The Multiplex Man

". . .announcement of a new national enforcement agency to be set up under the Bureau of Environmental Control. Modeled on Europes `Green Police, the organization will employ agents at federal and state levels to secure tighter compliance with regulations and planning requirements. The agents will have arbitrary powers of search and entry to conduct spot checks, and---get a load of this---will operate on a percentage basis of the fines imposed by a delinquency tribunal. In Stockholm last night, conservation secretary for the Western Consolidation, Gustav Moller of Germany, applauded the news, but called for stronger moves to pressure the Southern World and FER states into line. Well have more on that later. Meanwhile, a time check: its just coming up to seven-thirty on this chilly but clear Tuesday morning. . . ."

This book from James P. Hogan won the Prometheus award in 1993. The plot centers around a scientific experiment gone awry in a future where environmental concerns have turned the USA into a restrictive police state separated from the rest of the world by the 'green curtain'.

It is a quick read that does not leave you wanting for action or plot. Hogan is not much of a poet, so his descriptions are more to the point than poignant. He does have a good mind for science and where it might go next. In this case, we have a future where the USA is not the place to be if you are into being free. The government controls every detail of people's lives. Meanwhile the rest of the world is free and beginning to explore outer space. So it's more politics than science and it suffers for it. Though I suspect it doesn't suffer as much as Michael Crichton's State of Fear for its anti-enviromentalist rhetoric. They both suspect environmentalists are given to totalitarianism. Perhaps this is a natural leaning of those of the libertarian persuasion that loathe to give any ground to the idea that the government might be a better actor than the private sector.

Saying all that, if you can ignore the politics, it's a good read and even if you can't they are clumsy but not too over-wrought.

The Wiki entry for James reveals some more tidbits about his other peculiar contrarian positions.


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