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The Execution Channel Hardcover – 30 Jun 2007

3.4 out of 5 stars 23 customer reviews

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Hardcover, 30 Jun 2007
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 280 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Classics (30 Jun. 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0765313324
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765313324
  • Product Dimensions: 15.3 x 2.8 x 25.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 9,312,157 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

Review

" Ken MacLeod's novels are fast, funny and sophisticated. There can never be enough books like these."
--Kim Stanley Robinson

"Ken MacLeod's novels are fast, funny and sophisticated. There can never be enough books like these."
--Kim Stanley Robinson

Praise for Ken MacLeod:
“Science fiction’s freshest new writer…MacLeod is a fiercely intelligent, prodigously well-read author who manages to fill his books with big issues without weighing them down.”
--"Salon"
 
“Ken MacLeod's novels are fast, funny and sophisticated. There can never be enough books like these.”
--Kim Stanley Robinson

Praise for Ken MacLeod:
"Science fiction's freshest new writer...MacLeod is a fiercely intelligent, prodigously well-read author who manages to fill his books with big issues without weighing them down."
--"Salon"

"Ken MacLeod's novels are fast, funny and sophisticated. There can never be enough books like these."
--Kim Stanley Robinson --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Book Description

The war on terror is over. Terror won. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
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...

Well, first, I really enjoyed "The Execution Channel". It was gripping, fun to read, and kept me turning the pages (and up till midnight to finish it). Nothing wrong there. The story has three layers. (1) It's an expertly told thriller, full of spooks, tradecraft and technology. (2) It's a convincing - and disturbing - near future story, set in a world where terrorist outrages have provoked a slew of wars across the Middle East and Asia, with the UK/ USA drawn into ever more dubious tactics and tensions boiling over with France and Russia. This is all troublingly credible, and the most frightening part of the book. (3) Finally, there's a science fiction twist, hinted at, but only really taking off at the very end.

The story unfolds against this triple background, told through the eyes of a bunch of spooks, a sort of Lone Gunman blogger, a team of counter-bloggers employed to sow disinformation and - the main protagonists - James Travis and his daughter Roisin. James is a French agent in the UK; Roisin is a peace activist. Both are drawn credibly and their motivations and actions convince.

Over and above the human characters is the Execution Channel itself, an almost intelligent network selecting and transmitting video of murders and executions worldwide, seemingly to inflame the conflict. This is an ingenious idea, but I don't think it was central enough or explored well enough - certainly not to have the book named after it! Yes, it plays a key role in the plot - once - but unless I'm missing something, no more than that.
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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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Format: Hardcover
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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