Showing posts from August, 2021

Serial Saturday #2.17: The Coup Begins

“Are you-” Sarah left the question hanging.  The old man smiled. “No, I am a construct of Abernathy, a vessel if you like. He’s a very busy man-” his eyes unfocused for a moment- “On Terra at the moment, so there are quite a few of us around. You can call me Abe if it’s easier.” “All right… Abe.” “Please, sit,” the old man gestured to the bench. “I love this view,” he leaned over and whispered. “Don’t tell anyone, but it’s actually one of his favorite places on the planet. He doesn’t like to admit he has favorites.” “Your secret is safe with me,” Sarah smiled. “So, to business,” Abe clapped his hands. “First, some insurance.” He flipped open the book in between them on the bench and pulled out a small black pouch with a zip on it. “This is a nano-injection. Won’t do anything to you physically, but it’ll allow you to resist their neural controllers if you fall into their hands.” He reached into his jacket pocket and pulled out a small silver disk and handed it to her. “Stick that somewh

Serial Saturday #2.16: What Sarah Found In The Gardens

The inside of the Palace was cavernous and cool and Sarah looked around for a sign or any indication of where to go. Sister Adelaide, however, seemed to know exactly where she was going, so Sarah followed her across the atrium. Sister Adelaide reached a set of double doors on the far side, opened one, and gestured for Sarah to precede her. The smell of old books assaulted her nostrils. The library seemed to stretch on forever. Ahead of them: a large, circular desk where an elderly, bearded man with a blue pagri sat, engrossed in a book. Sister Adelaide nodded in his direction and Sarah walked over to the desk. The old man looked up. “Good morning, how may I assist you?” Sarah dug into her pocket and pulled out the piece of paper that Mendrika had given her, what seemed like forever ago on the docks of New Toliara. “Yes, I’m looking for this book.” The old man took the sheet of paper and glanced down at it. Then he folded it back up and handed it back to her. He pointed off to the left.

The End of Afghanistan

Maybe it was always going to end this way. I don't know. It's a weird feeling, knowing that you saw a war begin and now you're seeing it end two decades later.  I'm not sure I was ever convinced that the War in Afghanistan was going to be winnable. For a start, we plunged headlong into Iraq instead of finishing the job we started in Afghanistan. I never liked that. Just because you can handle two medium-sized conflicts doesn't mean you should. Second, no one seemed to know what "winning" looked like. This is a country- or hell, maybe it's not even really a polity, more of a collection of tribal entities that argue a lot with guns, I don't know- but however you describe the place, it eats countries for lunch. It turned back Alexander the Great. It fucked up the British at the height of their powers. It ground the Soviets to dust. Who were we to think that it would be any different for us? Putting on my poli-sci hat for a second: I think this is the

Retro-Binge: JAG/NCIS

My classes in college didn't start until mid-morning somedays, so I usually had time in the morning to gather my stuff, get some food in my belly and prepare for the day and inevitably, I'd throw the television on some cable channel as background noise. Mid-morning cable channels tended- at least back then- to have a myriad collection of shows in syndication ranging from Charmed to Pensacola: Wings of Gold and yes, even JAG and NCIS . As a result, I've watched- randomly and not at all on purpose- a lot of Charmed , JAG and, NCIS . ( Pensacola: Wings of Gold seemed to be on either intermittently or right as I had to leave for class, so I've seen a bit of it- usually the opening credits, but not whole seasons of it.) Charmed aside (though I've seen the majority of that show and I think my parents or my brother had whole seasons of it kicking around somewhere)- it's JAG and NCIS that really stuck in my brain.  To my knowledge, I've never seen either sho

Bookshot #144: India Conquered

A solid and well-researched history of British rule in India, Jon Wilson's India Conquered aims to provide a reassessment of a lot of the mythology of the British Raj and I think he more or less succeeds in his goals. The general notion that Wilson is exploring with this book is the idea that British rule in India was coherent and powerful- while the reality is that British rule was uneven and based on violence and the use of force- and left behind a piecemeal patchwork of economic development in their wake. I think you can challenge Wilson's argument on some points- some notes on the wiki-page for the book point out that his analysis of the period prior to the British is somewhat lacking and that there's a lot of hand-wavey generalizations that pop up over the course of the book. Nuance, naturally, would undermine a lot of Wilson's thesis- or at least if it didn't undermine it, it would certainly distract from it.  The point about the generalizations is true enoug