Paul McAuley takes the concept of United States domination and occupation to a whole new level in his latest and excellently titled Cowboy Angels. In 1963 the first Turing gate was opened; three years later a gate was made large enough to allow the first person to travel into another world: an alternate history to the one we know. Thus begun a series of events under different presidents that led to our United States playing a supposed importantly role in helping shaping these alternate histories to be more like ours; essentially for the betterment of their unique society. The goal is to establish a Pan-American alliance.
Fifteen years later, Jimmy Carter is elected president with the goal of scaling back and putting a stop to these controlling and dominating tactics, winding down the CIA’s covert missions and operations. These now former CIA agents were colloquially known as “Cowboy Angels.” There are those who disagree wholeheartedly with this and have their own plans to change the way things are going. One of these former Cowboy Angels, Adam Stone, is summoned back from his quiet, pleasant alternate world to track down a friend who has gone on a killing spree, killing the same woman in each of the worlds. As Stone gets close to his former friend, he begins to find out the secrets, secrets that affect the whole Turing Gate program. The question is what is he going to do about it?
Cowboy Angels is a great example of thrilling science fiction, combining an adventurous chase with travels throughout alternate worlds, as well as playing on the idea that there may in fact be a big conspiracy behind the whole program. Readers will have to make it to the end of the book to find out just what exactly is going on.
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Originally written on March 4, 2011 ©Alex C. Telander.