The Execution Channel Hardcover – 30 Jun 2007
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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) --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
Ken MacLeod's most relevant and accessible novel to date. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
After his brilliant first book, he has been going down hill (slowly, but still down hill). This book has put him back on the top.
He does use a few too many TLAs (Tree Letter Acronyms) for my taste (hence the odd title - you'll come across MRE on the first page), but he does know his stuff (and for someone who hasn't been in the forces, his military characters aren't bad).
I felt the ending was a bit soft, but then that does seem to be his weakness.
All in all a VERY good read.
One point though, I notice that Amazon are suggesting that you buy this book and a Alastair Reynolds book. I can't think why, as I've found Reynolds work to be dreadfully disappointing.
Oh, and one last thing: don't ever try doing a handbrake turn in a Landrover. All you'll do is break half-shafts (the handbrake is really a transmission brake), you'll understand why I mention this when you read the book.
And I do recommend that you read this book.
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.
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.
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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Enjoyable, different sci-fi; a little disappointed towards the endPublished 12 months ago by osmonde
I kept going through this because the geopolitical situation that gets set up is interesting and plausibly constructed and I wanted to see how things would play out. Read morePublished 13 months ago by Amazon Customer
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 morePublished on 24 Oct. 2010 by D. Harris
Set in a near-future near-totalitarian dystopia, this spy caper is nasty, grimy, grim, almost plausible, and most enjoyable. Read morePublished on 3 July 2010 by D. R. Cantrell
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 morePublished on 10 Jan. 2010 by Mr. James P. Bailey
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 morePublished on 21 Nov. 2009 by Feldyguy
Starts as an iron-grip political sci fi, that is MacLeods signature genre, but is totally shattered in the last 40 pages of the book, with story elements that are loose ends and an... Read morePublished on 20 April 2009 by Peter Bjørn Perlsø
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 morePublished on 19 April 2009 by SonicQuack
Overall the atmosphere created in this book was fantastic; However I agree there were one or two places where the story goes wrong. Read morePublished on 14 Oct. 2008 by Mr. Colin F. Bell