Winner of the John W. Campbell Memorial Award for Best Science Fiction Novel 2008.
Sam Dance is a young enlisted soldier in 1941 when his older brother Keenan is killed at Pearl Harbor. Afterwards, Sam promises that he will do anything he can to stop the war.
During his training, Sam begins to show that he has a knack for science and engineering, and he is plucked from the daily grunt work of twenty-mile marches by his superiors to study subjects like code breaking, electronics, and physics in particular, a science that is growing more important to the war effort. While studying, Sam is seduced by a mysterious female physicist that is teaching one of his courses, and given her plans for a device that will end the war, perhaps even end the human predilection for war forever. But the device does something less, and more, than that.
After his training, Sam is sent throughout Europe to solve both theoretical and practical problems for the Allies. He spends his free time playing jazz, and trying to construct the strange device. It's only much later that he discovers that it worked, but in a way that he could have never imagined.
Kathleen Ann Goonan (born 1952) is an American science fiction writer. Several of her books have been nominated for the Nebula Award. Her debut novel Queen City Jazz was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year, and her most recent novel In War Times was chosen by the American Library Association as Best Science Fiction Novel for their 2008 reading list. In July of 2008, In War Times won the John W. Campbell Memorial Award for Best Science Fiction Novel.