The variety of the alternate history genre is quite intriguing to me. Some others posit a magical alternative to our mundane past (in The Narrows, for example, 1940s Detroit is busy churning out golems for the war effort), while others simply take a single strand of history and twist it (in Rivers of War, the timeline of history is altered by changing the outcome of not one battle, but a single injury within it). For a long time, I wasn't that much of a fan of the genre, any more than I really cared for the old Marvel "What If" line of comics, which always seemed to validate the "real" outcome of the comics. But as fans of the "what if" branch of imaginative history know, the authors who explore what might have been can be both audacious and inventive.
In 1980, Kirk Douglas starred in a film called The Final Countdown, in which a contemporary-era aircraft carrier was somehow caught in a time vortex and sent back to just prior to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. The film raised the issue of whether to intervene in history or not. Ultimately, the ship is catapulted back to its own time before they had to answer the question of what might happen if they attempted to stop the bombing (i.e., whether all of history would unravel, or whether the timeline, once "fixed," would resist such tampering, or any number of other possibilities). The problem with the film was that while it was a fairly thoughtful exploration of time travel "theory," it was dreadfully dull. I mean, the real fun isn't in whether intervention might cause something to happen, but rather in just doing it and finding out.
Which is where Designated Targets comes in. The sequel to Weapons of Choice, and the second book in author John Birmingham's "Axis of Time" series, it is an alternate history with a future twist. In the midst of a world war, both the Allies and the Axis are challenged by "the Transition," the sudden appearance of a 21st century naval task force dedicated to fighting "the global war on terror." The future warriors know - or think they know - how the past turned out. And yet their very presence, and the incorporation of the technology they bring into a world just learning to think in Technicolor, could alter the balance of power - and the outcome of history.