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_Intelligence_ by Hasler, some spoilers - Input Junkie
December 30th, 2010
11:02 am

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_Intelligence_ by Hasler, some spoilers
The terrorist plot is quite clever. I'm not qualified to judge whether it's overelaborate. (One of the fascinating things about terrorism is how everyone thinks they're an expert.)

A large number of toy radio-controlled airplanes have been bought (I'm not sure this would actually be noticed, but I can live with it), but they only have a payload of 13 ounces, which is pretty useless.

The actual plot is to poison some children with cyanide at a big sports event in a stadium (the viewpoint terrorist is there as a hot dog vendor), a poison which produces gasping and quick death. Meanwhile, the radio-controlled airplanes are launched over the stadium, spewing red smoke to create panic. Some hundreds of people die in the stampede.

One of the better bits of satire is that during the run-up to the attack, the analysts get one of the last available kits for that model airplane, and hand it over to the tech guys for assembly and evaluation. The tech guys not only put it together, they play with it once it's in the air, chasing a goose (how fast are those toys?) and doing loop the loops. After the attack, there's a pointlessly nasty Congressional investigation which includes being snotty about not catching the goose.

The book (I did tell you it was a comedy) ends up with a wish fulfillment-- Maddy goes public about the pressures, limitations, and outright stupidity that she's been faced with, and it all works out well.

This causes me to put a finger on something that I didn't realize was annoying me about Atlas Shrugged-- the focus of the novel is on Dagny, who has a miserable time in a corrupt society. John Galt does all the public talking. OK, specialization is how people do things, but I appreciated that Maddy did her own talking-- ten minutes, not seven hours, and quite enough to lay out the situation).

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