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Book Review: The Star Fraction

867 words - 4 pages

The first part of this review does not contain spoilers.

Ken MacLeod's The Star Fraction is a fantasic science fiction novel about love, loss, socialism, anarcho-capitalism, "American-style ‘black helicopter’ libertarianism", and the looming threat of a fascistic world order. The Star Fraction's setting is post World War III UK, where the republican government has been overthrown by the monarchy, and a new kingdom has been established. After many failed violent revolutions to over throw the monarch, the USA has taken over the UN to form a new world order, all in the name of peace, referred to as the US/UN. In "The Peace Process", the US/UN created mini states throughout Europe to allow ...view middle of the document...

It is clear MacLeod recognizes its validity, and yet he has this to say on the two issues of social organization:

“Unfortunately, there’s no reason why the Economic Calculation Argument and the Materialist Conception of History couldn’t both be true. What if capitalism is unstable, and socialism is impossible?”

This fear is the impetus of the whole story, and yet the views of socialism and a belief of the Calculation Problem are still completely contradictory. I will not spoil the solution to this problem, you will just have to read the book. But I will say that libertarians will not be disappointed.

The story centers around Moh Kohn, a socialist who works for a anarcho-capitalist style DRO organized into a co-op. The DRO is based in Norlonto, an anarcho-capitalist mini-state in the northern area of London where competing defense agencies give law services to its citizens. Moh, on a job outside of Norlonto, runs into Janis Taine. Janis, a researcher at a local university, buys Moh's protection when her research lands on the wrong side of the US/UN's regulations on scientific studies, which are enforced by the globally present secret police. Moh and Janis' escape into Norlonto from the US/UN territories, and set off a drastic chain of events that involves subversive revolutionaries against the crown, Neo-Nazis, Christian totalitarian mini states, and the US/UN's desperate attempt to hold off trans-humanism, and further, the singularity. Yes, this not merely a book about ideologies, it could...

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