War. What Is It Good For?: The #WWACBookClub on Insignia

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On Monday we got together under the hashtag #WWACBookClub to discuss our latest book club pick – Insignia 11115434by S J Kincaid.

The story takes place in the middle of World War III. Most of our natural resources are gone so what are we fighting over? The resources found in space. But this war is different from previous wars. This war is fought in a virtual arena. It’s like a big video game. And when you’re fighting a video game war, who you gonna call? Teenagers of course.

With the help of some top secret government neural processors (computers implanted in their brains), Tom Raines and the other members of Intrasolar Forces may be just what the Indo-American alliance needs to win. 

Though this was an interesting premise we had to admit the book left us a little lukewarm. The world-building was a little lackluster, with most of the history provided through the teen’s history classes. We also felt there was very little payoff for the plot threads that were presented.

But one of the biggest problems we had was with the gender dynamics.

 

 

 

In a world where a neural processor allows students to learn things almost automatically and enhances the physical size and strength of the students why is there still only 2 girls in this training camp? However for all its faults, Insignia, did lead to an interesting discussion about the future of war and whether or not it will ever be fought on a virtual battlefield. It reminded me of an old Star trek episode “A Taste of Armageddon”where the war is fought via computer simulation. The citizens of each planet have to submit to real executions inside “disintegration booths” to meet the casualty counts of the simulated attacks. Some argued that a virtual war is a strong possibility in the future. Whereas others believe we’re already there.

 

So if virtual war is a real possibility what about private company sponsorship of combatants, like the members of Intrasolar Forces? Some said no:

Others disagreed:

Do you think private sponsorship of soldiers is a possibility? What about virtual war? And would you ever consider having a computer installed in your brain? Would the rewards (increased intelligence, abilities, strength etc) outweigh the risks?

Our Next Pick

Now you’re probably curious about our next book club selection. We decided we wanted to explore the mystery genre with our next pairing but we thought we’d leave the actual choosing up to you.

Vote in the form by the end of day Sunday August 24th for our September and October book club picks.

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Books Editor. Maple Flavoured Darth Vader Fangirl.

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