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Lockdown reading : Centenal

In this series I’ll mention some books I found entertaining, stimulating or comforting during these Corona times. Read them at your own risk.



The Centenal Cycle is a trilogy written by Malka Older.

A Centenal is the basic political unit of a future micro-democracy. It is a neighbourhood consisting of 100.000 people which can vote for any government it wants, from anywhere in the world.

“Centenal-based microdemocracy naturally requires extensive use of technology. In my book, it’s provided through a massive international bureaucracy known as Information, which offers voters data about the thousands of possible governments and helps those governments manage what may be far-flung territories once they’re elected.” (Malka Older)

In this trilogy Malka Older draws from her own life: she obtained a Ph. D. from Sciences Po exploring the dynamics of multi-level governance and disaster response, and has more than a decade of experience in humanitarian aid and development.

The Centenal Cycle consists of these three books:

Infomocracy (2016) (link containing excerpts).



It’s been twenty years and two election cycles since Information, a powerful search engine monopoly, pioneered the switch from warring nation-states to global micro-democracy. The corporate coalition party Heritage has won the last two elections. With another election on the horizon, the Supermajority is in tight contention, and everything’s on the line.

Null States (2017).



The future of democracy is about to implode.

After the last controversial global election, the global infomocracy that has ensured thirty years of world peace is fraying at the edges. As the new Supermajority government struggles to establish its legitimacy, agents of Information across the globe strive to keep the peace and maintain the flows of data that feed the new world order.

State Tectonics (2018) (link containing excerpts).



The future of democracy must evolve or die.

The last time Information held an election, a global network outage, two counts of sabotage by major world governments, and a devastating earthquake almost shook micro-democracy apart. Five years later, it’s time to vote again, and the system that has ensured global peace for 25 years is more vulnerable than ever.

Here’s a short interview with Malka Older on Sci-Fi, AI and its possible uses in the writing process.

Here’s a longer clip in which she talks about ‘Speculative Resistance’ at the Personal Democracy Forum 2018.

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