September 26th, 2010

The Execution Channel

With the success of #savesixmusic can we please have a go at #axefivelive and, whilst we're at it, the BBC News Channel.
Clearly the BBC needs some sort of sports channel and a certain amount of news, though in an ideal world I think 24 hour rolling news would be banned by law, however I think what we need is the NuLab approach to failing schools i.e. 5 Live and the News Channel should be closed down and opened up next term with new names and new management with a commitment to
a) a less soul-sappingly trivial approach
b) no phone-ins unless presented by Danny Baker (or, via seance, the late Jeremy Beadle or the late Adrian Love (*)). (**) Maybe about 2 hours a week.
c) No Nick Robinson
d) I think we can probably cope with one presenter at once on the News Channel.

The BBC will no doubt get some sort of onslaught from OFTOSS (Office of Tory Obsessions and Score Settling) in due course, but I don't think it has to be defended unconditionally on the My Country Right Or Wrong (otherwise known as My Mother Drunk Or Sober) principle, despite it being under attack from the right and the 'useful idiots' in the 'geek' 'community' who seem to have a weird thing against the BBC, not just on the basis that
i) the iPlayer is not available on Tesco 'Value' toasters
ii) the news is not proceeded by Richard Stallman reading the GPL then singing the free software song
iii) etc.

In other execution channel news, I re-semi-read The Execution Channel by Ken MacLeod which seemed better than it did first time though, even though the eponymous Execution Channel and other aspects make no sense. I think it seemed better because I have read and/or not finished so many awful things recently, the awful Moxyland springing particularly to mind.

(*) found a photo of him, presumably taken not long before he died, God he looked awful.
(**) actually Tommy Boyd was quite good on LBC. No, not THAT Tommy Boyd (5 Live has got the wrong one on at least once IIRC)

Questions for the team

1. What is the latest point that that someone could have written an SF story with the Between Planets type cosmology of
(a) some sort of Martian civilisation (the Martian in BP has some sort of exoskeleton though it is not clear IIRC whether it was made with Martian or Earth technology)
(b) Venus as some sort of swamp planet with
(i) breathable atmosphere by humans
(ii) edible food by humans
(iii) some sort of intelligent civilisation
with this not obviously contradicted by science?
If ever?

Although... the first thing I remember thinking about such stories is that surely one has to postulate either a wild coincidence that the civilisations would have to grow up around the same time or the Martian and Venusians ones would have to be in a steady state for hundreds of thousands / millions of years.

2. Has anyone come across any alternative history novels (ideally at least semi-worth reading in which)
(a) the Morgenthau Plan was implemented
(b) the Ottoman Empire joined WWI on the Allied Powers side
(c) set in the modern day in which Germany won WW2 but suffered a Soviet Union / Eastern Block style collapse in the late 80s / early 90s or thereabouts
(not all at the same time).