Does the thought of alternate historical timelines where events played out differently which affected the future as we know it sound interesting? The book United States of Japan by Peter Tieryas has a world which revolves around this idea. This science fiction piece of work really captures and envelopes the reader into its universe. Freedom and the fight for it is a main theme which carries throughout the book. The book is a delight to read with its action and drama filled plot. The United States of Japan takes place mostly in 1988 in the California area of the now USJ. The cause of this is that in the book, Japan won the second World War. Because of the Japanese’s very strict order and vast knowledge, there are many common devices and practices that we would find futuristic. The strict order of the Empire gives the main characters the reasons to take action. Through the third person view, Ben and Akiko find themselves on a very thin line by being devoted to the Empire while also making discoveries that undermine it. By writing this way, the book is putting itself in a perfect position as to keep the reader guessing with no as to what they are actually guessing about. At every turn, there is something of bewilderment or devastation. The author’s writing style was full of hidden meanings and worrisomes. “He jauntily skipped back inside and shut the door behind him. Akiko returned to her room, lay next to Hideyoshi, and shuddered. She prayed for sleep.” (Tieryas 308) Through this, Peter reveals the hidden fact that there is a mutual caring between the main characters while obviously showing that she is scared. His writing style is also very elaborate and uses a good amount of difficult vocabulary. “Ben could feel the nerves trying to placate their followers, the dendrites and axons sending prophetic messages of doom, ignored in the malaise of exorbitance.” (Tieryas 400) This descriptive vocabulary can give you a sense of depth within what’s happening. The author’s way of incorporating death and tragedy while keeping the story cleverly fun keeps the reader wanting more. Peter Tieryas does this very well with other works including Bald New World in which he toys with the idea of everyone waking up one day to find out that everyone has gone bald overnight and views on religion, politics, and fashion drastically shift. Watering Heaven is a travelogue which uses bizarre manifestations and a surreal journey through China’s grimiest places in pursuit of an American Dream. Both have seemed to have acquired high-rating reviews but with United States of Japan standing out as his best piece of literature. United States of Japan is a great work of science fiction that brings with it mystery, and action into a different type of world. I think that this book exceeded my expectations and I would recommend it to anyone looking for a sad yet satisfying read. This book brought my emotions up to the surface in what was thought to be a run-of-the-mill action adventure, turned out to be a truly deep and relatable piece of art.


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