Ha'penny is the sequel to Jo Walton's chilling, heartbreaking novel Farthing
, an alternate history about a quisling Britain that makes peace with Hitler and helps create a stable, thousand-year Reich on the Continent. The story, a murder mystery in a Britain on the edge of fascism, made several none-to-subtle (and very apt) comparisons to Tony Blair's Britain, where Habeas Corpus and due process have been replaced by universal surveillance and a National ID Database.
Ha'penny is a thriller, not a murder-mystery, but it is otherwise the twin of Farthing. It continues the story of New Scotland Yard Inspector Carmichael, a compromised, closeted homosexual who is the pained lackey of the fascist plan to sell Britain out to the Reich. In Ha'penny, Carmichael is called on to investigate a plot to assassinate Hitler and the Prime Minister, a plot that's mixed up with the IRA, radical Lords, and a family of divided aristocratic girls, one of whom is a Communist, one of whom is married to Himmler, and one of whom is Viola Lark, a star of stage who has just been cast as Hamlet in a cross-cast production on the Strand.
Viola narrates half the book and through her eyes, we see a Britain that is credibly and horribly transformed, a Britain where fear of terrorists has driven sensible people to believe evil things, such as the need for the ubiquitous identity cards that play a key role in the oppression that is at the heart of this book.
Walton is doing amazing work here, writing a kind of latter-day 1984, a savage blast against the authoritarian opportunists who have cynically manipulated terrorist tragedies to suppress political speech and whip up fear to a high froth of CCTVs and identity papers. She is part of the artistic response to the Blair Years, and Ha'penny is a literary Guernica, a scathing indictment of New Labour and the chickenhawk War on Abstract Nouns that is its hallmark.
It doesn't hurt that this is a top-notch thriller, a page-turner of a book that had me reading it while walking down the street, eating breakfast, going to bed, anywhere I could, compelled to keep reading until I'd turned the last page. I hear there's a third in the series, and I can only pray that it brings some hope to Walton's Quisling Britain, some chance of redemption for the all-too-plausible authoritarian alternate history that is such a sharp mirror of our sad present world.
Farthing: Heart-rending alternate history about British-Reich peace
I thought it would be impossible for an eBook to inspire me to get me working on a watch.
In 1954, the National Association for Mental Health first issued the book “How To Recognize and Handle Abnormal People: A Manual for the Police Officer.” Included were techniques on dealing with all kinds of “abnormal persons,” from psychopaths, drug addicts, and the “mentally retarded” to civil protestors and those involved in family disturbances. A selection […]
A case of mistaken identity lands Durham, a going no-place palace guard, a job with a troop of dwarvish treasure hunters. Seeing his big chance to make something of himself, our hero joins the Dungeoneers. Durham is a pretty boring guy, but a common spelling mistake sends him, a lowly guard who rarely needs a […]
SitePoint Premium is the ultimate e-learning library for web developers, designers, and digital professionals. Famous for their web development books written by industry leaders, they’ve expanded their content library to include in-depth video courses and short, handy screencasts partnering with A Book Apart and UX Mastery. Whatever you want to achieve in your web career, […]
Skip the technical jargon and get right to taking amazing, professional-quality photos with this complete training. The Hollywood Art Institute Photography Course includes 22 modules filled with tutorials on how to profit off of your photography, or simply capture your memories in the manner they deserve.Accredited by the Photography Education Accreditation CouncilDive into this 22 […]
Power up your gadgets in the most unexpected places with the extremely compact SolarJuice battery pack. SolarJuice charges up at home like your average battery pack, but also lets you add extra juice on-the-go using its built-in solar panel—so you’ll never be left unplugged from the digital world.4.5 Stars on Amazon!Simultaneously charges 2 devices at […]