July Publications

Proponents of military solutions to political failures would do well to learn the lesson that David Drake has been teaching in his saga of Hammer's Slammers, a futuristic mercenary tank regimental combat team: every soldier on the ground is a de facto policy maker whose interests may differ drastically from the outcome intended by the initiators of the solution. In Paying the Piper, a young subaltern finds himself confused and conflicted between his responsibilities to his troops, his unit and the people for whom he is fighting when their backers prove unworthy of his loyalty. (Baen, $24 368p ISBN 0-7434-3547-8)

At its best, alternate history holds a mirror to our society, allowing us to understand our own past by examining hypothetical responses to similar but altered conditions in real or imagined worlds. In the latest installment of his retelling of the world wars, American Empire: The Center Cannot Hold, Harry Turtledove demonstrates convincingly how a native fascist ideology could spring up in a defeated Confederacy, as well as how economic conditions can develop independent of government policies. (Del Rey, $27.95 512p ISBN 0-345-44421-3)