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Author Topic: Empire
A Person
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I have read Empire, Hidden Empire, and numerous others of books written by Card and enjoyed them all. I am doing a report on Empire. My thesis is: Can this happen in today's United States? I would appreciate it if someone can help me discuss this and give me some pointers etcetera. Also I'm new to this blog site so sorry if this is a repeated forum.
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A Person
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And unfortunately I do not have access to the internet all the time so my replies may been few and far between.
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TomDavidson
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No, A Person, it cannot happen in today's United States. The political situation posited in Empire is quite ridiculous.
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ZachC
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What would you want to know? If the tensions between parties today are at the point they would need to be for an extremist group to emerge with the kind of support it would take to be able to do something like take New York City?

I think that from a purely technological standpoint, the technology just does not exist as it was seen in the book. We are years away from Egg-Walkers, Portable Super-EMPs, etc., but that is not to say that the events portrayed in Empire could not come to pass with different circumstances.

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ZachC
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And TomDavidson, I agree that the situation in Empire is quite far-fetched, but I do not agree that the events in Empire are strictly impossible. Extremely unlikely perhaps under the right circumstances, but not impossible. I think it would make a great essay to identify and describe the exact events that would have to come to pass for something along the lines of Empire to occur.
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A Person
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quote:
Originally posted by ZachC:
And TomDavidson, I agree that the situation in Empire is quite far-fetched, but I do not agree that the events in Empire are strictly impossible. Extremely unlikely perhaps under the right circumstances, but not impossible. I think it would make a great essay to identify and describe the exact events that would have to come to pass for something along the lines of Empire to occur.

That is pretty much exactly what I am trying to accomplish with my essay.
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TomDavidson
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There is absolutely no scenario in which a fringe group of New York liberals would attempt to assassinate the president and secede from the union. Leaving aside the question of whether they'd use spider-robots to accomplish it.
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A Person
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Yes. I would like to know if political tensions truly are that tense. I personally think that today's America is rather sad. We are filled with any increasing amount of latency that is increasing with each generation. Of course that is my opinion, I am trying to keep opinion out of my essay and making it unbiased and factual.
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A Person
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quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
There is absolutely no scenario in which a fringe group of New York liberals would attempt to assassinate the president and secede from the union. Leaving aside the question of whether they'd use spider-robots to accomplish it.

I'm not debating the scenario I am debating whether or not America could have another civil war.
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A Person
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And under what circumstances. To me Empire seems to view the circumstances under a political light and unfortunately I don't think I understand enough about politics to make an informed decision. If there were to be another civil war I think it would stem from racial rather than political.
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Rakeesh
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Secession is, as a political goal, pretty easy to identify because it's so specific and extreme. It *is* a goal that exists among some fringes in the USA, that's true, but to my knowledge it is a goal almost exclusively associated with the far reactionary/radical right, not the left. That's not to say there are no radical liberals who wish to secede, but in numbers, with support, and power (of all kinds, political, financial, technological, blunt force) and in concentration to carry it off?

Well, I suppose it's possible*.

*Possible in the sense that I don't know the politics and capabilities with perfect detail of all fringe groups, and so I cannot rule it out entirely. But no, man, the premise is just nuts, tied up it seems to me with the kind of angry, wacky politics that permits Card to still claim membership in the Democratic party.

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A Person
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So you're saying that the premise of the US having another civil war is nuts? I think not.
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Rakeesh
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That is not, in fact, what I said. But it is peculiar to profess an opinion like that right after you admit you aren't well enough informed?

And how can you be knowledgable on the likelihood of civil war on racial lines (a proposition so outlandish as to point to some unpleasant possibilities) without having some good knowledge of the political angle?

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A Person
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quote:
Originally posted by Rakeesh:

And how can you be knowledgable on the likelihood of civil war on racial lines (a proposition so outlandish as to point to some unpleasant possibilities) without having some good knowledge of the political angle? [/QB]

Fair question. I am trying to find out more about the political angle.
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Liz B
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I am a liberal feminist and I would totally assassinate someone.

Oh. Wait. No, probably not.

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TomDavidson
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quote:
If there were to be another civil war I think it would stem from racial rather than political.
Why? I can't come up with a scenario for this, either. Frankly, I think a civil war would be more likely to happen as a consequence of gun control than racial tension, although of course racial tension would play a small part in the cultural divide at the heart of any split.
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Rakeesh
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For me, I'd put it another way: if we haven't had a civil war on racial lines* yet, particularly in the past, y'know, seventy years, I think the racial outlook for our country is such that for such a war to happen, things would have to change *so* radically as to make even saying it's a real reach for it to happen way out there.
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ZachC
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Rakeesh, your liberal use of asterisks is hurting my eyes.
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Geraine
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quote:
Originally posted by ZachC:


I think that from a purely technological standpoint, the technology just does not exist as it was seen in the book. We are years away from Egg-Walkers, Portable Super-EMPs, etc., but that is not to say that the events portrayed in Empire could not come to pass with different circumstances.

Actually, we are not that far off!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ichbg_M9QJg

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ZachC
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Woah... Manhattan better watch its back.
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ZachC
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And I found this. This technology seems more than capable of taking down a couple of fighter jets if advanced far enough. Now it seems, all we need is the political will and we have a crazy terrorist/extremist rebellion.
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Stone_Wolf_
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I'll bet civil war and lack of prosperity (or threatened prosperity at least) go hand in hand.

Wait til Americans have to deal with huge food/gas/electricity shortages and then ask that question about civil war again.

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Jeff C.
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I haven't read this series, despite the fact that I usually enjoy Card's work. I tend to not enjoy novels set near present day or that deal heavily with politics, so I shied away from this one. The mediocre reviews didn't help, either.

As you guys have described it, I find the whole scenario extremely unlikely. It's scifi, though, so you can't expect it to be all that realistic. I mean, how realistic are alien invasions or galactic empires, really?

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Liz B
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I found it a very action-oriented novel. Lots of stuff happened but I had a hard time connecting with the characters. Maybe male readers liked it more? I don't know.

Realism is all about suspension of disbelief. I found EG and Pastwatch both perfectly believable because I believed that people in those situations would behave that way. I am always selling EG as "character-driven science fiction--if you don't like scifi, this is the one you should try."

Empire & its sequel, not so much. But still--that man can spin a story. His pacing is pitch-perfect, even when his characterization & worldbuilding are lacking.

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Dogbreath
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I found Empire and Hidden Empire to be perfectly enjoyable outside of the political aspects. I also found the professor/president/wannabe emperor character fascinating, and would've really liked more of the story to focus on him.
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Marek
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yeah, i thought the jump from professor, to head of the NSA to sole candidate for both parties to be a lot of very quick leaps. Also since when can either party pick one person to run, let alone both pic the same person, would that even be allowed?

To me it was a scenario right up there with Colony by Ben Bova, where America is torn apart. Though in Bova's it is along largely racial lines, but in his book the military did not back off so easily from cities that were taken as they did in Empire.

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ThatEvilLiberalAtheist
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This novel was so politically slanted that it leaves me feeling almost incredulous. I love OSC's storytelling, and when Mark Malich died, I was bawling like a baby. However, I feel as though OSC is one of the extremists that this story was attempting to condemn. Cecily is the only good liberal in the series, and she is not even that liberal. She is a devout Christian for one. The liberals who want to preserve true democracy are portrayed as insane extremists (Aldo Verus). Fox News is portrayed as the only unbiased media source and they watch it in her home, what self-respecting liberal would say something like that. Meanwhile, Averell Torrent is portrayed as the tyrant we need. This is my biggest problem of the book.

We are essentially told, albeit subtly, that dissent and questioning authority is a dangerous extremist policy and that we should just accept the tyrant that is clever enough to maneuver himself into power.

Didn't we learn 300 years ago that monarchies and Empires only last as long as the lifespan or sanity of the ruler? Who would take Torrent's place after he dies? That is why rule by the people and for the people is the only sustainable rule?

I feel as though Cole's acceptance of Torrent was out of character. He should have killed him after he put down his gun. For the good of humanity. The main character accepting the tyrant who killed his friends feels like an endorsement of Imperialism by the author. Or do you feel like it is just a comment of the irreversible direction of American Imperialist and exansionist policy? It sure doesn't come across that way.

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Kwea
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It was absurd. And you should probably do your own homework.
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ThatEvilLiberalAtheist
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In regards to doing my own homework, I can't seem to find much on this topic, could you direct me to the right thread? Bit of a newcomer to HRRF but I have read all of the Ender & Shadow Series, Pastwatch, all of Alvin Maker, and I've been a big fan of OSC for years. I just find his politics to be quite wrong-headed.
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Samprimary
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quote:
Originally posted by A Person:
I have read Empire, Hidden Empire, and numerous others of books written by Card and enjoyed them all. I am doing a report on Empire. My thesis is: Can this happen in today's United States? I would appreciate it if someone can help me discuss this and give me some pointers etcetera. Also I'm new to this blog site so sorry if this is a repeated forum.

If you mean "Could the events in Empire, or events in any way remotely like Empire, occur in the future that in any way make what was written in Empire in any way representative or relevant an observation of real life sociopolitical issues or threats?"

the answer is no.

If you mean "could america have another civil war?"

the answer is yes.

but it would not even remotely resemble anything in Empire.

quote:
I would like to know if political tensions truly are that tense.
Today's political tensions are not anywhere as tense as what is described in Empire. The events described in the book are quite unrealistic even if we assume a worst-case scenario for our current national state of polarized attitudes on the national parties.


quote:
We are filled with any increasing amount of latency that is increasing with each generation.
latency? like, passivity? inaction?

quote:
If there were to be another civil war I think it would stem from racial rather than political.
Maybe? The question is whether or not one can make a case for potential internecine conflict based on racial issues, that we could attribute to more than guesswork and which could source multiple sociological observations and human psychosocial and political habits.
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Samprimary
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If we want to analyze the suggestions of the book in terms of how a civil war might happen in the united states on a liberal vs. conservative divide, we can do that with a Q&A.

Q. Could an insurrectionist war be brewing in the country right now, whether led by conservatives or liberals, in the ways that they happened in Empire?

A. So, you're asking if either a left-wing or a right-wing faction or coalition of individuals has, right now, a very intensely funded secret operation? One that has essentially been borne whole-cloth of the aspirations of one or a few super-rich individuals, who have apparently successfully laundered billions upon billions of dollars into secret super-gigantic facilities that have been creating entire battalions of extraordinary, unseen, unprecedented military technology not even known to any military in existence, and has simultaneously secretly recruited thousands or tens of thousands of people across the country as enlists in a shadow army that the U.S. government is essentially completely unaware of? An army they can suddenly pop out of the ground from secret underground supercomplexes to swiftly conquer and hold entire states? No. I am very confident I can say that nothing like this is a scenario that could be brewing upon which a future civil war would be brought upon us.

Q. Well, why are you so certain?

A. Because I am equally certain that I don't exist in a comic book.

Q. What if you remove the weird sci-fi tech?

A. That doesn't change the absurdity of the premise of the book very much. The supertechnology is just there, honestly, to super tryhard at making sure it's understood that the liberals wouldn't stand a chance without the supertechnology — that it's a required spontaneous advantage needed to create any real conflict in the first place, in order to overcome that the conservatives would super obviously win the war totes for reals if the liberals weren't able to conjure mechnology and repulsorcraft in their secret liberal science-lairs in order to even the odds against the nominally conservative military (this, additionally, becomes a point that the author uses to say that Conservatives are obviously showing us true tolerance because they could beat the liberals up, but don't, and those cowardly liberals better keep that in mind when they act intolerant like they always do). And then once the plot of the book no longer requires that the liberals be winning, the conservative military utterly dominates them anyway, because they G.I. Joe Great American Hero it up with good old fashioned military stuff, and figure out that you can just shoot a mechball with a cruise missile as easily as you can shoot a tank, and they can just kill all the mechballs with missiles launched from helicopters well outside of the weapons range of the mechballs. I have not read the second book but I would bet you dimes to dollars that the advanced tech makes a return and is spontaneously awesome again once, you know, liberals aren't driving/wearing/flying them. Anyway. Once you remove the fancy tech which is all Shock and Awe Signifying Nothing, the utter implausibility of an army being constructed and conscripted in the US in billion-to-trillion dollar secret facilities to launch a surprise attack on the federal and state governments is pretty much as absurd even when you don't assume they were simultaneously creating unprecedented military tech advances.

Q. Ok, so, barring the specific premise of the book, or the specific way in which this particular civil war is sparked, could anything, just, generally like it happen?

A. You mean like, in general, a super-financier (like the book's obviously-George-Soros-with-a-different-name-to-avoid-libel-charges) or a small party of economic superelites financing an open insurrection against the government, to be started with the successful assassination of the president and officials next in line to the post or whatever? No.

Q. Oh come on give the book some credit

A. No. Credit has neither been earned or given. If reading Empire made you sad because you don't like thinking about that something anything like it could happen, don't worry, you're in the clear. We'd need decades of some large-scale issue creating dramatic crisis, economic or otherwise, along some split in the US populace, before a civil war actually happens. You're less likely to have an actual all out war, as well. You're more likely to just see, in a future where the US isn't doing nearly as hot, whole sections of the US pulling a Flanders. No to any of the specifics of a "brewing potential for sectarian conflict" between people who like bush and people who like obama. No cabal of superfinanciers is going to be able to put up a fight against the US military using homegrown insurgency. What are people going to do, sign up in legion to fight in Ted Turner's paper-straws regiment? Be part of the Koch Kommandos and throw Dixie Cup molotovs at Ft. Lewis? What percentage of the United States population outside of those within proximity to Cliven Bundy at this moment would seriously lay down their lives to fight America Itself for Real True Freedom This Time? Do we have 30k at best? 40k? What percentage of those are in the mood for insurgency for reasons that don't involve securing a future for Aryan babies, specifically? How many of those are people whose material support ends at possibly having to sit up from the computer? Where's the specific threshold of Hearts and Minds that sees such an extremist faction successfully seizing an area larger than, say, Tippecanoe County?

Q. We get it you didn't like the book.

A. It's not about that, per se, as it is about dissecting any real potential of any sort of anything the book's premise postulated. Of all the works of fiction, speculative or otherwise, that explore the possibility of civil war in the United States, Empire has among the least realistic premises, even if you leave the fantastical sci-fi technological element of the liberal insurrection out of the picture entirely, even if you leave the obvious Author On Board partisanship out of it as well.

Q. The book was nonpartisan! The author said so in the afterward.

A. You're adorable.

Q. Of course I am, I'm a strawman you've devised and written out to expressly hammer on in order to express your feelings about the subject matter of Empire's take on potential American civil war.

A. I know, but, just in general, that's a message to anyone who seriously believes the book has a nonpartisan take and doesn't take sides in the culture war it presents to us. You're adorable.

Q. Anything the book is good at?

A. Sure? Throwing away any other literary critique pretense, you could say that while it doesn't work at all as a reflection of realistic and extant socioeconomic and sociopolitical tensions that could lead to eventual civil war in the United States, it's fine as a right-wing power fantasy, tailor-made for conservatives who essentially mirror Orson Scott Card's personal beliefs: very right wing people who consider themselves the 'true' moderates, who act as preservers of liberty through their own tolerance against the intolerance and gullibility of the left — people who would like to read a scenario where liberals have moved up to being literal traitors to the United States, and get thwarted by the brave actions of conscientious conservatives who preserve the Union from hateful liberal terrorism with gripping action scenes.

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dkw
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Zombie thread.

Just in case anyone thought they were actually replying to the original poster.

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Foust
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quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
There is absolutely no scenario in which a fringe group of New York liberals would attempt to assassinate the president and secede from the union. Leaving aside the question of whether they'd use spider-robots to accomplish it.

If I had spider-bots, I'd create the People's Republic of Foustiania in a heartbeat.
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Jake
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quote:
Originally posted by ThatEvilLiberalAtheist:
In regards to doing my own homework, I can't seem to find much on this topic, could you direct me to the right thread? Bit of a newcomer to HRRF but I have read all of the Ender & Shadow Series, Pastwatch, all of Alvin Maker, and I've been a big fan of OSC for years. I just find his politics to be quite wrong-headed.

Welcome to Hatrack, EvilLiberalAthiest. I think that Kwea didn't realize that this was an old thread, and was just replying to the original poster (who did seem like they were fishing for someone to do their homework for them). In any case, you will find that you are hardly alone here in your opinion of Empire.
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Samprimary
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quote:
Originally posted by dkw:
Zombie thread.

Just in case anyone thought they were actually replying to the original poster.

Crush my dreams why dont you
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