Friday, December 27, 2013

Burning Paradise

The last week or so I have been working my way through Burning Paradise by Robert Charles Wilson, an author previously unknown to me.  The premise of the book is the main draw here, as the actual story is more than a little depressing: The history of humanity has been shaped by an extra-terrestrial entity dwelling in the upper ranges of the atmosphere, which edits electronic signals to make humanity more peaceable.  Consequentially, there is no war after the Great War ends in a truce, technology stagnates, and the world slowly lurches its way along in a sort of quasi Edwardian/Progressive path of progress to 2015 where the story begins.  The characters are survivors of the correspondence society which figured out the existence of the ET, and was attacked by green goo filled human simulacrums driven by the ET in 2007, and now, it appears that the ET is sending the sims on attack again.

The book does have some interesting ideas on what it means to be hyper-aware but not conscious, and the book within the book, The Fisherman and the Spider, has some interesting thoughts on this, using the biological research of the in book author to draw some conclusions about the ET.

The world posited would also make for some interesting gaming scenarios, as you have 1914 map lines into the 1950s, and only low level conflict is allowed by the ET, so military development is highly retarded.  Consequently you could make great use of inter-war miniatures for battles in the Sudetenland, or the multi-decade Russian civil war etc. Empress miniatures has a great selection of figures for that sort of fighting, from both their own lines, and those they distribute.

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