Thursday, April 29, 2010

Hidden Empire

Hidden Empire invokes the spirit of Michael Crichton. A novel disease, with a high mortality has appeared in Africa. The response includes mass genocide of villages - with the only survivor being a boy in a tree that happens to have a camera.

Though it has some of the main characters, there is very little to connect it to the first Empire book. The ending of the book also serves to severe many of those ties. The last bit seems artificially tacked on - serving to kill off all of the "gish" of special ops guys.

Perhaps Card will continue the series from the viewpoint of the "Philosopher King" president - who seems intent on providing world peace, even if there is some collateral damage.

The political views in the book come across as ultra-right wing liberal. Global warming is attacked as nonsense. However, the government has banned gasoline powered vehicle, and significantly enhanced the public transit infrastructure. (The rationale is preserving a scarce resource of gasoline, rather than waste it on things that have an easily viable alternative.) I tend to agree with this one - the focus on global warming is nice when it leads to fewer cars, more transit, and conservation of natural resources. It's not so useful when it leads to things like shooting carbon up to space.

Other than that, the political view is fairly fox-news friendly. The United States is seen as the only possible world cop - whether helping Africa, or preventing an asteroid from destroying earth. Nigerian government is corrupt. The military field guys are smart, while the office guys have something to be desired.

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