Eavesdrop on the Characters from The Revisionists
Introducing the major players of The Revisionists, in their own words:
Republicans believe that the scariest thing in the world is an all-powerful, unfettered government crushing their freedom. Right? And Democrats believe that the scariest thing in the world is a group of all-powerful, unfettered corporations crushing their rights. What they don't want to admit is that the corporations and our government are completely intertwined: the modern corporatist state. (p. 206)
—T.J., bike messenger by day, freelance political activist and troublemaker by night. Lives with the constant awareness that he's being watched by powerful forces. Is right about that.
Here was what none of these peace activists wanted to admit, the thing they were simply too blind or angry or spoiled to realize: this life was the best it could possibly be. There were flaws, yes, and the world might not work for everyone all of the time, and innocent people occasionally suffered due to the callousness of fate or their fellow citizens, but what were the alternatives? What utopia were people like T.J. dreaming of when they railed against the minor problems of capitalism and democracy? Had they taken a look at the world around them? Didn't they realize how much better this was than any other country, any other system, any other way of life? Had they failed to notice that every time some mad dreamer took the reins of a country by revolution and promised his people a paradise on earth, he delivered the opposite? What these loony activists didn't realize was that if they lived in almost any other country, they already would have been arrested, tortured, and discarded. (p. 279)
—LEO, former CIA agent, now monitoring peace activists and hackers for an "entrepreneurial intelligence contractor." Hates his job.
She remembered when she was younger, all the collegiate energy, the anger at the rotten world, the desire to remake it. Even the smallest decision—going vegetarian (for one year) to save a few hundred animals or boycotting clothing chains that used sweatshops—seemed to carry enormous moral weight. Years later, she still considered herself a politically engaged citizen, but full-grown adults who even mentioned sweatshops tended to sound like teenagers chanting slogans at a rock concert, and people who didn't eat meat were a bitch to plan around at dinner parties. Bringing up the plight of the oppressed sounded ridiculous when buying five-hundred-thousand-dollar row houses in what had recently been dilapidated neighborhoods. Modern living made you choose between your morality and your desire to fit in, to not be a freak. But what if the freaks were right? (p.77)
—TASHA, corporate attorney, dealing with the loss of her brother in Iraq. Recently leaked sensitive documents about a war contractor to the press. About to get in a lot of trouble.
We help people filter information. Anyone can tap a phone, track an e-mail, but who can keep up with all that information? How do you differentiate the important shit from the unimportant shit without having ten thousand bored-to-tears analysts combing through meaningless babble, half ready to shoot themselves? When Orwell invented Big Brother, he must have imagined the guy was an amazingly fast reader with infinite patience. But he's not. My company invents the tools to filter things out, make it all intelligible, actionable. (p. 342)
—SENTRICK, former high-ranking officer with the National Security Agency, now head of a vaguely defined company called Enhanced Awareness.
Jakarta was my home. I grew up there. It felt safe to me, until one day it wasn't. That's the funny thing. Everyone knew we lived under a horrible tyrant—you weren't supposed to talk about it, but people would say things when they felt they could trust you. But then when the horrible tyrant finally stepped down, look what we did to each other. The riots. The burning. My mother. Maybe all those students and protesters were wrong. Maybe it was good to live under a dictator. So now I work in Washington. I'm learning that everywhere is just as bad as everywhere else. My employer hates me just because I'm not Korean. In North Korea they hated her just because her husband said something good about South Korea, or something. And here in America they'll hate me because I'm not American. (p. 247)
—SARI, abused servant for shady foreign diplomats. Needs to escape, but they took her passport and she doesn't speak English. Working with Leo on a dangerous escape plan.
I protect the Events. That's the most succinct way of putting it, and that's how my superiors at the Department first explained it to me. I used to know as little about these particular Events as anyone else did, but now I'm an expert on this era. I know why these people are fighting each other, why they hate those they hate, what they most fear. At least, that's what they told me in Training. Don't be intimidated, they said. You will know these people better than they know themselves. After all, how much do we truly know about what we're doing, and why, as we're actually doing it? It's only later, as we're looking back, that events fall into easily definable categories. Motive, desire, bias. Happenstance, randomness, intent. Cause and effect, ends and means. One thing this job has taught me is that when people are caught in the maddening swirl of time, they do what they need to do and invent their reasoning afterward. They exculpate themselves, claim they had no choice. They throw their hands up to the heavens or shrug that Events simply were what they were. They used to call it fate, or God, or Allah, though of course such talk is illegal now. Now. I barely know what the word means anymore. (p. 6)
—ZED, time traveler, officer for the Department of Historical Integrity. Currently working in present-day Washington to ensure that a horrible disaster unfolds as dictated by history, in order to protect his perfect future society. Patiently watching all of the above characters. Hates his job.