Friday, November 09, 2012

Radio Free Albemuth

You can save the world with a rock song. Or at least you can try. Radio Free Albemuth is a trippy voyage exploring an "extra-terrestrial deity". Aliens have sent a satellite to orbit the earth in order to help save the world from itself. This satellite sends special messages to people to help them to do its will. These feelings sometimes help get them out of quandaries, while at other times leading them on to do things that they would not have considered.

The world is lead by an ultra-Conservative who has managed to have everyone in his path to leadership eliminated. He helps enforce a fascist like state, often using strong anti-communist rhetoric. In the name of national security, any detractors are punished. However, this is all a cover, and he is secretly aligned with the communist. Thus, his target is often the secret organization of anti-Americans. The organization doesn't really exist, but is simply named for the few people that know that he was really aligned with the communists.

The protagonist is an artist who is guided to perform actions from the satellite. He is also friends with an author (the eponymous Phil.)

He tries to use a band to make an album with subliminal messages to tell the world the truth about the president. Alas the satellite is shot down, and they are left on their own, and are caught before the record is released. However, another band records the same song, so there is some hope for the earth before another satellite is sent.

The book seems to comment on the extremes of political power. It doesn't matter what the ideology of the person in power is. If they are attached to power at the expense of people, the world will suffer. Most people would probably just go on living their lives without getting in the way. However, the creative people who truly advance society would be stymied, negatively impacting humanity.

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