The Proteus Operation is a science fiction novel by James P Hogan.
Once upon a time in the late 21st century, everything was just a-okay and everybody where happy. Utopia had been reached. Well, except for a couple of malcontents who where rather bored with all this be-good-to-thy-neighbour and nobody goes hungry to bed stuff, so instead of trying to change their own world they decide to go into the past and help Hitler win World War II. Personally I would think it easier for them to change the reality of their own world, than to invent and build a time machine. How hard can it be to get a world to suck? Release something gene-engineered that destroys fifty percent of all crops or eats plastic or something. Look at the late 20th century if you are short of ideas.
Anyway, they build the time machine and they help out Hitler and Germany. By the 1970 Germany rule the world, except for North America and Australia, which are both doing rather badly. So the Americans of this alternative timeline, builds another time machine and sends somebody back to make sure that Hitler doesn't win and those annoying malcontents from the 21st century gets send back to the utopia that is their hell.
This is quite an entertaining story - Hogan manages to keep track of the timelines and to keep them clear to the reader. His usage of historic characters around the start of WWII time is quite interesting, both Churchill and Einstein have "speaking parts". I'm not sure whether I liked it or not, sometimes it seemed wrong to have "real people" do and say things in a timeline that has never existed, it lacks validity somehow. But then again, at times it added quite a lot of realism to the story, which heightens the tension, which certainly is the strongest point of this book. All in all a good action piece, with better than average characters.
Written on Thursday 1st March 2001 by TC.
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