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Frank Herbert's McKie stories

The main theme of the two principal Jorj X. McKie stories, Whipping Star and The Dosadi Experiment, is the Bureau of Sabotage, an interesting concept in government that is kind of like a ninja GAO.

The idea is that all governments and other bureaucracies tend to snowball over time, finally becoming juggernauts that crush mere humans unthinkingly. So the Bureau of Sabotage was founded with a legal right to throw wrenches into the gears of bureaucracies. No agency can sabotage the BuSab itself.

So what keeps the BuSab from turning into a juggernaut? Their promotion policy. The way you get promoted is to sabotage your boss.

The Dosadi Experiment has another theme that I feel is highly relevant to modern life. Dosadi is sort of a planet-sized version of South Central LA. It is cut off from the rest of galactic civilization, quarantined as a nasty social experiment. Some evil scientists created it deliberately as a pressure cooker to see what happens. What happened is that the natives of Dosadi have such extreme survival skills that they are now a lot nastier than the people who run galactic civilization, and it is getting harder to keep them contained. McKie of the BuSab is used to dealing with the nastier sorts outside Dosadi, but he suspects that the Dosadis may be more than he can handle.


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See also: Favorite science fiction authors: Frank Herbert
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John W. Shipman, john@nmt.edu
Last updated: 2001/09/20 23:31:14
URL: http://www.nmt.edu/~shipman/reading/mckie.html