Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Something's going very wrong

Do you think that countries like the USA are slowly sliding to fascism? Then you will probably like Farthing. Do you think not? Then you won't. The book is set in a 1949 where Britain went the Halifax route and backed out of the war. Britain gets Finlandized and the anti-Semitic tendencies of the upper classes gain strength. Out on a country estate, one of the leaders of the appeasement gets whacked and of course they blame the (innocent) Jew. As you can imagine there are all sorts of nasty politics afoot.

From a technical standpoint, the book is good. Sadly I don't think the book adds up to all that much unless you think that you are reading an allegory for our times. In case you miss this, the author's introductory statement and the cover's Ursula LeGuin quote hammer it into your head. So again, do you think the US is headed towards fascism? I don't. Do you think the clowns we have now can get anything right? Do you really think these geniuses can manage the overthrow of the entire political system? I think they can damage the republic to the point that we slide into a third world minor authoritarian morass. And there is some danger of that. But fascism? No way.

I saw some people complaining that too many people in the book are gay. Whatever. I've read enough Iris Murdoch/AS Byatt/Pat Barker to be convinced that the entire British upper class is, in fact, gay. They just breed to maintain the family name.

I'm probably the wrong audience for the book though. I think alternative history is mostly bunk, although I keep going back to it, like a dumbass.

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