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The Execution Channel: Novel [Kindle Edition]

Ken MacLeod
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Fighting has spread across the Middle East and Central Asia to the borders of China. In the US, refugees from climate-change disaster subsist in FEMA camps. Images of official executions circulate on the Internet like al Qaeda videos. State agencies sponsor conspiracy theories as cover-ups. As the troops of the last superpower stand astride the last of the oil, China and Russia aren't the only states considering their options: certain nations of Old Europe are quietly preparing for the worst.

James Travis is a middle-aged middle manager in a software company. He has a son in the army, a daughter in a peace-protest camp outside a USAF base, and a compromising relationship with a foreign intelligence service. When his cover is blown hours before a nuclear explosion destroys the base, Travis, his son, and his daughter are all in serious trouble. And as the spooks and disinformation specialists focus their efforts on his capture, Travis knows that all it will take is one mistake and his only memorial will be another grainy video on . . . The Execution Channel

Product Description


Ken MacLeod's The Execution Channel starts like a techno-thriller "ripped from tomorrow's headlines", a thrilling, fast-moving tale of suspense rife with paranoia and multiple conspiracy theories. However, it's deeper and more thoughtful than most thrillers. MacLeod vividly and economically portrays an all-too-plausible world in which war has spread across the Middle East and Central Asia; millions of Americans live in FEMA concentration camps due to climate change; the British Government is considering deporting all Muslims, and what's really happening is hidden in a blizzard of disinformation and propaganda. This is politically engaged, speculative fiction at its finest, with a conclusion that's absolutely mind-blowing. (THE TIMES)

Politically engaged, speculative fiction at its finest, with a conclusion that's absolutely mind-blowing (The Times)

Jaw-droppingly audacious (SFX)

A very good book, perhaps the best Ken MacLeod has written to date . . . The Execution Channel is an extraordinary novel (STRANGE HORIZONS)

Book Description

Ken MacLeod's most relevant and accessible novel to date.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 427 KB
  • Print Length: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Orbit (7 Jun. 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B008258ST0
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #176,241 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Since graduating from Glasgow University in 1976, Ken MacLeod has worked as a computer analyst in Edinburgh. He now writes full-time.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The start of another epic? 4 May 2007
By Diziet
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
First off, I really enjoyed this book. I read The Star Fraction a long time ago and got hooked on Ken Macleod, reading everything that he wrote subsequently for quite a while, but then slowly lost interest. The Star Fraction has a wonderful plot, insanely complicated politics which somehow seemed realistic, was not set too far into the future and was full of possibilities. But slowly the books that followed lost that fizz. But with The Execution Channel all that energy is back. And I'm sure more will follow.

I found it pretty difficult to get into at first; the writing seemed slightly stilted, the plot dark and rather unappealing. But it quickly picks up pace and starts to get more intricate, more engrossing and the possibilities start opening out. I can't help but compare it to The Star Fraction - in that, the main character is haunted by the legacy of his father. In The Execution Channel, there are similarities. Although the father character is there and (this time) alive and well, he still, in a sense, dominates the book, through the actions of his two adult children.

At times, it seems less a sci-fi novel and more a spy thriller, but the references to James Blish which, at first , seem totally out of place, slowly take on more relevance and importance. I won't say more as I don't want to give away the plot. Plot, ah yes, well there is one in there somewhere. But it's funny the way that several characters seem to feel responsible for what actually happens; it's funny because you get the feeling that ultimately none of them made the slightest difference. Still, somehow it's a gripping read.

One thing though - I wish it had been proof-read better.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Won an award, it did... 6 Sept. 2008
By Christopher Halo VINE VOICE
The Execution Channel is set in an alternate near future ... one where terrorism and the war against it can often mean the same thing. In the fight against terror, certain civil liberties have been lost, and states sponsor conspiracy theories ... with devastating results.

It wasn't until I was a little way through the book that I actually realised it was an alternate future. It was interesting to see that with a small change things could be completely different, but often, with a big change things stayed the same. Take Al Gore as President of the USA for example -- in The Execution Channel it was his attacking of Arab soil that led to 9/11 ... except it wasn't the Twin Towers ... and people were wishing that George Bush had become President, after all he'd had known from his father's mistakes not to attack the East, and it's inconceivable that 9/11 would have happened just out of the blue...

While those are slightly morbid musings, it was a good comment on the inevitability of certain things, but also a warning that instead of just hoping things will be different, we should try to make them different. Of course, it was also a political comment ... and there are lots of warnings in The Execution Channel, e.g. over the loss of certain human rights, and how paranoia can set special relationships into hostile beginnings of another world war.

The Execution Channel wasn't a dry rant on politics and social climates, though, even if MacLeod's anger at the injustice at what's going on presently and what will happen is clearly palpable. Far from it.

Travis, a British citizen, angry at the special relationship with the US, works under cover for the French secret service.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A return to top form. 2 Jun. 2008
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is MacLeod's best book since "The Cassini Division". Everything he writes is worth reading, but with the exception of "Newton's Wake" his last few books have seemed a bit staid and lacking in the real passion of his earlier work.

No-one could accuse "The Execution Channel" of being a passionless work, it's filled with righteous anger at the amoral cynicism of the War Against Terror, and the corrosive effect this has on the morality of everyday life.

There is a splendidly complex conspiratorial plot and plenty of action to speed along the storyline, and the novel finishes with a terrifically uncompromising Hard SF finale, which has enough optimism and faith in the future of humanity to wipe out the sour taste of government corruption and brutality.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 5* book with 3* ending 22 Sept. 2008
Really enjoyed this book up until final chapter.

The credibiltiy rating of the plot bubbled along throughout the book at a high level until the end. Then it went off the scale, in a -ve direction.

The ending was too "Outside Context".

Up until that point I really enjoyed this book and will definitely stick with the author.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A so so sf thriller 11 April 2008
By Sarah A. Brown VINE VOICE
I didn't think The Execution Channel ever quite delivered either as an sf novel or as a thriller. (Robert Harris's Fatherland is a good example of a book which does.) MacLeod doesn't exploit the intriguing possibilities of his near future (and alternate) world to the full - Kim Stanley Robinson and Stephen Baxter are just two examples of authors who, by contrast, create absorbing and convincing worlds which are subtly unlike our own. I wouldn't have minded this so much if the novel had functioned satisfactorily as a thriller. But the narrative wasn't well paced, the plot was tortuous - I kept on forgetting who people were partly because I wasn't sucked in enough to read it very quickly - and the ending was frankly silly.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Excellent read, but a bit of a paradox overall
I've found it hard to sum up this book, and I'm slightly bothered that I can't rate it higher than 3 stars. Perhaps explaining the problem might be a way into a review... Read more
Published on 24 Oct. 2010 by D. Harris
5.0 out of 5 stars nasty, grimy, grim: thoroughly enjoyable
Set in a near-future near-totalitarian dystopia, this spy caper is nasty, grimy, grim, almost plausible, and most enjoyable. Read more
Published on 3 July 2010 by D. R. Cantrell
4.0 out of 5 stars More techno thriller than scifi
I enjoy Ken Macleod novel both the cyberpunk The Star Fraction: A Fall Revolution Novel (Fall Revolutions Series) and the later more space opera orientated work. Read more
Published on 10 Jan. 2010 by Mr. James P. Bailey
3.0 out of 5 stars OK but not vintage Macleod
The novel starts off in cracking form as Ken Macleod builds up a credible complex dystopian world of the near future; extrapolating and extending the issues of today, terrorism... Read more
Published on 21 Nov. 2009 by Feldyguy
2.0 out of 5 stars Hyped
The Execution Channel never really delivers on its promises. The plot is convoluted, the characters not particularly likeable and the narrative style makes it hard work to read. Read more
Published on 19 April 2009 by SonicQuack
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting?
Overall the atmosphere created in this book was fantastic; However I agree there were one or two places where the story goes wrong. Read more
Published on 14 Oct. 2008 by Mr. Colin F. Bell
2.0 out of 5 stars Great start, TERRIBLE ending
Let me start by saying I really enjoy Ken Macleod's writing. For the first 7/8ths of this book, I thought it would be up with his best. Read more
Published on 22 Sept. 2008 by P. G. Harris
4.0 out of 5 stars Very, very good, but for the ending...
The Execution Channel is set in an alternate near future ... one where terrorism and the war against it can often mean the same thing. Read more
Published on 6 Sept. 2008 by Christopher Halo
2.0 out of 5 stars Surprisingly unentertaining
Just finished The Execution Channel by Ken Macleod - bought with the hope of some apocalyptic goodness. Read more
Published on 5 April 2008 by A. M. Colwell
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