They say that science fiction is the Literature of the age. Scfi author Charles Stross, who has written some good ones, unfortunately churns out mere political propanganda with The Revolution Business, the new part five of his Merchant Princes series. As usual, there’s plenty of bad guys to go around, including, as always, a few bad girls. But this time, right up there at the top of the evil heap is, wait for it, former vice president Dick Cheney. And Haliburton, of course. Pathetic.
Then, it actually gets worse. We learn of another evil actor named Wolfowitz, and, lo and behold, with their choice of museums and other buildings to blow up, the bad guys, who don’t know Jews from penguins, choose D.C.’s Holocaust museum. I’m not saying Stross is anti-Semitic. Maybe he just wants to look that way. In a further cheap aside, he whacks the Nixon administration for allegedly being so callous as to plan to set off a nuke in an American city. In case we might have missed which American political party Stross dislikes.
I was enjoying the series. I went so far as to pay extra for the new one, in hardback. Let that be a lesson to me. Now that it’s become specifically politically partisan, it’s far less entertaining. I might have known: the blurb on the front cover was a tipoff. I thought it was coincidental, but not now. NYTimes pundit Paul Krugman, one of the prime authors of Bush Derangement Syndrome, is the blurber.
I can’t say the book, itself, is bad. It’s got more cliches than ever before, but that’s to be expected, I suppose, in a popular series. The editing seems to slip away as the money rolls in. See Harry Potter. If the chief bad guy had only been fictional, it would have hung together a lot better for me. As it is, I wouldn’t recommend the book or the series to anyone who doesn’t have BDS real bad. Not any more.