Wednesday, April 6, 2011

World War Robot

 A day of battle is a day of profit.

                                       Darwin Rothschild

I found Ashley Wood's and T. P. Louise's World War Robot ( at Minneapolis' East Lake Library. It is the story of the war between expat atheists living on Mars and believers who stayed on Earth. It's told sparingly in a series of letters, reports, and diary entries, and especially in about seventy very juicy paintings. The pictures were what grabbed me.

The James Cameron Terminator movies, The Terminator and Judgment Day, are food for thought. Out-of-control robots from the future can stand for lots of human creations which have become dangerous to us. Think DDT, think the private automobile, but think especially about Earth's new dominant life form, the corporation.

Corporations were originally chartered with the idea of human or national progress. Since they are legally obliged to return a profit and little else, when faced with a choice between making a dime and sparing the commons, they won't know it was loaded.

In the story of the war between Earth and Mars, the corporate face of the enemy is more apparent than in the Terminator films. I could never decide whether WWR's authors were on the side of the believers or the non-believers (or which side was in which paintings), but supplying both armies with robots from the Moon is a guy named Darwin Rothschild.

In itty-bitty letters under the bar code, it says that WWR is "suggested for mature audiences." I'll go along with that; the book is pretty grim, but the warning is probably there because of a glimpse in one painting of a military brothel, and of pubic hair. Sordid, but not exactly titillating.

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