Charlie Stross nevnte da han var æresgjest på en av de norske science fiction kongressene om en roman han aldri kom til å skrive. Noen jeg synes er svært synd. Fordi den er temmelig utrolig.

Han skrev en sak om det på bloggen sin men jeg re-poster oppsummeringen her:

First, some deviant history:
The year is 1950 -- but it's not our 1950. Things began to go off the rails, history-wise, in 1917-1918. Lawrence of Arabia was shot dead at the gates of Damascus, for example: the whole face of the middle east is utterly different. Trotsky had flu in October 1917 — the Bolshevik revolution happened in early 1918, and Stalin got himself killed in the process. Because of the late Russian collapse, World War One ended differently in this universe: the Kaisershlacht started in June (not April), the German high command collapsed in January 1919, and Germany was actually occupied by Allied forces (including the first large-scale deployment of what would later be called Blitzkrieg warfare — this was actually planned, but never used because of the German capitulation in November 1918). Germany was invaded, subjugated — no support for the "stab in the back" theory that Hitler used so effectively.

(In this world, Hitler ends up in Spandau prison in 1923: but instead of being there for treason, he's there for sexual offenses. He later becomes a gangster in Hamburg, and features in the Plot. Ditto Mussolini; he doesn't become Duce. In fact, in this world, Fascism is invented in Britain.)

Trotsky follows Lenin, and a series of bloody skirmishes are fought on the borders of the Soviet empire during the 1920's. Then the Great Depression arrives more or less on schedule, and everything goes to pieces. Britain has been trying to hold on to empire much harder in this history than in our own. Imperialism breeds repression breeds ... well, the results aren't pretty. In 1937, Moseley's New Party seizes power and declares a Republic. There's a worldwide clampdown as the Republican Empire tries to hang on to its assets with a bulldog grip. Moseley is followed in 1942 by Chairman Blair, veteran leader of the Authority's forces during the Spanish Civil War. Britain is under the grip of a grey, iron dictatorship aimed squarely at defying the looming forces of Communism, that squat on the other side of the Demilitarized Zone that is Germany.

By 1950, World War Two is imminent — and it's going to be a war between the Republican Empire and the Soviet Union. America is beginning to awaken >from a period of isolationism, punctuated by a short and inconclusive war with Japan in the mid-1940's; far-seeing diplomats realise that if they allow Fascism to take over the fragile democracies of the DMZ they'll end up standing alone against whichever dictatorship wins. And so they start a rearmament program and create an organisation — the OSS by any other name — to send agents into Europe and figure out what's going on.

And now, the plot:

Heroin is coming west across the Atlantic, from somewhere in the DMZ. In return, Differential Analyzers (early computers) are going east. The OSS want to know why. Cynical veteran Bill is called out of semi-retirement as station officer in Morocco and teamed up with a weird, dreamy wet- behind the ears agent called Phil K: their task is to follow the heroin supply back to its source somewhere near Afghanistan and to work out who's buying the computers.

(This is all rooted in a vision I had, of William S. Burroughs as a CIA agent, and Philip K. Dick as his young henchman, going head-to-head with notorious gangster and pervert Adolf Hitler somewhere in Hamburg to find out where Hitler is shipping all the computers he can get his hands on.)

The Great Game of the 19th century — between the British and Russian Empires — has hotted up; Afghanistan is occupied by the British (who are policing it with strategic bombers and nerve gas), while huge rows of fortresses block the Panjshir valley and the approaches to India. The heroin Hitler is smuggling comes from out East, deep in India. To get to the source Bill and Phil have to smuggle themselves at great peril through the dark periphery of the British empire, all the way to the depopulated island of Ceylon — where under the protection of the suavely sinister British secret policeman Ian Fleming, Doctor Clarke's team of engineers and astronomers are putting together a secret terror weapon that will threaten everyone on Earth.

(I want to have Ian Fleming as the bad guy in command of a James Bond style mountainside secret hideout, complete with en suite hot and cold running super-weapons. With Arthur C. Clarke as the scientist in charge of the space program — if I can get him to agree not to sue!)

The McGuffin that's going to be hinted at throughout is that although nuclear weapons don't officially exist, various nations have nuclear reactors, the British Republic's Navy has nuclear-powered submarines and aircraft carriers ... so where are the bombs? The answer is in Ceylon, and that's where our heroes follow the trail of stolen computers. The British are building an atomic pulse-detonation powered spaceship (based on Freeman Dyson's Orion design), which needs about fifty A-bombs just to nuke its way out of the atmosphere — and which is why they've evacuated Ceylon. With a nuclear powered space navy Big Brother Blair's dictatorship will be unassailable: which threat gives me the time pressure that drives our OSS heroes towards a climax in which they have to choose which evil empire to do business with.

Hvis ikke det der er tøft vet ikke jeg. Men vi får aldri lese den dessverre. 

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