Saw "C.S.A.: The Confederate States of America" on DVD. It's an alternate history fake documentary which has the South winning the American civil war.
It's a nice idea, and has some excellent bits to it. The fake commercials are the best part, some elegantly pointing out the racial connotations of contemporary culture, like the C.O.P.S. spoof where they track down escaped slaves. Some of the fake movie clips are good too.
As an alternate history, it's a bit too dystopian to be really convincing. It's not clear how the CSA can be both isolationist and imperialist at the same time, nor why Britain would have sided with the South (cheaper cotton from a rival producer would have been directly against British interests), nor why the confederacy pushed for a total victory over the whole union, rather than settling for independence of their own states. Also the forcible expansion of slavery to Chinese, Jews and mixed race freemen seemed a bit unlikely.
Overall though, fairly interesting and worth a look.
What I'm Reading
Finished hard-SF novel Line of Polity by Neal Asher.
Mixed feelings about it. There don't seem to be any really original new ideas here: very similar nanotech/biotech/downloaded brains future that's familiar from Peter F. Hamilton, Alastair Reynolds, Charles Stross, Linda Nagata, Justina Robson et al, without much of a twist Also I think he overdoes the fast-cutting-between-several-plotlines technique. That works well for big action scenes, but he does it for the whole book including fairly tedious build-up. It gets a bit irritating when you read five pages of pointless exposition from one group of characters, then just switch to another group for more of the same.
The evil religious tyranny also seemed a bit crap. They maintain power by three means: a religion designed to keep the populace subservient, by controlling the power of pills that allow the planet's inhabitants to breathe via symbiont, and a system of orbiting laser satellites allowing them to zap any opposition. Given that many tyrannies have managed to be quite successful without any of these advantages, it seems a bit strange that there's a large opposition living in underground caves who have managed to muster a majority vote against the junta. There's some Dawkinsian spiel about the evil of religion for keeping a population subservient, but if so it seems to have been done remarkably badly by this bunch of muppets.
On the plus side, there's a lot of action, and it has a very big, well set-up finale. Don't think I'll be rushing out to buy all his books, but I might well get others from library if I want something not too heavy.
Article. Redirected aggression.
Criminologist blog on Operation Relentless.
Howard Waldrop on typewriter blogging.
|< BREAKING NEWS | BBC White season: 'Rivers of Blood' >|