Groundbreaking, But Needs To Be Read Twice,
This review is from: New Model Army (Paperback)
The book posits the social and technology changes in Western societies undermining their top-down structures. It’s set around 2030 and has the New Model Army – a peer-to-peer connected Taliban-style volunteer army - comprehensively defeating the British Army in a war spread across the English Home Counties.
The book has multiple layers: the first is the fighting. The NMA’s weapons and technologies are plausible (pervasive connectivity, super-Twitter, super-wikis, drone and satellite feeds, layered AI-centric network defences). The descriptions of the battles and decision-making during them are convincing & the result is what you'd expect from the contest between (say) big Blue IBM and (say) Google when it was young: no contest. This layer’s thesis is that battling through (say) Basingstoke Town Centre & blowing large parts of it up is an enthralling experience for the 18-to-30 demographic (male and female, gay and straight).
The second layer is a debate about hierarchical social systems and the role of religion: the thesis is that process whereby order emerges spontaneously from economic activity will spread to the political sphere and kill off top-down structures. A big step, but the point is made plausibly.
The final layer (and I suspect this lost some readers) projects the networked armies with AI support becoming discrete self-directing entities.
So, very thought provoking and beautifully written. Just remember you have to read it twice.