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The Media Candidate: politics and power in 2048

331 pages4 hours


The Media Candidate is a rigorous, high-tech, action-thriller novel studying the merger of politics and the media, set in the presidential election year 2048.
Politics in the mid twenty-first century has evolved to political game shows they call elections and to multimedia hype, sex, and trivia that sustains and embodies society. These are the icons of the reawakening of the American spirit of political participation. But behind this facade lurks an age old establishment sired by opportunities that aggressive humans have seized in every generation and in every fold of the social fabric.
This social revolution mirrored a dazzling technology upheaval, an eruption which engendered a new player in the Government’s bureaucracy: an advanced neural-network computer. Trained to serve, to be a neurocrat, it transmuted into a clandestine monarch. This super computer contrived its own Boolean paranoia and a ruthless strategy that served it well against humans. Only a pair of humans struggled to understand it—its creator and a hacker. But neither had the insight to fear it.
The computer lives at COPE, the Committee for Political Equality, a powerful Government agency formed by the first US President from one of the new “media parties.” COPE’s function is to maintain “a level playing field” for the political process, thus tightly controlling the political arena. Sherwood is a sinister and brilliant engineer turned spy and behavioral scholar. He teams with another nerd, the same hapless hacker who is on a collision course with the neural network, to tackle one of the most sensitive jobs at COPE—debugging COPE’s most efficient enforcer of the new century’s “disciplined democracy”: a cunning spider robot.
The insightful neural network discovers the benefit of commanding such arachnids. COPE may control the masses, but the real master of this media republic controls COPE, and does it with such finesse that no one even suspects it ... at least no one who lives.
The tragic hero, Dr. Elliott T. Townsend, enters this strange world after a career buried in the depths of a high-energy physics lab. He encounters Guinda Burns, a beautiful, young, and naive worker for the CBS Republican Party, and they find themselves opposed by COPE and its enforcers and confronted by Sherwood. But Sherwood stuns Elliott with his insight that human nature is immutable, and that society has evolved very little despite harsh cosmetic changes.
Elliott overcomes robotic spies and spider assassins, but he is not a leader, he is just a fossil of a bygone era, just as Guinda is a loyal daughter of her century. The ultimate question Elliott confronts is—does anyone care?

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