Nicholas (nwhyte) wrote,
Nicholas
nwhyte

March Books 10) Glorifying Terrorism

10) Glorifying Terrorism, ed. Farah Mendlesohn

This is a collection of short stories, mostly sfnal, some by people on my friends list, pulled together in protest at the recent UK legislation banning literature or speech which glorifies terrorism.

An British friend of mine reacted with condescension when this book came up in conversation recently: the view was expressed that it was basically a publicity stunt, with the people behind it seeking a kind of martyrdom for free speech by being prosecuted under the legislation. I think my friend came close to completely missing the point. The fact that such a case is unlikely to be prosecuted says much more about the silliness of the legislation than about any silliness of intent of the editor and authors. The mere existence of the book on the shelves of the bookshop is itself subversive of a bad law, and helps to raise public awareness, and perhaps to make people question their government's actions more thoroughly. Not that I have struck very hard against the UK legislation myself, in that I bought the book in Dublin and read it in Belgium (and am writing this en route to Austria).

Oh yeah, none of the stories is bad either. Many of them go for standard sfnal riffs of humans occupying alien planets (or vice versa) and the underdog biting back; the most memorable of these for me was "Execution Day", by Marie Brennan. Some take a different tack; I particularly liked Ken MacLeod's piece, "MS Found on a Hard Drive", which assembles various of his musings on the subjects of terrorism and contemporary (or near-future, or recent past) Scottish and Irish politics. (Some of us were fortunate enough to hear Ken reading the first half of it in Dublin at P-Con.) Charles Stross has a neat epilogue as well, suggesting that the Labour Party will come to its senses, but not until long after it is too late. A collection worth looking out for on its own literary merits, quite apart from the political point being made.
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Tags: bookblog 2007, writer: charles stross, writer: farah mendlesohn, writer: ken macleod
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