• V-S Day

  • A Novel of Alternate History
  • By: Allen Steele
  • Narrated by: Ray Chase
  • Length: 10 hrs and 2 mins
  • 3.9 out of 5 stars (115 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Three-time Hugo Award-winning author Allen Steele now imagines an alternate history rooted in an actual historical possibility: what if the race to space had occurred in the early days of WWII?

It's 1941, and Wernher von Braun is ordered by his Fuehrer to abandon the V2 rocket and turn German resources in a daring new direction: construction of a manned orbital spacecraft capable of attacking the U.S. Work on the rocket - called Silbervogel - begins at Peenemunde. Though it is top secret, British intelligence discovers the plan, and brings word to Franklin Roosevelt. The American President determines that there is only one logical response: the U.S. must build a spacecraft capable of intercepting Silbervogel and destroying it. Robert Goddard, inventor of the liquid-fuel rocket, agrees to head the classified project.

So begins a race against time - between two secret military programs and two brilliant scientists whose high-stakes competition will spiral into a deadly game of political intrigue and unforeseen catastrophes played to the death in the brutal skies above America.

©2013 Allen M. Steele (P)2013 Audible Inc.

Critic Reviews

"With a gift for visionary fiction that 'would make Robert A. Heinlein proud'." (Entertainment Weekly)

What listeners say about V-S Day

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

The race to space

If you could sum up V-S Day in three words, what would they be?

To the moon!

What did you like best about this story?

I loved the character development and the manner in which the book is framed. The characters are retelling the story many years after the events. So as a listener you often get extra details from the main characters in a retrospective manner. This certainly helped with the character development. I loved how even the last words of the book focus on character development!

I also liked the narration by Ray Chase. I normally listen to 1.5 or 1.25x the narration speed, but on this book due to the narrator voice I listened at normal speed. So for once I got to enjoy a book with what is really the correct advertised length.

The interesting 'what if' this happened instead of nuclear development is certainly a question I enjoyed thinking about. But this question was not addressed in the book itself, it was just left for us the listeners.

Another reviewer had this to say; "The historical research is admirable and the story telling is smooth. What I missed was a focus on a personal story -- I think I would have found V-S day more engaging and meaningful if the story included a counterpoint that explored the effects of doing the work on one or more of the characters. For example, there is a brief subplot about the effect of secrecy on one researcher's relationship with his girlfriend. This could have been expanded through the story to look at different effects of war, excitement of discovery, and secrecy on this man's life. Without that sort of focus, V-S Day feels like an interesting History Channel documentary rather than an exciting story." And I have to agree with his comments. But that is not to say it wasn't enjoyable. In fact I loved it! It is just it could have been even better and longer!

What about Ray Chase’s performance did you like?

Ray Chase's voice is one of those voices which you either love or hate, and because I have resently finished one of his works and because I am currently listening to other titles narrated by Ray Chase, at times it is often hard to separate the characters. Certainly not a problem if you haven’t heard any of his work lately. Furthermore, his mannerisms in his voice cross over into the characters within the story itself. Often make it difficult to work out which character is actually talking at that moment. A book which depends upon first person story telling from different people would have been better with multiple narrators!!

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

Secrets of the space race

Any additional comments?

I would highly recommend this story to anyone, particularly to anyone who has an interest in sci fi and history

11 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Not overly over the top, beliveable Alt. History

What made the experience of listening to V-S Day the most enjoyable?

Chase's delivery. Not only was he a reader, he was also a performer, who used inflection and accents to differentiate the characters many times. A good reader makes an audio book that much more enjoyable.

What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

Resolution came up pretty quickly, when it might've been cool to milk it out for a few more pages.

Have you listened to any of Ray Chase’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

First time listening to Chase. But, since I really liked his delivery I'll probably check out some of his other ones. A great reader can make all the difference in the World. In fact, I've rejected buying some books simply because the audio sample sounded artificial and boring.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

The ending.

Any additional comments?

Audible started with a music bed, and then about halfway through there was another music bed, only to disappear again. Kind of odd because it really didn't add anything to the book. Wasn't a distraction, was just strange!

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

An interesting what if,

Would you try another book from Allen Steele and/or Ray Chase?

Probably, so many books, so little time...

What was one of the most memorable moments of V-S Day?

The launch of both spacecraft, and the intercept mission.

Would you listen to another book narrated by Ray Chase?

Not certain, his accent grated at times.

Do you think V-S Day needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

Not really, the story was self contained, with no loose ends.

Any additional comments?

A couple of errors annoyed me (Ex RCAF and a bit of a history buff), the P-51 Mustang being called the Warhawk, and Mosquito bombers being in widespread Squadron service in early 1942. Ok, it is an alternative history, but still...

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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This Review Needs A Title

V-S Day is a pretty good book. the plot is that the WWII Germans are developing a space weapon that will apply a kinetic weapon to New York City; the USA must respond. It's tauted as alternate history. It's really just fiction. There are many holes in the author's logic; primary one is the split second targeting that would be required to intercept another space ship in orbit. The impact of earlier manned space flight is really not explored. The hypothesis dragged me in, but the book did not deliver.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Excellent and Exciting story!

Great book. Very excited and interesting alternative history! The climax of the book was like an action movie!

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Fascinating alt history, lacks personal story

V-S day was a fascinating speculation on what might have happened if the US had invested in creating intercontinental attack rockets instead of the nuclear bomb. The historical research is admirable and the story telling is smooth. What I missed was a focus on a personal story -- I think I would have found V-S day more engaging and meaningful if the story included a counterpoint that explored the effects of doing the work on one or more of the characters. For example, there is a brief subplot about the effect of secrecy on one researcher's relationship with his girlfriend. This could have been expanded through the story to look at different effects of war, excitement of discovery, and secrecy on this man's life. Without that sort of focus, V-S Day feels like an interesting History Channel documentary rather than an exciting story.

I listened to the audio edition narrated by Ray Chase. I enjoy the richness and clarity of Mr. Chase's voice, but I find his delivery always left me expecting a disdainful remark at the end of every paragraph.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • b
  • 02-06-14

better writing then the normal

well written and the flat way it is read adds to the old feel of the story. much better writing then the normal for these stories.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Not much here.

V-S Day is defined as alternate history and I suppose it is in the sense that it is a novel about something that did not happen, but there is not much in the book to comment on. I expected some kind of alternate history thriller or a detailed hard science fiction book but what I found was largely an uninteresting book with little meat in it. Two dimensional characters with no one to really care about, a scientific enterprise with no science, a war-time race between the US and Nazi Germany to perfect a weapon with no suspense and alternate history with no description of what affect the changes really had.

I suppose the book is OK in the sense that it is not terrible but if this is alternate history and if the Manhattan Project was shut down to pay for building the space ship where is the description of the end of World War II? With no atomic bomb to end the war how did it end? Was Japan invaded? And, if so, how many people died? How was a single orbital craft with a couple of thousand pounds of bombs on one bombing run over New York supposed to allow Nazi Germany to win World War II? There was so much material that the author could have addressed to make reading the book worth the time, but he chose to not do so.

One interesting part of the book was the author lifting both Slick Goodlin and Chuck Yeager out of history and replacing them with the two pilot characters of the X1 rocket ship, down to the actual Slick Goodlin demanding a non-negotiable $100,000 to fly the actual X1 rocket plane and the eventual choosing of Chuck Yeager to do it instead.

The narration is pretty good and I have read worse books, but this book should have been much better.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

So much fun!

This filled me with so much nostalgia for “rocket summer” when I was a kid, in the 1970s. It also makes that Billy Brag song, The Space Race is Over, even more sad for me, if that is possible. All that lost hope…

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

interesting premise, okay delivery

The books premise is pretty neat. its delivery is a little shallow. the narrator was a little hard to listen to for some characters.