Friday, October 28, 2011

The Weapon by Michael Z. Williamson

The Weapon is another book in the Freehold series. We step back here in time to the period before the UN invaded Freehold, described in Freehold. When the situation was dire, a group of undercover operatives from Freehold wreaked havoc on Earth's population and infrastructure through terrorist acts. This is the story of their leader, Kenneth Chinran.

Chinran enlists in the Freehold armed forces, and we get to follow along with him as he goes through basic and advanced training, culminating on becoming an Operative, something like our modern day Delta Force, except probably even better equipped and tougher. He is sent on missions to various planets, either alone or with forces of varying sizes, and faces challenges of varying degrees.

The book is full of political commentary, comparing the Freehold governing philosophy with that of the UN, which rules Earth and a number of other planets.

"Their (The UN) definition of civil rights was what the Roman Legions gave their subjects - the right to complain, pray and do nothing. We defined freedom as the right to be stupid. If you aren't allowed to ruin your life because of the 'greater good of the whole', you aren't really free, you're a cog."

Very libertarian in flavor.

On undercover operations:

"I actually hae the ideal build for an Operative. Depending on dress and presentation, I can look like a skinny, wirey laborer; a slim academic; a lean, handsome businessman; a career military officer or adminstrator or a shaggy college punk. Huge vid show muscles and chiseled features are unneccessary and a hindrance. The sniveling geeks will be the death of you."

Oh to have known this when I was young.

I had to laugh when I read this:

"I've found that there's very few personnel problems that can't be resolved by a suitable application of a  boot to the head."

Some political ranting that sounds all too familiar:

"They (the UN) even taxed shit. Not directly, but there was a tax on the water and sewer service, even though a theoretically private company handled the task. Yes, they recycled it for minerals, energy and fertilizer, just as we do. Yes, they then sold it. So why tax it? Apparently, just because they could. There was even a news load where some mouthpiece for policy recommended a tax on something, I didn't catch what, on the grounds that 'it's one of the few things not yet taxed for revenue.'"

On the subject of banks:

"They do it with user fees. The more they've been restricted from charging interest, the more fees they charge, and then some...Late payment fee. Early payment fee. Payment by comm processing fee. Payment in person processing fee. Automated payment fee. Penalty for paying ahead on the account, penalty for excessive activity, penalty for insufficient activity, charge for business transaction, charge for personal account transaction, statement charge, monthly service charge, annual account charge, withdrawal charge, deposit charge, transfer fee, service representative consultancy fee, cash transaction fee, NSF fee, overdraft charge and negative balance charge..."

He wrote this before Dodd-Frank. How many of these fees does your bank charge?

About the Earth news services:

"It's not 'news', it's 'Entertainment,' with a capital 'E.' The have so little content padded by some much repetition, crap, half-assed speculation by experts who know dick and hawking of worthless merchandise, it's hard for a rational person to pick out the few gems of actual intel."
Michael Jackson, Natalie Holloway and Casey Anthony, anyone?

This is a really good story about a man who dedicates his life to serving his planet, even when it takes him past the edge of his humanity. Good action, fun political brain teasers, and a strong central character keep this one lively.

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