Call Them Soldiers

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Call Them Soldiers is a fictional work-in-progress by Christopher Rozruch AKA Rob Ward, editor of Marginálie. First conceived in 2007-08 when he was watching what he thought to be the effect of Facebook on a complicated community (actually, as most communities are, a system of sometimes overlapping, sometimes mutually-exclusive cliques) in a college for young adults with behavioural problems and neurodevelopmental conditions ran by sectarian hippies in the British West Midlands. It examines the effect of technology in an England in the mid twenty first century where the structures of government and the economy are augmented by virtual reality. It came alive again in 2017 with the fall out from Brexit and the US presidential election of 2016. It is set in Manchester with a narrative frame in a Choctaw settlement in the Yukon. In fact in this latest telling, Manchester is inevitably a palimpsest of Prague. Since Manchester's history, looking back from the end of the [21] fifties 'rhymes' with the totalitarian history of Prague, and since, setting the beginnings of the future perfect from our vantage point, the city has in that time been more or less reconstructed in accordance with the needs of England's Contractual Parliamentary system, this seems appropriate.

The Call Them Soldiers manuscripts which are discussed in the narrative frame of the foreword and which are scheduled to follow it, bring us into a Manchester where the Eudaemon social network is disruptively extending itself into even those areas it has previously left untouched. Thus, our narrator, Dodds, a christian who lives in the Christian Quadrant and works for the Underground University, changes jobs and gets himself a Eudaemon PA before finding that he is regularly thrown into conflict with his conscience. We see him struggle to maintain his autonomy and his authenticity. In the process we see the people he comes into contact with, including the twins, Rosa and Sissy, one of whom, ostensibly invisible to the Eudaemon and the English bureaucracy, forms a significant part of the burden of his role in the Underground University. We see Private Beardshaw, a soldier with the Conscience Round Corp of the English Army who is said to have killed a man and raped a woman in the Manchester M3 "Malfeasanctuary", one of the many reservations for those who have declined to sign their citizen contract, possibly while suffering from "superpositional anxiety". We travel through the various layers of the society of this brave new world of contractual England, coming into contact with its ordinary people, its elites, and its dissidents, as well as, if only through glimpses into the negative space, with the submerged population groups who have been marginalised or variously "deprecated". We learn what it is to be a naked mole rat, at least from the perspective of the great unwashed of the malfeasanctuaries and, perhaps, some of those who may be destined to wind up there. We take a look, in other words, at where we might be going from here.

Parts of the novel are being developed on Marginálie.


Call Them Soldiers - reanimated

A torrent for an audio podcast about the "reanimation" of Call Them Soldiers in the summer of 2017, may be downloaded by torrent here and streamed, torrented, or downloaded from the Internet Archive, here.

Call Them Soldiers - a dilemma

A video podcast about the state of Call Them Soldiers and Marginálie at the end of February, 2018, may be seen on The Internet Archive, here. (Notes)