I recently read a review of Earth Interstellar and the reviewer’s criticism was about the “unchecked US nationalism” contained in the book (the rest of the review was quite stellar, by the way). I will be the last one to say the book is not US centered, however, I would like to explain how I came to that point as I believe there is a reason for this to be the case that I call “reality.”
“What reality are you speaking about?” might be a reasonable question to ask. And, you will be right to have some skepticism of a legitimate reason for the book being slanted toward the US other than the author is slanted toward the US. Well, I am slanted toward the US. I’m an American - it comes with the territory. But, the reason does go beyond that.
In the story, humanity was first visited by aliens around the current time (2018-ish). In the current political climate around the world, the major powers are highly competitive and do a very poor job of cooperating honestly (as in without trying to gain advantage over each other) about anything.
With that political situation, I had to envision how an alien race who does not give a <insert alien expletive> about the political climate in the US. The only thing they care about is getting humanity to do what they want and provide them tribute (and in an unspoken want, to develop humanity’s own space program so they can advance enough to defend themselves and become a buffer between the alien race and their enemies).
So, how would an alien race do that? Would they wade into human politics, or would they “pick a winner” nation either outright or through some competition to see what country has the ability to manage a space program.
I went with the aliens setting up a competition between all nations to do something like deliver ship hulls (tribute) to the Moon within a given time period. (This was actually an idea for another book that I did not feel at the time I could do a good job on and set it aside to consider some other time.)
So, with my being an American able to write about how Americans would do things be better than I can other nations, I chose to Americans as the winners of the competition.
But, then comes a question of how the other nations would react to it. They do not really have a choice since the aliens are backing the “winner.” But, for them to roll over and allow America to effective become the rulers of a new “interstellar” government does not seem plausible. The natural result would be a power sharing government between major nations with the US having the dominant position from their stronger bargaining position. I purposefully left out smaller nations being a part of the power sharing as they have little ability to force the issue and because anyone who has looked at the United Nations and its corruption, incompetence, and petty agendas knows how stupid it would be for the major powers to try to make another UN situation a second time.
Now advance 320 years into the future and you still have national interests in the United Earth Government and you still have distrust and you still have one nation (the US) that “knows better” than the others and is willing to keep secrets from the others.
I have no regret that I used a touch of the ugly reality of national interests in my world rather than the unrealistic utopia model that I cannot see happening in even a thousand years (no matter how much people in the US attempt to create it unilaterally). I can just tell you I have no desire to write political correctness into my stories.
Below is a copy of the review I am referring to:
“All in all this is a good book. I fully enjoyed the universe the author has built and everything from the tactics, weapons, ships to the characters works really well. He even managed to introduce some new concepts with the use of VR in the operation of the star ships which was really cool and a new concept to me.
What puts this book off too me was the unchecked US nationalism in the book. The author is clearly a proud US American, but his belief in US superiority is to the point that any character from other Earth nationalities are portrayed with massiv machiavellian character flaws, as apposed to the US characters who are almost all portrayed as the classic hero types. It unfortunately leaves the reader with a bad taste, that nearly made me put the book down.
I hope the author will be able to address this in coming books since I really would want to see the story progress, but without this flaw.” -- Amazon Customer
Earth Interstellar is a #1 Best Seller in Hard Science Fiction in the United Kingdom on Amazon.co.uk
Earth Interstellar: Proxy War is the #1 Best Seller in the United Kingdom on Amazon.co.uk. Immense thank you to all my readers across the pond! #Humbled #Scifi #Books
EI is having a good start and my first reviews are in on Amazon.com (note: I do NOT pay for reviews - I'm too cheap to want to pay for them). I am especially appreciative of a review from Steven L. Fritz. In it he says, "This book got off to a good start with the Prologue, not always a good approach but it works well here. The stakes of the story are laid out here, not fully understandable until the end. The author has used his Cost (sic) Guard experience to create a very believable world of interstellar ship combat. Few writers bring the verisimilitude he brings to shipboard life, but it always serves the story.
Humanity is a minor civilization in an interstellar war. Their value to the overall galactic civilization is minimal except as proxy warriors. The weaponry described is innovative and believable and the battles between humans and another proxy species are well described. The characters are an ensemble but a few main characters come to life in interesting ways. Overall, a fascinating read."
That's a great review as he has hit the nail on the head of what I was trying to accomplish in Earth Interstellar. Thank you Steven!