Friday, August 11, 2006

If you want tech-political-science fiction, your best bet is the writings of Neal Stephenson. Of course, this is not to discount many other fine writers, science fiction tends to coalesce around political themes often enough, but Neal blends an awareness of historical perspective with a keen sense of what may come, or might come.

Reason has a good review of his Baroque Trilogy, coupled with an interview

Stephenson has a substantial libertarian following as well, and not merely because the decentralized, post-statist social systems he describes in Snow Crash and The Diamond Age (1995) are so radically different from modern government. The Baroque Cycle is, among other things, a close look at the rise of science, the market, and the nation-state, themes close to any classical liberal’s heart. Reading it means reading three long, encyclopedic books and maybe spending half a year in an earlier century. It’s not the kind of thing the average reader takes on lightly. But once you find you have a taste for Stephenson’s broad range of obsessive interests, his fine ear for period and modern English prose and speech, and his gift for making the improbably comic seem eminently human, the question no longer is whether you’ll read his books—it’s when.

Also available today is a sort-of review of Snow Crash. advocating a 'forced disarmament' of Muslims to solve terrorism.

In Lebanon, Hezbollah uses a combination of military might, ruthlessness, ethnic solidarity, and religious fanaticism to form an entity more powerful than the state of Lebanon, and arguably more powerful than the state of Israel. What we are seeing unfold in the Middle East may be a step toward the sort of post-national environment envisioned by Neal Stephenson.

I believe that what we need going forward is a policy of disarming Muslims. I believe that we must keep devout Muslims away from weapons, and keep weapons away from devout Muslims. I can work with Muslims, send my children to school with Muslims, and be friends with Muslims. I do not have an issue with their religion, as long as they do not have weapons. However, the combination of weapons and Islam poses unacceptable danger to the rest of us.

And so it goes.

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Time traveler, world traveler, book reader