Friday, March 5, 2010

The Secret Protocols of the Elders of Zion

Short Story by Lavie Tidhar

No, not those protocols, Mr. Tidhar is jewish not an anti-Semitic crazy person. But as Steve Eley points out, it is nice to steal search traffic from the crazies when you can.

The title is actually a joke, which I like. It is about a colonized asteroid named Zion and some methods of bio-engineering and communications networks that are kept secret from the rest of human civilization. Told through the view of a child who doesn't understand the technology, so it's almost indistinguishable from magic. So there is some interesting science here, but it isn't really dealt with beyond the surface level. And then towards the end of the story they throw out the science explanation (which was fun and unique) and make it magic with cosmological implications. This was a big disappointment for me, there was no need to take the science and make it new age religion (for real, rather than hypothetical philosophy).

The story was about a commune asteroid and their resistance to control from any of the bigger nations who wanted their technology. It was a good story and I would have been perfectly happy with the plot without the weirdly religious ending that came out of nowhere. It strikes me as the same as reading about a group of fundamentalist Christians fighting some big battle to survive, and then actually getting raptured up into heaven at the end. The other major problem I have is that the villainous Americans and Chinese have less depth and complexity than the evil Colonel from Avatar. I've listened to worse stories, and this one started off so well (and had a really neat setting), but it was a disappointment. 2 out of 5, man.

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