The Old Lie

Publication Type
Technologies referenced
Description (in English)

Claire G. Coleman is a Noongar author whose family was in South-West Australia long before white settlers arrived. Her novel, The Old Lie, is told from the perspective of indigenous Australians who are soldiers and refugees in an interstellar war between two factions, neither of which recognises humans as full citizens. It is set in a near future where Earth has been attacked by aliens in "The Conglomoration", who ruthlessly slaughter a large portion of the human population. An opposing faction, The Federation, show up and fight back, forcing The Conglomoration away from Earth. Humans, including our indigenous Australian protagonists, are then recruited into the Federation military to continue the flight against the Conglomoration. However, the Federation only accepts humans as probational citizens, and the entire human species is treated very similarly to the way white settlers in Australia treated indigenous Australians.

The title, The Old Lie, references Wilfred Owen's first world war poetry, and the first half of the novel is very reminiscent of his devestating, grimy, ignoble descriptions of war. There is mud and squalour and defeat and no glory at all. In the second half of the novel we begin to understand the connections between the separate protagonists, and rescues and escapes are attempted.

The technology is not foregrounded. There is the expected space opera technology, force fields, hyperdrives, superior alien medical technology and so on, but there are also phones. Harper's hacking into alien technologies is key, and another important plot point is the Federation's having locked off communication between Earth and the rest of the Federation, meaning that human soldiers can't communicate with their families and find out how terribly they have been treated.

The only machine vision technology mentioned is when William, a surgeon being held captive by the Federation and forced to participate in medical experiments on other humans, kills himself and worries that there may be a night-vision camera in his cell, which might notify his captors who might stop him committing suicide.

Situation machine vision is used in

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