I can't finish it today. Stirling has endured quite a bit of criticism for this book to the extent that he began the title page to his later non-Draka book Conquistador with this quotation: "There is a technical term for someone who confuses the opinions of a character in a book with those of the author. That term is 'idiot'.
That's THE cardinal sin of literature analysis. Leaving the author's work I read this book first 10 years ago. Leaving the author's work as separate from the author though does not make this book any better. In the introduction to the short story collection Drakas! Stirling states that he distilled the worst of Western Civilization, put it onto the mineral rich Cape of Good Hope ironically named in this context , and then let the worst of all possibilities emerge.
Ergo a dystopia. No problem. But consider the best of the genre. Instead think of The Iron Dream by Norman Spinrad a really great book for its satirical take on the sci-fi genre itself. Like the Draka books it's an alternate history imagining the distillation of the worst of Western Civilization though in one individual instead of one country.
The conceit of the novel is that Adolf Hitler emigrates to the United States and becomes a science fiction writer who disseminates his far-right philosophy via award winning science fiction novels extolling the sword and sorcery "virtues" of racial purity and SS-chic to an American populace eagerly snapping them it up. His influence is such that The Lord of the Swastika the novel within a novel creates its own fan culture of leather and silver clad geeks who play Naziism on the weekends.
The purpose of the novel is to expose a far right and authoritarian tendency within the genre and its authors here's looking at you Heinlein. It's an effective novel because its frame narrative takes away from any appeal the fictional novel may generate aside from the fact that The Lord of the Swastika is deliberately not very well written.
Has Mikheil Saakashvili overreached?
Marching Through Georgia however is reasonable well written. It has no frame narrative. The Draka kill Nazis. The main character is a reluctant soldier and a decent enough sort. The nation he lives in is a superpower with cool guns and tanks that never loses. And then it's off to the rest of the novel which is pure action. Stirling says that he's confused why people would want to live in this world. It's because he didn't really create a dystopia. He created a world that's blonde, sexy, and packing where no one works except slaves who really don't mind and actually rather like being slaves, Christian or any other morality is no obstacle save what brings the absolute pleasure although occasionally there's a war.
But even then war brings out a bunch of cool toys and the Draka are guaranteed to win. Stirling remarkably skirted the whole point of dystopia then which is to come back to the reader. That's why most dystopias put the reader in the mind of the oppressed, to illustrate what is wrong with the fictional society and thereby keep note of those aspects that seem familiar in day to day life. Stirling didn't accomplish this. In fact he appears to go out of his way to not accomplish this fact reveling in action and technology rather than social commentary which makes his Draka series unreadable to me any longer.
Oct 24, Duffy Pratt rated it liked it Shelves: alternative-history. I was looking forward to this because I had heard a lot about how terrible the Draka are. And, as is so often the case, they didn't live up to their billing. I also thought, as an early book, this would likely go deeper into the cool idea Stirling has, and have less of the surface adventure story that he usually delivers. On that, I could not have been more wrong. The story is basically a drawn out battle with nearly impossible odds between a Draka paratrooper unit and Nazi mechanized infantry.
S I was looking forward to this because I had heard a lot about how terrible the Draka are. Sterling almost falls into the trap of being more interested in his guns than his people, but I thought there was enough meat on the bones of the main character to support this story. The Draka are ruthless bastards, hyper-rational, and firm believers in their superiority as a master race. There's an interesting tension here, because the master race belief isn't particularly rational, and it doesn't tend to make the bast use of human resources.
Also, a culture devoted to the preservation of the aristocracy is doomed to failure. The Draka have managed to sustain theirs by relentless expansionism, but there is always a limit to expansion no matter, and when that limit gets reached, the aristocracy will start to turn on itself. Either the older heirs will have to exclude their family members, and thus create internal tension, or the property will get split too thin and threaten the foundations of the society.
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The Draka should be more aware of these looming problems than they seem to be. And that strikes me as odd, because it looks like Stirling is aware of them, and the Draka are not stupid. So I'm left wondering what explains their blind spots. So I have some concerns about Stirlings construction. But I am curious where he takes this, so I'm sure I will continue on to the next book, and may read the whole series. View 2 comments. May 22, Nate rated it liked it. In this short novel we learn via infodump how the Domination came into existence and then witness its existence into WW2, determined to cut a fresh piece of empire from Europe by wresting it from the Nazis.
The plot itself is all about the struggle between Domination forces and the Wehrmacht over a strategically important village. Of course, this was only the first in a quadrilogy and the other novels seem to be longer and deal with a bigger scope. Apr 19, Annette rated it really liked it Shelves: alternate-history. An interesting and unusual alternate history of a portion of WWII. Stirling proposes an additional colony of Europeans taking deep hold in Africa after the American Revolution. In the ensuing century-and-a-half, the "Draka" for Sir Francis Drake have taken over and fairly brutally enslaved most of the continent.
During WWII, however, they find themselves uneasily allied with the Americans and British since Hitler's threat is immediate while their own is still a generation or two away. Stirling does a good job of taking a group of people that by all standards of political correctness ought to be the world's biggest and most evil villains, second possibly only to Hitler himself, and making many individuals within it reasonably sympathetic.
He does this without particularly excusing their political system: he uses an American character's viewpoint quite effectively to show how oppressive and foreign it is to our way of thinking. And yet one of his serfs, brought home as a young survivor of a Draka conquest a generation earlier, takes the American reporter to task for simultaneously pitying and despising her.
The way she sees it, her masters are not harsh to her, and her life is considerably better than it would have been had she and her family survived as dirt-poor peasants in Europe. Anyway, quite a complex set of issues to chew on as you read the well-paced and well plotted narrative and find yourself rooting for the slave-owner's victory over the Germans. Jun 27, Elizabeth Rebecca Shaw rated it really liked it. A really interesting alternate history about what might have happened if the British had moved their Loyalists from the USA to South Africa at the time of the American Revolution.
The White slave owners took over from the Boers and with additions along the way created a revolutionary society with slavery being a large part of it. Can be hard to read in places. This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Marching Through Georgia
One of the best alternate histories. What if the British Loyalists, the Confederates, and most of the oppressive losers created a militaristic society. South Africa turns into the Domination of the Draka, where from childhood, kids are trained to fight. What happens in the next books is extremely disturbing but an interesting analysis of what can happen when people don't fight for free One of the best alternate histories.
What happens in the next books is extremely disturbing but an interesting analysis of what can happen when people don't fight for freedom. May 31, Jake Hahn rated it it was ok Shelves: couldn-t-finish.
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Too slow and technical to get into. May 13, David Leemon rated it liked it Shelves: 40s , adventure , alternate-history , caucasius-mountains , dieselpunk , germany , goreanpunk , guys , russia , slave-girls. This was an entertaining romp through Georgia.
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Oct 01, Steven rated it liked it. Kind of creepy. It's a reasonably fleshed alternate world, but its alternate-ness, while explained, isn't really believable. Basically it requires that a society with buckets of slave labor dedicate itself to The internal logic makes sense, but it's just not an "evolutionary stable system". It only works if you pretend human nature is something it isn't. It's also a little uncomfortable to read just due to the Kind of creepy. It's also a little uncomfortable to read just due to the political anticorrectness: the protagonists Draka are a bunch of raping, pillaging racists.
Admittedly the primary antagonists are the Nazis, who are worse, but the book makes it clear that these bad guys Draka are going to win World War III anyway. The characters are interesting if a little one-dimensional The action is okay but mostly filler. I didn't dislike reading it but it has no deeper redeeming qualities. Mar 30, Checkman rated it liked it Recommends it for: fans of military fiction and AH. Shelves: alternative-history , military-fiction , beach-read , drama. The first of Stirling's Draka series. A fascinating look at a fictional race of conqueors.