Title: A Captain of the Gate
Author: John Birmingham
Series: The Disappearance Companion
In: Legends of Australian Fantasy (Jack Dann & Jonathan Strahan)
Rating Out of 5: 3 (On the fence about this one)
My Bookshelves: Australian authors, Fantasy, History
Format: Short story
Publisher: Harper Collins Australia
5th sentence, 74th page: McKinnon, a great man by any measure, flawed as are all men, celebrated and reviled, a creator-destroyer of the first order, lies beneath a simple tombstone because he demanded it to be so.
A ′What if′ story of the Cold War … a small piece of alternate history of the period told via a biography of one of its players, Lieutenant Branch McKinnon, an adventurer in a different post-WWII world of American isolationism.
I just don’t know what I think about this short story. I liked the tone, I liked the way in which it was written, but I wasn’t really sure whether or not it was even a story until I got to the afterword. I just don’t know enough about the history of World War II or even the Allied Nations to actually pull apart this fictional historical biography.
Once I got to the end of A Captain of the Gate, I loved and completely understood the concept of what the point of these 60 pages was. The idea of rewriting a history for all the ‘what ifs’ was brilliant. And the use of a hero (or villain) of this war’s biography and personal history worked well too. But, as someone who knows next to nothing about historical events (I swear I slept through that class), much of the intricacies of this storyline completely flew over my head.
Maybe if I did some research, I would understand (and enjoy) this story better.
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