: New: Book Report: The Peripheral

Ages ago, probably back when I was a teenager, my dad told me some reasons why "time machine" stories in sci-fi movies/books/etc. don't work so well—that time machine also has to be a teleporter/momentum-rearranger since the earth's whirling around in the universe so quickly. He pointed out a variation on time travel stories that side-steps these problems (but still has other problems): what if the future could send information back to the past?

William Gibson wrote a novel based on the idea. (I don't think he stole the idea from my dad; this is a "great minds think alike" kind of thing.) In The Peripheral, near-future and far-future can communicate over the net. But his story isn't anything like what I thought of decades ago. Nowadays, communication is better, our networks are better, and we use them for more. Thus, the book's protagonists can videochat, pilot drones, use remote telepresence—uhm, yeah, lots of stuff.

The book's funny-sad. Much of its conflict is resolved by corrupting the state. In the near future, politicians and large parts of the US Government are pretty corrupt. It's funny to see how Homeland Security switches actions/sides depending on who's bought it off most recently; it's funny because that world doesn't seem that far away from our own.

Tags: book brutal truth politics

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