The Churchill Memorandum
Sean Gabb’s The Churchill Memorandum is an alternate history spy thriller taking place in a world where World War II was averted due to Hitler’s death in 1939, the libertarian British Empire rules strong-and the US has devolved into a dictatorship complete with a “Republican Guard”. It’s one of the hardest books to review.
See, this may be the most extreme example of “alternate history as a setting” I’ve seen. By itself, the book is nothing but a 51% installment in a genre that, while not disliked, isn’t my first choice. But the setting, oh boy. The setting combines a big dose of L. Neil Smith-style libertarian utopianism with a British version of “libertarian” nostalgia for something you’d think wouldn’t be appropriate. In this case, it’s THE EMPIRE. You can be forgiven for wondering “isn’t an empire using the power of the state to a great degree to suppress others”.
Anyway, the setting goes farther than that. Historical British politician Michael Foot is portrayed as a supervillain who dissolves his victims in pits full of acid. His associate in the League of Evil is Harold Macmillan.
This book is kind of like a 1980s hair band that dresses extravagantly but plays the most mundane pop. The surface is crazy, but what’s behind it isn’t really. Ok, except for Michael Foot’s Evil Tub of Acid. That has to count for something, right?