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Welcome!! My name is Paul Lappen. I am in my early 50s, single, and live in Connecticut USA. This blog will consist of book reviews, written by me, on a wide variety of subjects. I specialize, as much as possible, in small press and self-published books, to give them whatever tiny bit of publicity help that I can. Other than that, I am willing to review nearly any genre, except poetry, romance, elementary-school children's books and (really bloody) horror.

I have another 800 reviews at my archive blog: http://www.deadtreesreviewarchive.blogspot.com (please visit).

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Saturday, May 24, 2014

Shambling Towards Hiroshima

Shambling Towards Hiroshima, James Morrow, Tachyon Publications, 2008

This novel is about an audacious plan to end World War II in the Pacific, without invading Japan. It involves a man in a rubber monster suit.

In mid-1945, Germany has already surrendered. A Top Secret American project involves the creation of a trio of mutant, bipedal, fire-breathing lizards, and unleashing one of them on a Japanese city. A total Japanese surrender is the only way to cancel the attack. It is decided that the Japanese should first witness a demonstration of the potential devastation. A miniature mockup of the city of Shirazuka is created at an isolated Army base in the California desert. The hope is that the visiting Japanese delegation will be so horrified by what they see, that they will run to the Emperor, and beg him to surrender.

Enter Syms Thorley, veteran B-movie actor. He is most known as the living mummy Kha-Ton-Ra, and the monster Corpuscula. Thorley is assured that just one rehearsal is needed, with a less-detailed mockup of Shirazuka, and there will be just one performance, so he can work it around his current movie. He has to get used to the rubber suit, so he takes it to the beach a couple of times, and almost gets arrested. He also drives around Los Angeles with the suit strapped to the roof of his car.

Performance day has come. The miniature Japanese ships and planes are firing bits of actual gunpowder at him, to make it look as real as possible. As the mock-devastation goes on, Thorley is supposed to act "injured," but he really is injured. Does Thorley give the performance of a lifetime? Is it enough to force a Japanese surrender?

I really enjoyed this story. It's short, and easy to read, and it is very well done, from a veteran author. It is very much worth reading.

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