GHOST FLEET: A Novel of the Next World War | P.W. Singer & August Cole, William Morrow Publishing (2016), 416p.
Admiral Stavridis called this novel a “startling blueprint;” I call it the scariest book I have read. This pair of authors penned a techno-thriller of a war that China unleashes on the U.S. with startling success, leveraging their technologies to exploit our dependence on porous software and chip components.
As one would expect, Russia is China’s ally. After replacing the U.S. as a dominant world power, they use fear to reduce barriers to energy resources their homeland desperately needs.
As occupiers, the Eastern alliance conducts operations typical within its historical culture, which is to say, without regard for the dignity of human life.
The only thing scarier than the plot narrative is that this book was written eight years ago. It uniquely has 382 endnotes, many linking to the background of the underreported capabilities of now nearly a decade-old technologies. However, like any effective story, it is not the tale of machines but a drama about vivid characters and their human reactions to the events and environment that unfold.
Written with the pacing style of a Tom Clancy novel, it moves quickly and relies upon some extraordinary assumptions. These devices are fundamental to the genre and why we can still consider these pieces fiction. Yet this one engages the imagination strongly enough to ponder if art is - yet again - merely predicting reality.