The rest of Earth follows the original timeline, so terrorism rears its ugly head, which will forever change American politics. Iran and its attempt at taking hostages is taken care of in 1979, but a new threat emerges because of it. The new President of the United States has to pursue these enemies of the U.S. to secure America's future. We follow America's progress from Moon to Mars, along with the Teacher in Space Program, to an eventual starship mission out of the solar system, which will continue in book two, Final Frontier.
|Product dimensions:||6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.37(d)|
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The premise of this book was attractive, but the implementation left something to be desired. I even tried to contact the author to find out if I was missing some subtle parody, but didn't get a response. So, I'll write this review by taking the book at face value. "New Frontier" starts with the idea of an alternate history where a different American political history stimulates the US space program. That's a reasonable alternate history; our history is littered with a string of programs cancelled by Washington rather than technology problems. However, "New Frontier" is not a conventional alternate history that attempts to meticulously plot out realistic results of the original change in the history. The political figures are caricatures that we're supposed to take as realistic portrayals. I've seen some decent alternate history portrayals of the shortcomings of historical politicians and the problems caused by their policies (e.g., Woodrow Wilson in Robert Conroy's "1920: America's War.") But not in New Frontier - it could give Rush Limbaugh pointers on portraying liberals and conservatives. Even Newt Gingrich's "1945" wasn't this heavyhanded. It was like if The Colbert Show was dead serious. The technological advances don't just happen fast, they happen faster than new rocket engines and launchers have ever been developed. The most painful was the Russian development of warp drive, which happens at Moscow's orders rather than any well-described technological breakthrough. Because politicians can wave a wand and make technology appear. And since Russians like to steal American technology, their starship is lost because they stole Microsoft DOS and it gave them a blue screen of death mid-flight years before the blue screen of death was ever a feature in MS products. I enjoy a good lampooning of political mistakes, and a good technological alternate history. This was neither. "New Frontier" took itself way too seriously when it was making a lot of elementary mistakes.
I really enjoyed New Frontier. Since this is the first novel in the series, its mostly the backstory, at least it seems that way to me. The prologue was interesting, and I didn't think it fit with the whole novel, but I read that the author is going to explain it in the second novel. I think something about the interstellar space travelers who leave at the end of the novel somehow end up back in time, and decide to change the 60's. The tech in the novel advances quickly, kind of like how we went from horse & buggy to flying in less than twenty years when the Wright Brothers flew their prototype, or when the nuclear bomb only took six years to design, develop, and implement. I look forward to the second novel, whenever that comes out.