20 August 2007

Empire - Orson Scott Card

Date: August 19, 2007
Recommendation: For those times when you get stuck in an airport

As audio books have largely remained imprissoned by the realm of the cassette, automobile makers have decidely dropped the cassette deck from their newer models. There has been, to say the least "a failure to communicate." Can't the auto makers tell the audio book people to start making more books on CD; conversely, if the denizens of the audio book world could convince car manufacturer to bring back the cassette deck, the world would make much more sense.

All this to say, on my 7 hour drive through the back woods of Qu├ębec, I listened to Empire by Orson Scott Card. I chose this book for 1 reason - it was pretty much the only audio book on CD available at the Ottawa public library that was between 10 and 14 hours long.

Card, if you remember, is the author of the acclaimed sci-fi book "Ender's Game". Empire, albeit not in the realm of science fiction, is set in a very near-futuristic America. The plot is quite simple, and perfect for a car ride through picturesque southern Quebec: The US President, Vice President, and Secretary of Defence are all mudered in a rocket attack on the White House. The Progessive Authority - a left wing group headed by a secretive authority - then attacks New York City with robotic technology. The group then claims moral authority to govern the USA, which many states accept. The USA is in the midst of a civil war, and only 2 men, the novels military protagonists, have the information to put a halt to it.

The basic premise is ludicrous, although the details are each plausible. I won't try and convince you to read the book, as there are many other books in the genre well worthy of consideration - such as John Grishman or Tom Clancy. Not exactly provocative literature, but when driving in radio deprived areas, they make the ride go a little smoother (and also make you forget about the hangover you have).

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