ipling’s Aerial Board of Control is back, crushing the freedoms of a population that frankly couldn’t care in his follow up book to The Night Mail (reviewed HERE), As Easy as A.B.C.
You’ll recall that in the 2000 AD world that Kipling envisioned, the world was a pretty carefree place. Trade rules everything (you’ll recall that in the shadowy overhang of World War One, it was believed that trade would prevent such a mass catastrophe from happening – mass warfare was “unprofitable” (silly us – people will always be able to make a buck off war)). So from his point of thought, the world would develop towards a governing body (the Aerial Board of Control). As long as you didn’t get in the way of free trade or transportation, you could do pretty much anything you wanted. The ABC ran things, everyone buzzed about in their personal flying crafts, and everyone was happy. The night mail went through.
Well, in 2150 (an eternity to those of us living through the rapid changes of the last thirty years), there are problems. A collection of misfit freedom lovers (how absolutely refreshing to see the socialists as the practical heroes and the libertarians as the mad bomb-throwing maniacs) have taken the State of Illinois off the grid – the light towers are extinguished, the roads are cut off, everything. They want to rule themselves with ponderous voting.
And so the ABC shows up with it’s massive air fleet (where did the rebels think this was going to go, anyway?), to commence a very humane bombardment (light bombs – a little temporary blindness not nothing lasting). And then the victors land and begin puzzling what to do with the democratic nutballs (as well as a world population that now wants to kill them).
I really liked this one. It was a fun read written in a bygone time (when people had hopes for a better future). It also shares the traits of HG Wells, that of the socialist utopia that could only, logically, be. A lot of this I still believe, especially the idea of socialism tied to the profit motive (with corporate financing rules, are we really that far off the mark now? Still, I’d hoped for better than this). Regardless, Kipling writes a very enjoyable story, one that has the future powermongers scratching their heads at those who wish to return to the bad old days. The solution to what to do with a couple of hundred throwbacks brought the yarn to a humorous close.
Worth a read – the word file is free out on the net if you poke about.