Saturday, August 06, 2005

Nation Building For Fun And Profit

The Principality Of Sealand
I occasionally get interesting questions from readers, and I thought it might be fun to share some of my answers on the blog. First up is Jacob Esselstrom, who asks about Max's grand plan, as revealed in The Losers # 26 - so beware spoilers if you haven't read it! - and the Ukrainian ghost-town of Pripyat...

First, did you ever read G.I. JOE (or Action Force reprints maybe?) #40 & #41 from 1985 where Cobra tricks the Joes into bombing a fault line, causing a seismic event that raises "Cobra Island", giving Cobra a sovereign state and all the benefits?

Nope, never did. I guess the inspiration for Max's plan came from various different sources, including the concept of "data havens" from Bruce Sterling's ISLANDS IN THE NET (which I haven't read) and Neal Stephenson's CRYPTONOMICON; The Principality of Sealand, a thinly-disguised version of which appeared in The Losers # 21, and which coincidentally featured on the BBC show How To Build Your Own Country earlier this week; and, believe it or not, Lex Luthor's cunning plan in SUPERMAN THE MOVIE. "Otisburg...?"

Let's face it, all the really nasty shit done in the this world seems to be done by nation states, not individuals; so if you really want to be a world-class shithead, you need your own country, right?

Second, I have to assume that you have seen this site:

Yep, that is indeed one of the links I sent Colin Wilson for visual reference of the real-world Ukrainian ghost town of Pripyat. In fact, it's referenced in The Losers # 26 (albeit somewhat obliquely) when Roque's henchman says the intruders might be "those bikers again."

There are a couple more good Pripyat sites here and here ; and an amazing panoramic cityscape photo of Pripyat here.

I'd never even heard of Pripyat until my good friend Rich McTighe told me about it and suggested it'd make an excellent location for a Losers story. And he was right! Cheers Rich!

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