Fredric Krome

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It is not often that fictional accounts might warrant serious consideration by military historians, but in the case of Frederic Krome’s recent book, Fighting the Future War: An Anthology of Science Fiction War Stories, 1914-1945 (Routledge, 2011) some of the most fantastic stories from the realm of pulp science fiction are given a second look. Surprisingly these stories turn out to have far more to tell us about how many in American society during and between the World Wars. Krome’s book is a delightful collection of long-lost short stories from the age of the pulps, each presenting a unique view at future military technology and wars. While some border on the fantastic, others have proven to be far more prescient than one might think. The value of Krome’s collection is multi-dimensional: Fighting the Future War not only offers a view into how earlier generations processed the experiences of two wars, depression, and the rise of fascism; the book also provides interested readers with a wealth of counter-factuals, fantasies, and imaginary conflicts that each offers insights into the cultural milieu of the first half of the American Century. Researchers, teachers, and casual readers alike are certain to enjoy this impressive work, which itself promises to open up a new line of historical discourse for all who read it.

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