Monday, September 21, 2015

Odds Are Against Us

Review: Caliphate by Tom Kratman


Those who are concerned about the flood of "Syrian" refugees being predominantly single and male may be missing the point of the danger they represent. 

Kratman's novel Caliphate explores the future of Europe as a Muslin-dominated society, its Christian population relegated to second-class citizens. Multiple factors are the cause: different reproduction rates of the two groups, failure of Muslim immigrants to assimilate into the society they have joined, and the basic philosophy of Islam as antithetical to democracy. (In the afterword, Kratman adds another: the widespread choice of Christian Europeans for present-day benefits over the welfare of their grandchildren.)

You may debate Kratman's conclusions, but the information that triggers his story is incontestable. When I was a youngster, a similar tale by Cyril Kornbluth was titled Marching Morons. Whether the out-producing parents are Muslim or moron, the result is the same: you get more of whichever you breed more of. Eventually, moron or Muslim values and goals prevail, and society changes irrevocably.

I first read Caliphate in 2009, and enjoyed it more then as military sci-fi than as societal commentary. The story is gripping: two Christian children are removed from their parents in payment of the tax assessed on non-Muslim citizens in Germany. The boy becomes a janissary, "reverts" to Islam—and then becomes a rebel secret Christian again after he is forced to crucify a priest. The girl becomes a slave, first as a companion for a favored Muslim daughter, then as a sex slave in a brothel. Unlike her brother, the girl is allowed—even encouraged—to continue to display her Christian faith, as a titillation to her rapists.

Kratman avoids the "Evil Nazis/Good Allies" trap. The nastiest characters in the story are Christian (or at least non-Muslim) scientists eager to produce a biological weapon in exchange for money and "objects of lust." Slavery of the obvious kind is practiced by Christians from South Africa in support of the native slavery in the Muslim world. Chinese and Americans opposed to Islam use "chipped agents"—humans enslaved by control circuits built into them—to infiltrate the Islamic countries.

The action reads like a mashup of Spartacus, Where Eagles Dare, Andromeda Strain, and The Giver. But however you read the novel, you are left with the queasy realization that, while it may be fiction, it is far too close to real-world events to sleep easy at night.