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REVIEW: Designated Targets by John Birmingham

REVIEW SUMMARY: A much better effort than the previous book in the series, Birmingham delivers with this well-connected story.


BRIEF SYNOPSIS: The task force from the future introduced in the previous work Weapons of Choice, continues wrangling with the social and political impact of its arrival all while continuing to fight World War 2. The Axis powers have managed to snag future technology too and aren’t going down without a fight.


PROS: Studying the politics and social implications of the future warriors on America is great fodder for a story – the mixed-race, mixed-gender force plays havoc with 1942 American sensibilities. It points out how far we have come as a nation in the last 60 years.

CONS: There isn’t much to dislike here – but nobody will confuse Birmingham with Gene Wolfe.

BOTTOM LINE: Definitely worth reading if you managed to make it through the previous book.

ASIDE: John includes a female marine turned covert operative in a minor role with the name Harriet “the Chariot” Klausner. She has little dialog, but what she does say is fit for a sailor, if you catch my drift.

5 Comments on REVIEW: Designated Targets by John Birmingham

  1. (6) Don’t get me started on Harriet Klausner.

    This was the book that Charles pointed out on this very blog that used her name. The supposition, which I agree with, is that this was a test to see if HK read the material she “reviews”. Certainly, if your name appears in a book, you’d mention as much in your review, wouldn’t you? Well, HK’s 5-star (natch) review didn’t even mention her own name. Maybe that’s because it didn’t appear on the dust jacket. :-@

  2. It is hard to know what Birmingham meant by including her – the character is very minor, and has little to say (I think two lines of dialog, one of which is the explative, ‘sup bitch’.) I’m also not so sure that she would mention it if she saw it – she might be embarrased to see the characters name, expecially if the character is unflattering (which the character isn’t, exactly.) I wonder if Birmingham has a blog?

  3. He does have a blog, but sadly there appears to be no reference to Klausner there. His blog is

  4. Peter D. Tillman // March 21, 2006 at 1:11 pm //

    The AXIS OF TIME wikipedia article has a whole list of Tuckerized characters. I must say, I found these overcute and distracting. Otherwise, excellent book and I agree, an improvement over #1.

    Happy reading–

    Pete Tillman

    My review of WEAPONS OF CHOICE:

  5. Peter D. Tillman // March 21, 2006 at 1:17 pm //

    Hmm, odd software.

    Try #2 for URLS:

    Wikipedia article:

    My review, WoC:

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