Anya Ow’s 2022 Ion Curtain is a space opera.
The setting is centuries in the future, but the conflicts facing humanity are depressingly familiar.
- One side: the Chinese-dominated UN, a large, diverse polity whose common feature might be described as “chaos.”
- The other side: the Russian-dominated Federation, which provides its citizens with carefully curated news, firm guidance, and a plethora of political functionaries. True power is doled out behind the scenes in ruthless, endless competition between the Federation’s various factions.
War would serve nobody; however, endless rumours of war ensure that military contractors can thrive. Military funding runs in ratchetting cycles: one side improves its standing and the other side reacts.
As the Federation is about to discover, some creations are inherently destabilizing.