseph Goebbels's daughter, Hilda, which provide interesting insight into life in Germany after the victory. But it goes on too long. And then, the meat!
The daring conceit of this novel is that the bulk of it consists of the last entries in the diary of Joseph Goebbels himself, circa 1966. Whatever quibbles one may take with this portion of the novel, it is gripping, grotesque, and for the most part entirely believable. The only misstep, one that Linaweaver is quite conscious of and acknowledges, is the use of the hoary old cliche of the mad super-scientist who wants to destroy the world. The science he employs is simply not believable in the context presented, even for a super-genius.
That, however, is more than made up for in the scenes describing a Nazi propaganda film, and it's director, which turns out to be an exact analog of a very popular American film, right down to the racial stereotypes. And the American director, by implication, is skewered beautifully in the presentation of his alternate self.
So then the diary ends, and we are back in the mid 1970s with Goebbels's daughter and her publisher, and this is quite good too, living up to the diary. Until.
The final chapter is an epistle written in the year 2000, and clears up the "mystery" of the prologue. Once that is done, the letter then details events that would have been well-known to the recipient, and proceeds to semi-coherently relate the theme of the novel over and over and over again in a feeble attempt to bludgeon it into the reader's head. Then it does it again. And still again. It is so poorly written that one wonders if the author fell ill and somebody else filled in.
If I give the impression here of disliking the book, that is only because the last chapter was so incomprehensibly awful that it eclipses the considerable merits of the rest. Even without the ending, it is far from perfect, as noted. However, on the whole, I am glad to have read it.
Highly original vision of "what if" the Nazis won WW 2 (author predicts they would have ended up much like the USSR -- a corrupt and declining totalitarian state, whose Party leaders only give lip service to their early "ideals," and whose children are spoiled Party brats).
The heroine is a libertarian revolutionary.
This book won a Prometheus award.