Øyvind Strømmen – Det mørke nettet (2011)
Ten years ago, I and many others started political blogs to understand the ideological background for the September 11 terror attacks. Now, the online hatred of Islam that grew out of that post-9/11 blog movement, has itself become part of the ideological background for Norway’s July 22 terror attacks. Øyvind Strømmen is an old ally from my own blog wars with the early counter-jihadists, and I agree with his analysis: The guilt rests with the terrorist alone, but you can’t understand his actions without understanding the environment he borrowed his worldview from. Just like al-Qaeda.
Recommended: Yes. There will be longer, better books later – also by Strømmen – but for now, this is the next step of the post-July 22 debate. Read it, or get left behind.
Dermot Keogh – Twentieth-Century Ireland (1994)
Ireland had a civil war, cooled down, and then nothing interesting happened for the rest of the 20th century.
Robert Silverberg – The Book of Skulls (1972)
Four college students rebel against rationality by embracing, on a whim, the faith that a cult in the Arizona desert holds the key to immortality. The story follows them as they drive across the country, and prepare for the price they will be asked to pay: Two to die, so that two can live forever. There are no clearly speculative elements here, and if it wasn’t by Robert Silverberg, you might not call it SF at all. But it’s the possibility that the cult’s promises could be real that gives this story its focus.