Scoop Review of Books

Archive for February, 2013

Setting His Sites: Review of Gun Machine by Warren Ellis

Gun Machine by Warren Ellis (Jan, 2013) Mulholland Books/Hachette


Review by Mark P. Williams

Warren Ellis writes astute, accurate fictions about the role of information in society.

He’s explored digital information’s possible and actual relationships to truth and deception through technology in the longer graphic novel series Transmetropolitan, about futuristic gonzo journalist Spider Jerusalem, and in a more contemporary thriller framework through the episodic spy thriller Global Frequency. Now, in his second prose novel, he gives us a contemporary police procedural through which information flows in torrents in both electronic and more nebulous ways. Stylish and economically written, Gun Machine is part police thriller and part philosophy of information; it’s a darkly humorous and incisive meditation on the contemporary city scape.

All of Ellis’s fictions are structured by ethical questions about the implications of information networks for social relationships, whether that means the consequences for local people of global actions, or the feel of living in online worlds while trying to maintain offline relationships. Read more »

What’s Philosophy Accomplished?

Rationis Defensor: Essays in Honour of Colin Cheyne Edited by James Maclaurin (Springer, €99.)

Reviewed by Charles Gibson

Cover Rationis Defensor

People often ask me what philosophers have accomplished in the last hundred years. The popular conception is that while science seems to be advancing technology and knowledge daily, philosophy is still a pastime for people who wish to relax in their armchairs and debate the existence of God. This portrait of philosophy is a false one, but convincing people can be difficult. So from now on when somebody asks me what philosophers have been up to, I can direct them to a copy of Rationis Defensor.
This collection of recent philosophical papers, edited by head of Otago University’s philosophy department, James Maclaurin, provides a nice selection of the current debates and crucial issues at play in philosophy. It includes a diverse sampling of philosophical disciplines addressing issues in epistemology (theory of knowledge), philosophy of science, metaphysics and philosophical logic.

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Deceit and Deracination: Review of Next Year in Diego Garcia

Next Year in Diego Garcia – Jean Claude de L’Estrac,
Translated by Touria Prayag (Elp: Mauritius, November 2011)
Review by Vaughan Rapatahana

diego garcia
The very best way to commence this review is to quote the very first paragraph from this important and well-researched book in its entirety:

This story is one of deceit, lies and cowardice. Perhaps worse; it is the story of the British Foreign Office admitting that large sums of money were at stake in Whitehall negotiations which led to the butchering of the Mauritian territory. The decision to rip the Chagos archipelago from the mainland was thus sealed as was the fate of its inhabitants who were forced to leave their birthplace to make room for the Anglo-American military base, Diego Garcia.

In fact what the Anglo-American conspiracy did to the Chagossians was and remains to this very moment, a major crime against humanity – which may well be the only legal recourse left for these displaced and distraught and brave people to fight with. The selfsame conspiracy has steadily forsworn them at every gain they ever made – culminating in the 20 December, 2012 European Court of ‘Human Rights’ further denying them any redress in terms of a chance to return to their now uninhabited islands, because they had already accepted the munificence of British recompense more than once over the years, commencing after a court battle in 1982. Although they did receive some pittance in 1978 from Mauritian authorities who had sat on that British ‘largesse’ for five years previously!. Case closed. Read more »