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The Execution Channel (2007)

av Ken MacLeod

MedlemmarRecensionerPopularitetGenomsnittligt betygOmnämnanden
5322432,886 (3.53)40
It's after 9/11. After the bombing. After the Iraq war. After 7/7. After the Iran war. After the nukes. After the flu. After the Straits. After Rosyth. In a world just down the road from our own, on-line bloggers vie with old-line political operatives and new-style police to determine just where reality lies. James Travis is a British patriot and a French spy. On the day the Big One hits, Travis and his daughter must strive to make sense of the nuclear bombing of Scotland and the political repercussions of a series of terrorist attacks. With the information war in full swing, the only truth they have is what they're able to see with their own eyes. They know that everything else is--or may be--a lie.… (mer)
Senast inlagd avNigel.Minton, davidkolb, privat bibliotek, bookbrig
  1. 10
    The Dervish House av Ian McDonald (pgmcc)
    pgmcc: Near-future with believable levels of technological development. Good characterisation. Focus on the story and characters rather than the science.
  2. 00
    Cities in Flight av James Blish (aulsmith)
    aulsmith: It's really hard to understand some of what goes on in Execution Channel without reading the Blish first
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A departure for Ken Macleod, this novel is set in our world, and our time (or a close facsimile thereof). But Macleod's trademark politics is still present, though the reader will not need a thorough and detailed grounding in the factions and fractions of the British Left; just an understanding that it formed the basis for Monty Python's 'Judean People's Front' joke in 'Monty Python and the Holy Grail'. This is all ye need to know.

The novel is set in the world of espionage, black ops, disinformation, conspiracies and anti-war campaigners. It opens with a nuclear strike on an RAF base in Scotland - or is it? The characters are those people affected by the political fallout from the explosion; a peace campaigner who has evidence of what happened (if only it made any sense), her father, who has his own secrets to hide, a keyboard conspiracy warrior and intelligence agents from a number of different agencies. Macleod does not particularly take sides; there are no outright 'goodies' and few wholly irredeemable 'baddies', but everyone has their own motivations informing their actions. Where those actions might lead is the worrying part. What was the device seen at RAF Leuchars? Where did it come from? Why is the CIA willing to exercise extreme sanctions to get to the bottom of some of the stories circulating around the Internet? And who knows the truth? Not the CIA, that's for sure. Nor MI5. Nor the French - well, not the whole truth...

The novel was written in 2007, and set a few years ahead, though not in our world; recent history turned out very slightly different because of a political butterfly effect impacting the 2000 US Presidential election. And though the book reads more like a spy thriller (apart from the moral ambiguity of most of the characters), there are science fictional underpinnings to all this, though perhaps not as many as Macleod thought there might be when he wrote it. The Execution Channel of the title is one such; a satellite tv channel showing a procession of execution videos, gleaned from uploaded jihadi videos, CCTV footage, investigative journalists and bragging rights photos from all sides and none. It plays a minor part in the novel - an important but off-stage character's death is reported on it - but in general its main function is to characterise the society of the book; a world where everything can be seen, but nothing can be certain.

Much of the book is set in places I know - Edinburgh, Newcastle upon Tyne, Birmingham and Berwick upon Tweed amongst others - so it had the ring of authenticity for me. This is in no way any sort of comfort read - its subject matter and the people it depicts are very much in the realm of the exercise of violence for political ends - but I found it thrilling, all the more so because I knew the landscape (both geographical and political). The denouement, though, lifts the book out of the pure thriller category; and for those who can interpret the authentically hyperbolic language in the penultimate chapter, there is a delicious little twist that has no bearing whatsoever on the story but is nonetheless an unexpected delight! ( )
1 rösta RobertDay | Oct 30, 2020 |
Stross recommended this on his blog ( )
  Baku-X | Jan 10, 2017 |
Start with an interesting premise, then add terrible, disjointed writing and you end up with a very disappointing book, one which I could not finish.Create too many characters without giving any depth to them, casually mention huge events without explaining their relevance, and jump back and forth in time and you leave this reader with no interest in continuing past page 90 or so. By the way, other than periodic one line mentions of an execution somewhere, there is no tie into the main story, whatever it is. ( )
  brucemmoyer | Jan 9, 2017 |
Entertaining alt-history political thriller. The ending was a bit out of left field, but not cripplingly so for my enjoyment of the novel; it's possible the ending was setting up more science-fictiony sequel. (I'd read it.) ( )
  ronhenry | Nov 17, 2015 |
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It's after 9/11. After the bombing. After the Iraq war. After 7/7. After the Iran war. After the nukes. After the flu. After the Straits. After Rosyth. In a world just down the road from our own, on-line bloggers vie with old-line political operatives and new-style police to determine just where reality lies. James Travis is a British patriot and a French spy. On the day the Big One hits, Travis and his daughter must strive to make sense of the nuclear bombing of Scotland and the political repercussions of a series of terrorist attacks. With the information war in full swing, the only truth they have is what they're able to see with their own eyes. They know that everything else is--or may be--a lie.

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