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August Books 23) The Execution Channel

23) The Execution Channel, by Ken MacLeod

A departure from MacLeod's previous space-opera stamping grounds, this is a thriller set in the present or near future of a slightly alternate earth - Gore was elected in 2000, 9/11 hit Boston, and the War on Terror resulted in military operations in Iran and Central Asia as well as Afghanistan and Iraq. Secret technologies, disinformation through blogging, and confused but lethal rivalry between intelligence services all play a part, but the emotional dynamic that drives the narrative is the father-daughter relationship between the two key characters, perhaps the most successful characterisation in any of MacLeod's novels. There is a very memorable climactic scene set in the main square in Oslo as well. Really good stuff.

Bechdel test: scrapes a pass. The daughter has numerous conversations with other women, of which almost but not quite all are about men.

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