"2034: A Novel of the Next World War" is a new Book by former NATO Supreme Allied Commander Retired Admiral James Stavridis and veteran Elliot Ackerman. Stavridis told Wired magazine that the book had been written to help avoid war with the People's Republic of China. One of the reasons war between the U.S. and the Soviet Union had been averted "was that we could imagine how terrible it would be," he told the magazine.

Penguin Press brought out the book on March 9. A six-part excerpt can be found at Wired.com. An excerpt can also be read at militarytimes.com.

'Pay attention!'

The Washington Post credited the authors with producing a "crisply written and well-paced book." The newspaper noted that the fictional conflict involves the military forces of India, Iran, Russia, China, and the U.S. The novel begins with American destroyers sailing into the South China Sea and an American military aircraft flying into Iranian airspace. Still, cyber warfare plays an important role in the story, according to the paper.

The Washington Post said the book was "like an all-caps warning for a world shackled to the machines we carry in our pockets and place on our laps... In '2034,' it's as if Ackerman and Stavridis want to grab us... and scream: Pay attention!"

Global 'interconnectedness'

The Washington Post said the book's cast of characters offered a "subtle commentary about the interconnectedness of the world." According to the paper, one of the most important characters is a Chinese official of Chinese and American parentage who went to Harvard University.

The paper said another character was a deputy American national security adviser whose uncle was an admiral in India's military.

In an interview with Wired magazine, both Stavridis and Ackerman said they had drawn on their own military experiences when writing the book. They noted that Ackerman had been a company commander.

Ackerman also recalled working for the government in Washington, D.C.

The US and China 'sleepwalking' into war

Stavridis told the magazine that he had been preoccupied with "this sense you get of the U.S. and China sleepwalking potentially into a real war." He said the place where this was most likely to happen was the South China Sea because both countries' military forces were close to each other there. "It is the land of unintended consequences, the South China Sea," he told Wired.

'Overreliance' on technology

The Washington Post noted that one of the novel's main characters is Sarah Hunt, a U.S. Navy captain. The paper observed that this character was critical of her colleagues' "cult of technology," which had made them unable to realize "that an overreliance on these systems has crippled us." According to the paper, this character concludes that the correct way to beat the enemy's technology "isn't with more technology.

It is with no technology."