News: February 2007 Archives

One of the most disgusting pieces of legislation to be passed in the past decade in the UK — and it faces some stiff competition — is the badly thought-out and draconian Terrorism Act of 2006.

Among other things, this piece of legislation created several new crimes — including the rather peculiar one of "glorifying terrorism". The proximate justification for this offense seems to be public indignation at the sight of preachers praising suicide bombers in Iraq and Israel from the pulpit, but the effect of it is corrosive — it undermines political free speech. Just consider for a moment the vexing question of who is, or isn't, a terrorist. Is Nelson Mandela? Certainly if this law had been on the books in the 1980s it's possible that supporters of the ANC would have been prosecuted. Is the animal rights movement supportive of terrorists? Is Sinn Fein? Once you get into the gritty business of trying to pin down who is and isn't a terrorist you end up with a peculiar conjugation: "I am a freedom fighter, you are a guerilla, they are terrorists". It all depends on where you stand, and consequently this nonsensical piece of legislation went through on the nod with an appendix explaining that the IRA aren't terrorists (they're good guys now that they put down their guns) and neither was the ANC, and Menachem Begin couldn't possibly be a terrorist (despite Irgun Zvai Leumi's habit of kidnapping and killing British soldiers back in the day) ... only funny people we don't approve of or want to talk to are terrorists.

Oh, and they forgot to define "glorifying". In fact, they drew the net so widely that they forgot to leave out political satire, or works of fiction.

I'd therefore like to commend to your attention a curious little book titled, appropriately enough, "Glorifying Terrorism". It's an anthology of science fiction stories dedicated to demonstrating the asinine nature of this piece of reactionary and censorious rubbish by breaking the law. Featuring illegal stories by Kathryn Allen, Chaz Brenchley, Marie Brennan, Hal Duncan, Suzette Haden Elgin, Kira Franz, Van Aaron Hughes, Davin Ireland, Gwyneth Jones, Vylar Kaftan, Lucy Kemnitzer, H. H. L√łyche, Ken MacLeod, Una McCormack, Adam Roberts, Elizabeth Sourbut, Katherine Sparrow, Kari Sperring, myself, Rachel Swirsky, Lavie Tidhar, James Trimarco, Jo Walton, Ian Watson, and Ian Whates, this is the most political SF anthology published in the UK for a very long time.

You can buy it here.

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