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A movie star is kidnapped and forced into a 12-step program to cure an addiction to Western Civilization. The star is suddenly star of a movie, but this is not the normal sort of movie. There is no written script, and the kidnappers are the camera operators. Along the way, it is revealed that things like time, work and religion are little more than systems of control. They are meant to keep people compliant and docile, spending their days in an office cubicle, eating what they are told to eat, and watching mindless stuff on TV. The "ideal" person is one who does not think outside the box, or realize that there even is a box. The group barrels around the country, through passion, betrayal, assassination and sex, before reaching an explosive conclusion.

This is a really unique and different book. The author grabs the reader from the first page, and does not let go until the end. Understanding this story is something else entirely. The reaction on finishing this book might be Huh?, but the reader will have a wild time getting there.
plappen | 1 anden anmeldelse | Jul 28, 2007 |
by some strange happenstance, i ended up reading two pieces of collapse fiction in the past two weeks. after reading the day philosophy dies by casey maddox, i picked up a copy of margaret atwood’s oryx & crake to take with me on the weekend trip to washington.

i’m not going to do a compare and contrast here of the two novels except to say one is a lot more hopeful than the other - and what that really comes down to is how much of the natural world is left when civilization collapses entirely. a world still having some of its natural plant and animal species left (as well as a functioning ozone layer and some passable water source), has a much better chance of recovery than one in which everything left behind is a tainted and genetically-engineered mess.

the collapse of civilzation is topic that has quickly moved from the fringe of eco-politics to the fore in international policy debates on the coming oil crisis. as this month’s national geographic points out “humanity’s way of life is on a collision course with geology€? when it comes to the peak of oil production vis a vis demand worldwide. dead zones in the world’s oceans (caused by nitrates from the run-off of industrial production), high rates of carcinogens in human tissue and mother’s milk, the draining of major underground aquifers and severe climate change warnings - all point to a siginficant fork in the road of western civilization in the very near future.

for three million years, human-like species have lived on this planet and in the last 5000 or so we have come very close to bringing about its total destruction (and most of that in the last 500 years). quite remarkable really - and visions such as atwood’s in oryx and crake (though somewhat overstated) are not entirely implausible. the main problem i have with this piece of fiction is it is set far into a future we will likely never see due to the ongoing collapse of global resources. although the book is overwhelmingly dark, atwood is a bit of an optimist on the timeline for the fall of civlization and the ultimate failure of humans as a species to survive.

all things considered, though - it’s a worthwhile read - another book i couldn’t put down, though i didn’t find much hope in the outcome - whereas i did in the day philolsophy dies. that purely being the result of the authors’ differences in purpose. as my friend bear commented on the phone last night about apocalyptic fiction in general - “these books serve as both a call to action and also a warningâ€? - maddox’s book fills the former purpose, while atwood’s fits the latter.

read both in a row and your mind will spin.
redcedar | 1 anden anmeldelse | Nov 8, 2005 |
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