UK paperback

Dumb bombs

‘Cluster’ munitions and ‘humanitarian values’

The British Ministry of “Defence” has decided to ban “dumb cluster munitions”. Des Browne told Parliament on Tuesday:

I am pleased to announce that we are withdrawing dumb cluster munitions from service with immediate effect.

We have considered carefully both military and humanitarian factors, reflecting our duty both to ensure that the armed forces have the capabilities they need to undertake the missions we ask of them, and to strive to reduce civilian casualties to the minimum.

Cluster munitions are legal weapons which have a valid role in modern warfare, particularly against an array of military targets in a defined area. However, they have also given rise to humanitarian concerns because they disperse sub-munitions over an area and those sub-munitions can have a high failure rate. Some cluster munitions address these concerns including through inbuilt self-destructing or self-deactivating mechanisms, reducing the risk of harm to civilians. Dumb cluster munitions do not.

At the moment, our inventory includes two dumb cluster munitions: the RBL 755 aerial delivered cluster munition, and the multi launch rocket system M26 munition. Both will be withdrawn from service immediately and disposed of. Although withdrawing them represents a theoretical risk to our operational effectiveness, until their direct replacement is in service, there is no current plan to deploy them on operations. I have decided that this is an acceptable risk.

The types of cluster munitions we intend to retain are legitimate weapons with significant military value which, as a result of mitigating features, is not outweighed by humanitarian factors. As with all weapons, our forces’ use of them will remain regulated by rules of engagement and internal scrutiny procedures designed to adhere to international law and reflect humanitarian values.

In line with Tony Blair’s philosophy of bombing our values into the enemy, Browne emphasized usefully that the bombs we intend to carry on using will “reflect humanitarian values”, no doubt through some ingenious set-up of mirrored shells and an orbiting laser projector pumping out comforting words such as “freedom” and “democracy”. It might still be objected that the term “cluster” itself, in “cluster bomb” or “cluster munition”, is a particularly successful euphemism, since they “do not drop in a tight ‘cluster’ of limited radius but are designed expressly to spray their cargo of sub-munitions, or cutely named ‘bomblets’, over a wide distance’ (Unspeak, p116).

But this fact is as nothing beside the real problem: that some of these munitions are “dumb”. We cannot but conclude that the remaining cluster bombs that we will carry on using must be “smart”, and everyone likes a smart suit, or a smart cookie. It’s true that the usual military connotation of “smart” weapons is that they are able to be guided precisely towards their targets, by laser or GPS etc. Our non-“dumb” cluster bombs are not actually “smart” in this way. They do, however, have “self-destruct mechanisms”, which implies that they won’t join the estimated 10,000 unexploded “bomblets” dropped by US and UK forces that already littered Iraq after the end of “major combat operations” in 2003, or the “up to a million” unexploded “bomblets” that the UN estimates remained in southern Lebanon after Israel’s massive last-gasp cluster-bombing assault, or cluster-fuck, in the three days of August 2006 between the announcement of the ceasefire and its coming into effect.

Reassuringly, then, the weapons that Browne wants to keep are those bombs that, if they don’t work the first time, will allegedly self-destruct later (it would be nice to know whether such self-destruction causes an explosion comparable to the intended detonation at the time of use), or munch on the bomblet equivalent of a cyanide pill and obediently turn themselves off. Or, of course, explode as intended when dropped. What’s so anti-humanitarian about that?

Naturally this announcement was greeted in some quarters with craven peacenik scepticism. Liberal Democrat “defence” spokesman Nick Harvey said:

The Defence Secretary has only made reference to banning ‘dumb’ rocket and air delivered cluster munitions and will still maintain so-called ‘smart’ artillery fired cluster bombs. This is a dubious distinction and one that is grossly misleading.

All cluster munitions are indiscriminate and there are serious concerns that even so called ‘smart’ munitions have a significant failure rate, making them a dangerous remnant of conflict and posing a serious threat.

We cannot allow that our Minister of “Defence” in this case has made a “dubious distinction”. The distinction is crucial. Bombs that either explode on cue or commit hara-kiri when they fail are a wonderful measure of our superior intelligence. It is right and proper, on the other hand, that we ban the “dumb” bombs: they just add insult to injury.

11


Sexed up

The British ‘Iraq WMD dossier’: a final judgment

It has long been clear to anyone who bothered to examine the evidence for themselves that the British government’s notorious Iraq “dossier” of September 2002 was, in fact, “sexed up”, as the BBC had it – ie, deliberately exaggerated in its claims. I gave one example of how this happened, involving a certain A. Campbell, in my post Cynicism of February 2006. Now a British researcher, Chris Ames, has launched a website, Iraq Dossier, bringing together all the documentary evidence currently available, some of which he has uncovered himself by pestering the government with Freedom of Information requests.

I haven’t read the entire site, but something I did find illuminating was Ames’s analysis of how the vocabulary used to express varying levels of confidence about key claims changed through the drafting process. For the spooks there was a simple rule: to say intelligence indicates x or intelligence suggests x was understood to be more tentative, implying less evidence for the claim, than saying intelligence shows x, which was code for high confidence that x was true. Funnily enough, where the original JIC assessments used the lower-confidence language, the published dossier regularly hardened the claims into statements that “intelligence shows” what the intelligence did not, in fact, show, in the special sense of that word. Ames concludes:

Where the JIC said it is possible or intelligence indicates, the dossier said we judge and/or intelligence shows or intelligence confirms. Blair’s claim about the ongoing production of WMD went from being something that intelligence indicated to something that was judged from intelligence to something that intelligence showed to something “established beyond doubt”.

As I wrote last year, this process, in which judgments of possibility were hardened into claims of certain fact, was not merely a matter of “presentation” or “spin” or “strengthening” language – although it’s interesting in itself that admitting “spin” is the best defence available to the perpetrators. But it was not just “spin”: it was a deliberate misrepresentation of what the government actually knew at the time.

And here we come to the sorry topic of lying. Careful people often point out that to say “Bush and Blair lied about the existence of WMD” is not true, because both men likely did believe that there were “WMD” in Iraq. There is no evidence that Bush and Blair knew there were no “WMD” and claimed nonetheless that there were. Unfortunately, this accurate point is often used as if it proves that there was no transatlantic lying going on at all. But of course, there was. Where the lying comes in is in the substantive and unwarranted changes made to the expression of intelligence claims. In the September 2002 “dossier”, the British government persistently claimed that it knew for certain what it did not, in fact, know for certain – and knew that it did not know for certain. ((Cf Donald Rumsfeld, epistemologist.)) So this was – to put it no more delicately than it deserves – a pack of lies.

You can see the process at work in microcosm in the evolution of the title itself, as I noted in Unspeak. The original JIC assessment was headed “Iraqi use of Chemical and Biological Weapons – Possible Scenarios”, which became “Iraq’s Programme for Weapons of Mass Destruction”, which became, in the published version, simply “Iraq’s Weapons of Mass Destruction”. Note that even if there had been “WMD” found after the invasion, the government’s claims about the strength of the evidence they had for the existence of such weapons before the invasion would still have been lies. The “dossier” was itself nothing other than a cynically engineered, weaponized salvo of Unspeak, a pamphlet to sell a war.

7


Post-normal

Science, values, and “Melanie” again

Global warming is so important that scientists need to practice “post-normal” science. So writes Mike Hulme, professor in the school of environmental sciences at the University of East Anglia and the founding director of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research. We need to recognise, he argues, two aspects of science: “scientific knowledge is always provisional knowledge, and […] it can be modified through its interaction with society”. That second point sounds a bit odd. He explains it further:

The other important characteristic of scientific knowledge – its openness to change as it rubs up against society – is rather harder to handle. Philosophers and practitioners of science have identified this particular mode of scientific activity as one that occurs where the stakes are high, uncertainties large and decisions urgent, and where values are embedded in the way science is done and spoken.

It has been labelled “post-normal” science. Climate change seems to fall in this category. Disputes in post-normal science focus as often on the process of science – who gets funded, who evaluates quality, who has the ear of policy – as on the facts of science. […]

Too often with climate change, genuine and necessary debates about these wider social values – do we have confidence in technology; do we believe in collective action over private enterprise; do we believe we carry obligations to people invisible to us in geography and time? – masquerade as disputes about scientific truth and error.

The danger of a “normal” reading of science is that it assumes science can first find truth, then speak truth to power, and that truth-based policy will then follow. […] If the battle of science is won, then the war of values will be won.

If only climate change were such a phenomenon and if only science held such an ascendancy over our personal, social and political life and decisions. In fact, in order to make progress about how we manage climate change we have to take science off centre stage. […]

Two years ago, Tony Blair announced the large, government-backed international climate change conference in Exeter by asking for the conference scientists to “identify what level of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere is self-evidently too much”.

This is the wrong question to ask of science. Self-evidently dangerous climate change will not emerge from a normal scientific process of truth seeking, although science will gain some insights into the question if it recognises the socially contingent dimensions of a post-normal science. But to proffer such insights, scientists – and politicians – must trade (normal) truth for influence. If scientists want to remain listened to, to bear influence on policy, they must recognise the social limits of their truth seeking and reveal fully the values and beliefs they bring to their scientific activity.

If I understand him correctly, Hulme is making some uncontroversial points about how science is itself a social institution predicated on certain values, and how scientific findings in themselves do not recommend any particular political course of action. After science has found its (provisional) truth, the public debate about what is to be done in regard to that truth has yet to start. All this is perfectly reasonable. Yet the way Hulme makes these points is bizarre, to say the least. Scientists must therefore “trade (normal) truth for influence”? What would this involve? Abandoning established theories and becoming mere propagandists? Are scientists not already able to exert “influence” in the public sphere without having to “trade” away truth in return? I think the climatologists at Realclimate might have something to say about that. Indeed, happily to accept, as Hulme seems to accept, that “truth” and “influence” are mutually exclusive looks like a surrender to politics at its most egregious: the politics of Unspeak on both sides and nothing more.

And then there is this sentence, glutinously tricky to parse:

Self-evidently dangerous climate change will not emerge from a normal scientific process of truth seeking

Eh? What will not emerge, exactly? Is he talking about “dangerous climate change” itself? I suppose he can’t be: it wouldn’t be very novel to insist that the scientific process in itself does not heat the planet much. He must mean that a convincing theory of “dangerous climate change” will not emerge from “normal” science. But the somewhat obscure compression of this phrase is, I think, dangerous in itself. The idea is visible when we concentrate on the word “dangerous”, and notice that the sentence is properly punctuated, though it is easy to read it as though there were a comma after “Self-evidently”. But he is not saying “It is evident that…” He is saying that self-evidently dangerous climate change, ie a picture of “climate change” that by itself uncontroversially implies peril, is not what is to be expected of science. Why? Because the word “dangerous” is a value judgment applied in the context of whether we as human beings fear what might happen to certain populations. Hulme’s point, then, is that science per se does not deal in calling things “dangerous” or otherwise. Just as science per se cannot tell Tony Blair what amount of some gas is “too much” – well, “too much” on what scale of judgment, from whose point of view? Nothing, in purely objective terms, is “too much” or “self-evidently dangerous”. (There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.) Science tells us that some or other thing is likely to happen: it’s then up to us whether we consider this sufficiently “dangerous”, ie contrary to our interests and those of future generations, to do something about it.

Again, read in this way, Hulme’s message is quite sensible, although again, the recommendation he draws from it – that, instead of retorting to Tony Blair “It’s your job to decide what is ‘too much’ based on the scenarios we predict for various levels”, scientists should shuck off their lab coats and start emoting about their own values – is dubious. More unfortunate, though, is the fact that his clotted style makes what he has written a hostage to morons. Just so, “Melanie Phillips” has leapt astraddle this sentence in shouting ecstasy:

What an admission! Let’s read that one again. Self-evidently dangerous climate change will not emerge from a normal scientific process of truth seeking. Of course not. The facts don’t support it. It’s not true. So, says Hulme, let’s abolish the need to establish the facts and the truth and impose the theory on the basis of — what’s that again — “values and beliefs”. In other words, climate change science has got to be anti-science. It’s got to be anti-truth. It’s got to be nothing more than an ideology.

Plainly this is not actually what Hulme means, but I fear it is a possible interpretation of his ill-crafted sentence. In subsequent posts, “Melanie” has been having satirical fun with the phrase “post-normal”, using it effectively to mean “bullshit”. And you know what? “She” is absolutely right to do so. “Post-normal” is an eye-poppingly stupid phrase to recommend for public consumption, inevitably calling to mind (even to minds finer than “Melanie”‘s) the word “postmodern”, and all the contempt for truth, justice and the free world that that word is vulgarly understood to label. If anything is “post-normal” here, I fear it is Hulme’s own prose.

32


Certain treatment

Khalid Sheikh Muhammad’s testimony

Khalid Sheikh Muhammad, thought to be the organiser of 9/11, finally appeared before a “Combatant Status Review Tribunal” last week to determine whether he is an “enemy combatant”. The Pentagon has released a partial transcript [pdf] of the proceedings. In a pre-written “statement” that was read out, Muhammad confessed to a very long list of crimes, including 9/11, the murder of Daniel Pearl, the “Shoe Bomber Operation”, the 2002 Bali nightclub bombing, assassination attempts against Pope John Paul II and Bill Clinton, and planning to destroy the Panama Canal, the Empire State Building, and Big Ben.

The US, of course, has been stupid as well as vicious, in that the torture of Muhammad between 2003 and 2006, when he was held in secret CIA facilities and subjected to forced partial drowning, renders his confession now worthless except as propaganda, as Dennis Perrin’s ferocious satire emphasizes. (The strange thing, I suppose, is that it remains good propaganda for all concerned: for Bush-Cheney and al-Qaeda both. So maybe saying that the US was stupid to torture him is a bit hasty.)

The parts of the Tribunal hearing in which Muhammad explained his torture are [REDACTED] in the transcript. The Tribunal President introduces the subject with delicacy, enquiring about “certain treatment” that Muhammad had “received”:

PRESIDENT: D-d, appears to be a written statement regarding certain treatment that you claim to have received at the hands of agents of the United States government as you indicated from the time of your capture in 2003 up until before coming here to Guantanamo in September 2006. Is that correct?

DETAINEE: Yes.

PRESIDENT: Alright. Now, I haven’t seen any statements in the evidence we receive so far that claim to come from you other than acknowledging whether you were or not the head of the Military Committee [of al-Qaeda]. Were any statements that you made as the result of any of the treatment that you received during that time frame from 2003 to 2006? Did you make those statements because of the treatment you receive from these people?

DETAINEE: Statement for whom?

PRESIDENT: To any of these interrogators.

DETAINEE: CIA peoples. Yes. At the beginning when they transferred me [REDACTED].

PRESIDENT: What I’m trying to get at is any statement that you made was it because of this treatment, to use your word, you claim torture. Do you make any statements because of that?

TRANSLATOR: Sir, for clarification.

PRESIDENT: Can you translate it?

TRANSLATOR: I will translate in Arabic.

PRESIDENT: Yes.

TRANSLATOR: [Translating above]

DETAINEE: I ah cannot remember now [REDACTED] I’m senior man. Many people they know me which I don’t them. I ask him even if he knew George Bush. He said, yes I do. He don’t know you that not means its false. [REDACTED]. I said yes or not. This I said.

PRESIDENT: Alright, I understand.

It’s nice that the President understands, even if we, not privy to what is [REDACTED], do not. Note again, however, the subtlety of couching the topic in terms of “treatment” that Muhammad had “received”, which is more usually a way of talking about, say, medical help. Thankfully, this form of words also keeps the perpetrators of the “treatment” out of everyone’s minds.

Muhammad’s final statement was remarkable for its climactic accusation that “the Americans” had started the first and second world wars. But before that he had made some interesting points:

DETAINEE: What I wrote here, is not I’m making myself hero, when I said I was responsible for this or that. But you are military man. You know very well there are language for any war. So, there are, we are when I admitting these things I’m not saying I’m not did it. I did it but this the language of any war.

War and killing are, on this argument, a form of “language”. Well, this is also apparently the view of Tony Blair.

If America they want to invade Iraq they will not send for Saddam roses or kisses they send for a bombardment. This is the best way if I want. If I’m fighting for anybody admit to them I’m American enemies. For sure, I’m American enemies.

He seems quite frank.

I consider myself, for what you are doing, a religious thing as you consider us fundamentalist. So, we derive from religious leading that we consider we and George Washington doing same thing. As consider George Washington as hero. Muslims many of them are considering Usama bin Laden. […]

Why George Washington and not George W. Bush?

So when we say we are enemy combatant, that right. We are. But I’m asking you again to be fair with many Detainees which are not enemy combatant. Because many of them have been unjustly arrested. Many, not one or two or three. […] But when you said I’m terrorist, I think it is deceiving peoples. Terrorists, enemy combatant. All these definitions as CIA you can make whatever you want.

Quite so. See Unspeak, Chapters 6 & 7.

So, finally it’s your war but the problem is no definitions of many words.

Indeed. Even the definition of the word “war” itself is actually rather fluid around the corridors of Justice and the White House.

It would be widely definite that many people be oppressed. Because war, for sure, there will be victims. When I said I’m not happy that three thousand been killed in America. I feel sorry even. I don’t like to kill children and the kids.

Killing children and the kids does seem rather excessive, doesn’t it?

Never Islam are, give me green light to kill peoples. Killing, as in the Christianity, Jews, and Islam, are prohibited. But there are exception of rule when you are killing people in Iraq. You said we have to do it. We don’t like Saddam. But this is the way to deal with Saddam. Same thing you are saying. Same language you use, I use.

“Killing is against our rules, but it’s against your rules too, and you break your rules, so we have a right to break ours, nyah nyah.” I’m not sure why Islam’s God should be expected to forgive someone for breaking his rules just because some other people who worship a different God break that God’s rules. But then, I’m no theologian.

When you are invading two-thirds of Mexican, you call your war manifest destiny. It up to you to call it what you want. But other side are calling you oppressors. If now George Washington. If now we were living in the Revolutionary War and George Washington he being arrested through Britain. For sure he, they would consider him enemy combatant. But American they consider him as hero. […] This is why the language of any war in the world is killing. I mean the language of war is victims.

What is “the language of war” again? Is it phrases like “enemy combatants” or the actual killing of people, or is it now “victims”? I’m confused. Perhaps you would be too, after years of torture.

I don’t like to kill people. I feel very sorry they been killed kids in 9/11. What I will do? This is the language. Sometimes I want to make great awakening between American to stop foreign policy in our land.

That’s a coincidence – George W. Bush has been speaking of a great awakening too. Perhaps they can get together and hash something out.

I know American people are torturing us from seventies. [REDACTED] I know they talking about human rights. And I know it is against American Constitution, against American laws. But they said every law, they have exceptions, this is your bad luck you been part of the exception of our laws. […] So enemy combatant itself, it flexible word.

Flexible it certainly is.

So I think God knows that many who been arrested, they been unjustly arrested.

Yep. God knows. [REDACTED].

10


Infinitely more

“Melanie” is choking to death

After a frustrating hiatus on “her” blog, “Melanie Phillips” is back, and she’s very excited. Excited about what?

Channel Four’s devastating documentary The Great Global Warming Swindle has blown an enormous hole in every fundamental claim made to support the climate change obsession — including the claim that the argument is over. A procession of eminent scientists — climatologists, meteorologists, oceanographers, geologists, biogeographers, astrophysicists, professors of earth science, plus the former head of Greenpeace, who said that the global warming proponents were ‘anti-human’ — showed on the contrary that the theory bore no relation to science whatsoever. The earth was much warmer during many periods in the past; the ice caps were always expanding and contracting and Greenland was much warmer 1,000 years ago; most of the atmosphere was not warming as much as surface temperatures; volcanoes, animals and vegetation each produced infinitely more carbon dioxide than human activity; carbon dioxide could not possibly be the culprit for climate change since historically the warming of the atmosphere preceded any increases in carbon dioxide, thus showing up a central claim made by Al Gore in his movie to be utter rubbish; and so on.

Yes, “Melanie”, bless her, is stamping with glee to have learned that “volcanoes, animals and vegetation each produced infinitely more carbon dioxide than human activity”. Infinitely more! Each of them! If you think you are breathing right now, you are deluding yourself, because there can be nothing but carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. In fact, given that three things are each producing “infinitely more” carbon dioxide than some finite level of carbon dioxide, there seems to be little room left in the whole universe for any other molecules than those of CO2.

Well, never mind that “Melanie” is a scientific and mathematical idiot. (Never mind, either, the fact that volcanoes actually don’t produce nearly as much CO2 as human activity, let alone “infinitely more”.) The documentary, which I have seen, was mere trash, whose one credited “Scientific Advisor” is a non-scientist from the “Scientific Alliance”, and whose one unarguable truth came in the introductory voiceover promising: “You are being told lies.” (The programme’s selective massaging of data, misleading of one of its contributors, and manifold outright deceptions are documented here, here and here.)

What is interesting to me is why global-warming denial, even on the risibly moronic level displayed by “Melanie”, should be so closely correlated with a whole raft of other opinions, such as that Muslims are taking over Europe or that it’s a good idea to bomb Iran. It’s one thing to muse about friends in oil companies when we see such opinions happily cohabiting in a US Republican. But why should “Melanie” be so invested in the idea that global warming is not happening? Is it mere hatred and fear of anyone who has an expertise that the generalist pundit lacks?

41


Transfini

RIP JB

Jean Baudrillard has died, aged 77. My obituary of him appears in the Guardian. Update: the piece was somewhat cut for publication. There follows the unedited version.

Jean Baudrillard’s death did not take place. “Dying is pointless,” he once wrote, “you have to know how to disappear.” The New Yorker reported a reading the French sociologist gave in a New York gallery in 2005. A man from the audience, with the recent death of Jacques Derrida in mind, mentioned obituaries, and asked Baudrillard: “What would you like to be said about you? In other words, who are you?” Baudrillard replied: “What I am, I don’t know. I am the simulacrum of myself.” continued »

13


They

Tricked by grammar?

From Milan Kundera’s new book, The Curtain: An Essay in Seven Parts:

You say they detest you? But what does “they” mean? Everyone detests you in a different way, and you can be sure that among them there are some who love you. Through its prestidigitation, grammar can transform a multitude of individuals into a single entity, a single subject, a single “subjectum” that is called “we” or “they” but that does not exist as a concrete reality. [pp 164-5]

Kundera goes on to celebrate how Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying, narrated as it is by a multitude of distinct individuals, shows an “inclination to demolish the grammatical trickery of the plural” (emphasis in original), but the application of his thought about “they” and “we” is obviously pertinent to contemporary political argument as well. It’s an interesting way to put it, coming as it does from a writer: that it is grammar itself, with its conjuring tricks, which is the enemy. But this reminded me of another more general recent argument that blames much of our philosophical bamboozlement, too, on the mere availability of certain linguistic operations. It occurs in John Searle’s new volume, Freedom And Neurobiology: Reflections on Free Will, Language, And Political Power:

In order to state how things are in the world we have to introduce general terms to describe how they are. Thus we say, “That is a horse”, or “That is green”. The introduction of general terms immediately allows us to form corresponding noun phrases and to use these expressions referentially. Instead of saying, “This is green”, we can say, “This object has the property of greenness” or “exemplifies the color green”; instead of saying, “That is a horse”, we can say, “That object has the property of being a horse”. The introduction of these abstract entities – the property of being green or the property of being a horse – does not introduce a new ontological realm but is just a manner of speaking. […] I cannot in this brief space tell how you much confusion has been generated over the centuries ranging from the Platonic doctrine of the universal forms right up to Quine’s criterion of ontological commitment. […] There is no separate realm of universals, but rather there are alternative ways of talking about the single realm in which we all live, the real world. [pp 24-5]

Are Kundera’s and Searle’s claims somehow related? Are they both describing species of Unspeak?

17


Conceptual

Shark tales

Written for this week’s New Statesman.

The Raw Shark Texts
by Steven Hall (Canongate)

“Conceptual art” was always a philistine misnomer, as though literature were not already conceptual art. Now, arriving on a tsunami of hype, comes the first novel by a young conceptual artist, which riffs on the idea of a “conceptual shark” (d’après Damien Hirst’s famous pickled fish) and transforms it into a book. Will the execution, as is so often the case with conceptual art, turn out to be secondary to the idea?

The idea itself is rather lovely. Imagine human communication – through books, speech, television, letters, everything – as a vast network of streams, rivers and oceans. Why should we assume this environment to be sterile? “Life will always find a way,” warns one of the novel’s characters; and indeed, these waters are home to numerous species of “thought-fish”. The most fearsome is the “Ludovician”, the conceptual shark itself, which feeds on people’s personalities and leaves them empty, amnesiac husks, to be misdiagnosed by passing psychiatrists – hence the title’s punning allusion to the Rorschach ink-blot test.

Such an empty husk is Eric Sanderson, who wakes up at the novel’s beginning not knowing who or where he is. Gradually he starts to receive letters from his former self, “The First Eric Sanderson”, whose personality was eaten by the shark. The letters contain tips and clues to re-educate his amnesiac future self in the lore of the Ludovician, and send him on a quest to defeat it. continued »

10



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