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Alan Moore

V for Vendetta

I expected more. The first half is really bad - the setting, premises, characters, dialogues… The second half is less bad, but still overall very shallow, naive and full of clichés. I read online that the movie is a copy that did not do justice to the source, and that’s why I was inclined to read it in the first place. It turned out that the source isn’t so good itself.

Some of the premises:

Late in the 1980s, there was a nuclear war, Africa is “gone”, and Europe is also “gone”. Other continents are not mentioned, but they are possibly also “gone”. Fortunately, several years before the war, Labour government that took charge from Tories (in 1983) negotiated removal of USA nuclear missiles from the UK, so British isles were spared from the war and thus they are not “gone”, but they suffered some (brief) hardships such as floods, yellow skies and famines.

Less then decade since the war, after couple of years of turmoil and unrest, a totalitarian government is in charge of England, which is run as fascist capitalist state. Even though there is no international contact or trade (because everyone else is probably “gone”), England is seemingly technologically as modern and tech-dependent as before the war (people go to work, have electricity, watch tv, tv shows are produced, there is hi-tech surveillance everywhere…).

Less then 10 years have passed since the war and about 5 since the fascists took over, but the contemporary society is thoroughly cleansed of all remnants of pre war pop-culture, literature, music… as if generations have passed in between, and not just mere years.

England’s dictator and a leader of Norsfire party Adam Susan runs the country with help of a super-computer called Fate. Susan is a caricature of a man, he shuns all contact with women (probably secretly gay), is still a virgin and is in love with a computer (Fate). Yes, he is lovingly looking at a terminal and whispering tender words to it.

V, a masked man, is the story’s main protagonist. Some time after Norsefire took control of England (probably about 5 years before the story starts), V was interned with other undesirables in a concentration camp. There, the state sponsored some nonsense experiments, administering magical drugs to the inmates, but the goal of the experiment was never stated (perhaps to create fly-man, spider-man, hulk, fantastic four or something like that). This drug kills most and eventually all inmates except V. On V it has some strange (unexplained) effects, one of which is some new understanding of gardening and thanks to that he is given lots of liberty around the concentration camp to tend to the garden and order gardening materials without much supervision. He makes napalm and explosives from fertilizers and chemicals at his disposal, sets the camp on fire and escapes (with no possessions at al, even no clothes).

In the following several years, he manages to find a Batman-like huge secure hidden hq, has the electricity and plumbing installed there, fills it up with all sorts of pre-war memorabilia (such as books, movies, music, props…). He also somehow hacks into Fate, so he basically able to manipulate running the state through Fate for at least couple of years. He also finds time to track down all personnel of the camp where he was interned (some 50 people), and kills them all in a way that looks as if they died of natural causes or accidents, except from a handful top people whom he saves for spectacular assassinations at the end.

Evey is a 16 year old girl whom V saves from rape and eventual murder by the state police. He takes her to his hq, and starts educating her. She leaves, is returned back, then she is mentally and physically abused (for her own good) and eventually, after 6 months of reading and education, she is qualified to take over the building of the new world after V has destroyed the old one, and after he retires from bombing and this life completely.

And one last thing, V is portrayed as an anarchist in a stereotypical, negative way (I guess non-intentionally, through authors’ ignorance or incompetence) that does not have much to do with actual anarchism. He goes around bombing the public buildings, assassinating people, manipulating teenage girls and creating chaos even though it is later revealed that all the time he had access to much more powerful means of instituting change (access to Fate, all surveillance and broadcasting).

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