Science Fiction and Fantasy

This month marks the publication of V-S Day, the latest from Allen Steele, best-selling author of the Coyote series. It's a fascinating, compelling, alternate history WWII thriller, based in real-life facts. Read what the author has to say about the truth behind his what-if story.

V-S Day is novel over twenty-five years in the making. I first got the idea for it in the mid-80's, when I was writing my first published novel, Orbital Decay, while working as a reporter for a weekly paper in Worcester, Massachusetts. Worcester is Dr. Robert H. Goddard's hometown, and it was during this time that I learned about the research he'd done at Clark University and the rocket experiments he'd conducted at his aunt's farm in nearby Auburn. At the same time, I also learned about Dr. Eugen Sanger's proposed Silvervogel spacecraft, which might have changed the outcome of World War II if the Nazis had actually built it.

The two interests came together as a neat idea for what I originally thought would be the next novel I'd write after Orbital Decay. As things turned out, though, it became a short story instead, in two versions: "Operation Blue Horizon", which I wrote for the local Worcester Monthly magazine, and a little while later an expanded version, "Goddard's People", which was published in an anthology edited by Gregory Benford and Martin H. Greenberg and also Asimov's Science Fiction.

A few years later, the story was optioned for a movie by an independent producer-director. I worked on the project, writing several drafts of a screenplay which expanded the story even more. But the movie went unproduced and so the screenplay went into my file cabinet, where it stayed for the next twelve years until I stumbled upon it while searching for something else.

Out of curiosity, I re-read the script and came to the realization that it really should have been a novel all along. So, once again, I returned to the story of the secret race between America and Nazi Germany to put men in space during World War II, this time expanding the story even further. The result is the novel you're about to read.

Read an excerpt »