The Holy Landby Robert Zubrin
What if Americans were the terrorists, and a more civilized superpower found it necessary to put us down? What if contemporary Christian ministers preached salvation through murder of non-believing foreigners, and the US government recruited child suicide-assassins for this purpose? If you were an American living in such a crazed society, what would you do? If you were a civilized outsider, how would you deal with these insane savages?
The Holy Land poses such predicaments, and more. In an attempt to save the Minervans from oppression in the central galaxy, the liberal Western Galactic Empire has relocated the sect to their ancient homeland of Kennewick, Washington. The fundamentalist fanatics ruling the USA find the presence of pagans in the holy city intolerable, however, and they launch an interstellar campaign of mass destruction in protest. Now, cast in a universe gone mad, the primitive Earthling POW Sergeant Hamilton and his case officer, the sophisticated Minervan priestess (3rd class) Aurora, must find the way out, or neither side will survive.
In this madcap role-reversed science-fiction satire on the Mideast crisis and the War on Terrorism, the gloves come off. Written with wit and verve by Heinlein Award winner Robert Zubrin, the author of The Case for Mars, Entering Space, and First Landing, The Holy Land takes science fiction back to its Swiftian roots. Rarely since Czech humanist Karel Capek aimed his 1936 War with the Newts at fascism and appeasement has the medium been mobilized to such pointed effect.
"A satiric tour de force" - School Library Journal
"The duplicity, mendacity, and hypocrisy that characterize the present predicament in the Middle East are laid bare in Zubrin's engaing romp, with verve and biting wit." - National Review Online
"Nothing is spared from Zubrin's satiric pen: religion, politics, economics, sex, war, psychology, philosophy - all are the objects of his barbs....The Holy Land is a surprisingly fine follow-up to Zubrin's other fictional and non-fiction works." - The Rocky Mountain News
"It's a hoot." - The San Diego Union-Tribune.
- Polaris Books
- Publication date:
- Edition description:
- New Edition
- Product dimensions:
- 0.70(w) x 9.00(h) x 6.00(d)
- Age Range:
- 9 - 18 Years
Meet the Author
Robert Zubrin, formerly a senior engineer at Lockheed Martin, is the founder of Pioneer Astronautics, a space-exploration research and development firm. Currently President of the Mars Society, Dr. Zubrin lives in Golden, Colorado.
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First thing to say about this is it is NOT your ordinary political satire. Unlike many of today's popular political satirists, Zubrin doesn't toe the party line or take sides, indeed, he makes fun of everyone. If you're the politically opinionated sort, you may find yourself offended when he makes fun of your views -- and laugh hard enough to forgive him when he makes fun of the opposing viewpoint, too. Zubrin tells the story of the middle east exactly as it is, without any regard for political correctness, and that is what makes it so brilliantly hilarious. While satirical, The Holy Land makes little exaggeration, but merely enlightens us to the painful truth -- our situation may indeed be so ridiculous that it doesn't NEED exaggeration. Beyond the politics, the story is filled with zounds of smaller symbols and even 'inside jokes' -- events that are everyday life to the characters but will leave the reader howling with laughter.
Bravo to Robert Zubrin for forcing us to see the world through alien eyes. In ¿The Holy Land¿, Zubrin gives us a brilliant parody on the war on terror by placing Americans in the role of religious suicidal extremists ¿ a role we seem more apt to fulfill everyday ¿ and the Western Galactic Empire in the role of benign but stupidly arrogant peacemaker. There are parallels here to almost every aspect of our modern political world. The book pivots a zealous American President against a small group of space refugees (the Minervans) who have made a home for themselves in the Washington town of Kennewick. The religious war to expel these relatively peaceful 'pagans' attracts the attention of the hugely powerful but inept Western Galactic Empire after Christian suicidal bombers, in a bid to get the galaxy's attention, destroys one of the empire¿s inhabited planets. The WGE, or Weegees as they are called, are unwilling to offend either side (mostly because they need to keep up their lucrative trade in ¿helicity¿ that was discovered under the soil of the United States,) and this just causes the bloodbath to get worse. Caught in the middle is the story of POW sergeant Andrew Hamilton and his beautiful Minervian captor Aurora. Their growing admiration and respect for each other takes the book into some hilarious situations; Earthlings stink so horribly to Minervians and their minds are so chaotic that the idea of loving such a ¿savage¿ is repugnant. Aurora, however, can¿t help but fall for this proud, if primitive, soldier who tries so hard to prove to her that he is a ¿human being¿. ¿The Holy Land¿ is a satirical masterpiece, a funny romp that uses science fiction to get it¿s points across while never ceasing to entertain us with lovable characters, despicable villains, and a compelling story of galactic war. At times the book makes its readers teary-eyed with laughter, other times frustrated with the outrageous behavior of humans and aliens alike - it is in this frustration when Zubrin¿s brilliance most clearly shines, for we are forced to see the ridiculousness of our own world situation. What ¿Dr. Strangelove¿ was to the cold war, ¿The Holy Land¿ is to the war on terror and the clash of civilizations.
Robert Zubrin's new book, 'The Holy Land', satirizes the conflict in the Middle East, specifically the troubles between Israel and the Palestinians. How, one would think, can a person make fun of this particularly sensitive subject? Zubrin succeeds by turning it into a darkly humorous science fiction tale of an alien race who settle in the town of Kennewick, New Jersey, stating that this is their promised land and theirs by right because it is written in their holy scriptures. The US administration is understandably perturbed by these events, and led by a crusading fanatical Christian President, go to extraordinary lengths to have the plight of the displaced Kennewickian residents brought to the attention of the Galactic media, while also plotting their own gains from the situation. Zubrin has created a story which can switch from amusement to disbelief to shock and back again in a single page. He parallels the methods and events which have so defined the Israeli/Palestinian conflict to degrees which even in the satirical world could be considered disturbing, but somehow manages to keep the reader at a safe distance, mirroring the sanitization of such horrors as suicide bombings which today's media have learned to do so well. This distancing of the reader to the events is achieved in Zubrin's style of writing. I am, in this respect, reminded particularly of The Crystal World by J.G. Ballard, a story which was so fantastic, and yet written with a childlike simplicity which made the abnormal seem normal and didn't allow the reader to pause and think enough to stop believing in it. Zubrin gets the same results - his Ballard-like storytelling sets the pace and 'The Holy Land' plays out like a well oiled machine. I am also reminded of a satirical television mini- series from the U.K back in the early 80's, called 'Whoops! Apocalypse'. The storyline was ridiculous, the acting was over the top, but somehow you could imagine that things could really be that way - the insanity of crazed politicians and an over zealous military steaming full ahead with utter righteous conviction towards annihilation. 'The Holy Land' takes satire to a new extreme, giving the reader the opportunity to be both amused and horrified, turning the tables on a far away conflict and bringing it close to home, not just physically, but socially and psychologically as well, at times begging the question 'is this really how things are?'. The story is sufficiently different to be fiction, sufficiently the same to hit home. Congratulations Mr. Zubrin, you stepped over the line in the sand and drew another one for everyone else to try and cross.
Move over Kurt Vonnegut! I never imagined a book about the War on Terrorism could be funny, but 'The Holy Land' is a total hoot. Zubrin's satiric wit is absolutely mercilous, and brilliantly equally offensive to all the deserving parties. I couldn't put this book down. Parts of it had me literally rolling on the floor with laughter, and parts had me in tears. I predict this book will be a classic. Bravo!
Reviewed by: Betsie of Betsie's Literary Page Highly Recommended 5 out of 5 points A thought-provoking political satire regarding the state of the Middle East as well as a look at the sometimes perceived ¿holy war¿ that the United States is currently engaged in. Imagine if you would a place where there is no separation of church and state. Imagine also that in that place young children are martyred ¿ in exchange for a ¿handsome cash bonus, guaranteed, within 10 business days of the event.¿ Imagine now a place where the sound of a blaring siren fills the air as the inhabitants of that place drop to their knees and chant in the direction of a place perceived as ¿the Holy Land.¿ Now I must ask you to imagine that this place is ¿ the United States of America! This is a story primarily about two peoples, the inhabitants of Kennewick, Washington and the Minervans. The Kennewickians are earthlings that simply reside in or come from Kennewick and the Minervans are ¿refugees¿ from a distant planet who claim that Kennewick is their ancient homeland ¿ and they want it back! In this struggle, both sides are equally repulsive in many ways to each other. The Politicians from the United States, who are driven by greed and media image, cannot defeat the Minervans through forceful military means, mainly because the Minervans are telepaths and are well aware of the soldiers thoughts as they engage in combat. Therefore they use the Kennewickians as pawns in this despicable ¿chess game¿. The American politicians send the Kennewickians off to a refugee camp to make the Minervans feel remorse for what they are doing. They also send in children as martyrs, again to make the Minervans feel bad. The Minervans hail from the Central Galactic Empire ¿ which is part of a conglomerate of planets organized to monitor and sometimes regulate the activities of their subjects, with the liberal Western Galactic Empire in the lead role. The Western Galactic Empire, although they are technically advanced and able to control the thoughts and actions of the Kennewickians, ultimately controls the Minervans. They too become pawns in this battle for Kennewick. As the two political battles are waged, enter our two main characters. Sergeant Andrew Hamilton, a POW from a failed attempt to defeat the Minervans and Priestess 3rd Class Aurora, she is the Minervan who captured this Army Ranger to keep as a ¿study specimen¿ with the hopes of making him ¿human¿. Can these two individuals stop the decay that threatens the galaxy? Well, the ending will definitely surprise you and the journey from the first page to the last will be enjoyable. This book captivated me and took my thought process to a higher level. Robert Zubrin¿s book should find a place at the top of your ¿Must Read¿ list. Written in a way that can satisfy a multitude of genres, target audiences and age groups, ¿The Holy Land¿ has something for every one.
The space wandering Miniervans claim that Kennewick, Washington is their ancestral holy land that they still own. They hope to finally live in peace after a galactic empire tried to exterminate them. Instead of finding a land of milk and honey, the American government begins a campaign to kick the Miniervans off the continent partly because the ¿outsiders¿ behave with an attitude of superiority and racism towards others. The ensuing war fails to evict the Miniervans from their new home. Frustrated the Fundamentalists running the American government force the dislocated Kennewickians into squalid camps where the young are trained in guerilla tactics and hatred towards the usurpers. The other galactic races are appalled by the constant deaths of the Kennewickians at the hands of the technological superior Minervans though the latter merely defend themselves from suicide assaults encouraged by the US government. The superpower the Western Galactic Empire demands human rights for the displaced. That changes when helicity is discovered on earth as that valuable resource is more important than an individual¿s dignity. THE HOLY LAND is a powerful science fiction political satire that relocates the players in the Arab-Israeli dispute inside a galaxy filled with plenty of nations and one superpower. The story line cleverly rips all sides in the real world maelstrom though the Miniervans come off a bit less shredded. Fans who appreciate a strong lampoon of the inanity of the United States, Israel, Palestine, and the other Arab nations for what they have done to people in the invoking of an ism (ideologically stupid morons) will enjoy this tale that feels like Jonathan Swift¿s A Modest Proposal placed in a future context. Harriet Klausner
Zubrin does a fine job of blending the satire and sci-fi genres into one cohesive novel with Holy Land. I'm sure most of you are wondering what this reads like, well thinking something along the lines of Swift meets Bradbury... The tongue-in-cheek satire is definitely there throughout the whole story with a huge amount of sci-fi action/drama. The plot involves the struggle between the United States Government (Arabs) and the Minervans (Jews) fighting for Kennewick, Washington (Israel). The Western Galactic Empire (USA) is forced to intervene and all kinds of crazy hell break loose... There are many crazy twists that will make you laugh, and many parts that will cause you to cringe. Overall, Holy Land takes a fairly liberal view at the War on Terrorism and shows how hypocritical the all of the participants have been and continue to be. With that said, the first 100 pages are a little tedious (not very much action). After that the novel picks up pace and becomes very fluid. Buy it, you wont be sorry!