Book Review: The Peace Machine by Özgür Mumcu

An unusual but thought-provoking novel about human nature’s desire for conflict

 

The twentieth century dawns and the world stands on the brink of yet another bloody war.  But what if conflict were not inevitable?  What if a mind-control machine could exploit the latest developments in electromagnetic science to put an end to violence forever?  The search for the answers to these questions leads Celal away from his unassuming life as a writer of erotic fiction, and on a quest across a continent stumbling headlong towards disaster, from Ottoman Istanbul to Paris and Belgrade.  Can he uncover the mystery of the Peace Machine before time runs out for humanity?

 

Mumcu’s writing style is very easy to read and sweeps you up in to the plot so that you feel just like Celal on his quest to discover exactly what the peace machine is.  Mumcu’s descriptions were also very vivid, particularly in the last few chapters as tensions in Serbia rise to a crescendo and the peace machine’s abilities are unveiled.  Celal was an amusing character at times when he employed entertaining rhetoric in his monologue speeches towards other characters, and I felt sympathetic towards him as it seemed that the weight of the world and its safety rested on his shoulders.

 

There is immense pressure on Celal and his friends, Céline and Sahir, as they endeavour to make and utilise the peace machine to prevent a world war.  Whilst their objective may be large, it is also very admirable, and it is mentally stimulating as you consider how useful such an invention would be today.  As you are swept along Celal’s journey across Europe, you become engrossed in it and are questioning who killed Celal’s friend, Jean.  This adds a lovely murder-mystery quality to the plot, which I always enjoy.

 

The concept of the peace machine is a very unique and interesting one in that it attempts to alter humans’ behaviours through electricity, which is ground-breaking for the time in which this book is set.  Such an invention makes you wonder about humanity today, the conflicts we generate amongst ourselves, and whether or not there is any way we can curb that seemingly insatiable desire for war.  The idea of manipulating humans’ minds via electromagnetic waves is very thought-provoking as it questions the morals of trying to alter people’s behaviours as well as the concepts of free will and liberty.  Is it morally right to try to change someone’s conduct through science, even for the sake of the human race and to avoid conflict?  This is a question that this novel raises and has remained with me afterwards, and I think it is an interesting one that is worthy of conversation.

 

Overall, The Peace Machine is an unusual novel, but it is nevertheless thought-provoking as it explores science’s potential to alter human behaviour.  Mumcu’s writing style is easy to read and you are swept up in the quest to save humanity as much as Celal and his friends.

 

Rating: 4/5

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