The Human Front (Outspoken Authors Series)
By Ken MacLeodWinner of a Prometheus and Sidewise Award, this science fiction novella is a comedic and biting commentary on capitalism and an exploration of technological singularity in a posthuman civilization. As a world war rages on without an emerging victor, the story follows John Matheson, an idealistic teenage Scottish guerilla warrior who must change his tactics and alliances with the arrival of an alien species. This alternate history and poignant political satire flips hero types and expectations, delivering a lively tale of adventure—as dramatic and thought provoking as it is funny. Also included is an interview with the author and two essays that relate his poignant views on social philosophies.
Scottish author MacLeod bolsters his tight, brilliant 2001 alternate-history novella with two supporting essays and a lengthy interview, combining revolutionary politics, flying-saucer lore, and family dynamics in a slender but potent volume. The eponymous novella takes up the bulk of the book, tracing the life of Scottish resistance fighter John Matheson as he's gradually radicalized. In his world, Stalin is gunned down by American troops and flying saucers serve as Allied bombers. Matheson's revolutionary career takes a turn for the strange when he shoots a saucer down, taking its pilot prisoner and opening the door to a far deeper mystery.
The essays—one on the novella's setting and one on the landscape of fiction—lend depth and context to what is already an excellent tale, one that readers should be glad to see made readily available in the United States.