Journey to Fusang / The Wild Blue and the Gray

I read some of William Sanders’ material in a short story collection and decided to search for more of his works. I found Journey to Fusang and The Wild Blue and the Gray. Both of the books are good, but have a different tone. Journey to Fusang is a hilarious romp through the U.S. in an alternate history where Europe never came to the New World. Instead, America is full of Arabs, Chinese, and Russians. Finn goes from one sort of trouble to another, but always seems to get out of harms way through bluff, skill, and a little luck. It is a fun trip by water to New Orleans then north and later west, eventually to California (Fusang). Finn makes allies and enemies throughout the book, but is always looking out for himself and a way to make a buck. The ending was funny but disappointing in a way. Overall, a good, fun book to read.

The Wild Blue and the Gray is definitely more serious, but fun as well. The Confederacy won the Civil War, and is now trying to help their allies England and France against Germany. Amos Ninekiller is a Cherokee sent to join the air war, but there are many ulterior motives afoot. The brutality of war is displayed, as well as some humanity here and there. Amos is in the thick of it from the get-go, and sometimes takes matters into his own hands to help his friends and allies. The ending is somber, as war is hell and there is really nothing glorious about it in terms of human suffering and loss. Another good book by Sanders.

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