Surveillance is a part of how we live now, and how we respond to that runs throughout the Blue Ant trilogy. The books are laced with true developments like widespread CCTV, drone surveillance, and computer spying. Like Cory Doctorow’s Little Brother, Zero History traffics in crafty ways to dodge prying eyes. One of these techniques, at the time of the book’s publication, was entirely fictional, but perhaps less so today. And of course, since it’s on the surface a book about fashion and marketing, the secret weapon in question is a T-shirt.Read More
How do you camouflage an inflatable mylar drone in the shape of a penguin? You really can’t, but for the climax of Zero History, one character opts for a disruptive paint job known as “dazzle” as a way to break up its gestalt.
“The result wouldn’t conceal the penguin against any background at all, particularly the sky, but broke it up visually, made it difficult to read as an object.”
Dazzle, or “razzle dazzle” is a form of camouflage invented in World War I by British artist and naval officer Norman Wilkinson. The Royal Navy, unable to conceal its ships, went for something altogether different by painting them with loud, irregular black-and-white patterns. The result was a floating Picasso, certainly visible, but hard to make out its size, shape and speed. German submarines needed to know all three to successfully calculate a hit with a torpedo, so turning British ships into a series of discordant shapes did a far better job of protecting them than trying to make them blend into their surroundings.Read More