Monday, July 23, 2007

Pg. 99: Ken MacLeod's "The Execution Channel"

Today's feature at the Page 99 Test: Ken MacLeod's The Execution Channel.

About the book, from the publisher:
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.
Among the praise for The Execution Channel:
"Ken MacLeod's invented an entirely new genre -- the Blogothriller, the infinitely weirder cousin of the technothriller. More improbable, hilarious, and engrossing than 70,000,000 conspiracy sites, a trillion trackbacks, a heptillion message-board posts. This book feels like the future, like our futuristic present. The book is called The Execution Channel. It scared the shit out of me."
--Cory Doctorow

"Quite apart from the superb characterisation, MacLeod's depiction of global realpolitik is convincing and disturbing. The twist finale ... is both surprising and ultimately affirming."
--Eric Brown, Guardian

"Given Ken MacLeod's past predilection for sharp, savvy and close-up examination of how the balky, unpredictable, irrational human beast interacts via the means of politics, as exemplified already in his more space-opera-istic novels, it comes as no surprise that in this near-future thriller he is able to conjure up with stunning plausibility and verisimilitude a catastrophic global situation that seems to flow inexorably out of our present-day mess."
--Paul Di Filippo

"The Execution Channel is pure SF. It not only draws on traditions of the disaster novel, the alternate-world scenario, and the cyberthriller, but early on begins dropping hints that something more radical may be at stake.... [B]ut MacLeod is careful to keep the brief bits of speculative science from interfering with the story's pacing (and perhaps from intimidating non-SF readers), just as he offers us only brief glimpses of the ways in which this world differs from our own. But of course it's the ways in which MacLeod's world doesn't differ from our own that makes The Execution Channel genuinely frightening."
--Gary K. Wolfe, Locus

"It's an ingenious fabulation, witty and sombre, and fucking terrifying. And aside from the sophisticated intrigue, which is more redolent of Le Carre than Tom Clancy, the dialogue is brilliantly observed, especially the apodictic, callous tone of a certain kind of blogger, and the sly machinations of activists meetings (which must have come from considerable experience). The whole thing is brilliantly paced...."
--Lenin's Tomb
Ken MacLeod is the author of many acclaimed SF novels, including The Stone Canal, The Cassini Division, Newton’s Wake, and Learning the World, which won the Prometheus Award (his third) and was a finalist for the Hugo Award.

Read more about The Execution Channel at the publisher's website, and visit MacLeod's blog.

The Page 99 Test: The Execution Channel.

--Marshal Zeringue