Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The Execution Channel, by Ken Macleod

The Execution Channel, by Ken Macleod

In a world right around the corner from ours, our leaders have seemingly stopped the pretense of serving for the greater good and use lies and torture as a matter of course. The Internet is even more prevalent than today, with many WikiLeaks-style sites, some real and some designed for misinformation. There is a cable station on every network broadcasting executions 24 hours a day, both legitimizing and making normal death as an accepted form of governing. When Scotland experiences a nuclear bombing, who can you trust?

Part Nineteen Eighty-Four and part V for Vendetta, MacLeod tells of a dark future, but not an impossible one. While clearly anti-conservative, the author neatly sidesteps being pigeonholed as a leftist by having Gore win the 2000 election and launch a pre-emptive strike on Afghanistan (partly due to bad intelligence, but possibly also as a way of driving up oil prices to stave off global warming) causing Bin Laden to become a martyr and 9/11 becomes a response to Gore’s warfare rather than coming out of the clear blue sky. Regardless of the instigating actions, people cede more and more authority to government resulting in the beginnings of a police state—clearly an allegory for what is happening in our world today. This is an angry book warning of the dangers of our current course, but also tells an entertaining story along the way.

First Sentence:
The day it happened Travis drove north.

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