"Immersion in the life of the world, a willingness to be inhabited by and to speak for others, including those beyond the realm of the human, these are the practices not just of the bodhisattva but of the writer." --Jane Hirshfield
Tuesday, August 14, 2007
A Dark and Stormy Summer
In 1816, the eruption of Mount Tambora in Indonesia did away with summer, and caused crop failures and starvation for the following three years. Mary Shelley spent the summer at Lake Geneva, writing the book for which she would become famous: Frankenstein. Article at NPR.
What is the connection, do you think, with the many end-of-the-world books that have been written in the last several decades? A partial list follows:
On the Beach (Nevil Shute), Earth Abides (Stewart), Eternity Road (McDevitt), Oryx and Crake and The Handmaid's Tale (Margaret Atwood); Fiskadoro (Denis Johnson); Galapagos (Vonnegut); Alas, Babylon (Pat Frank); Lucifer’s Hammer (Niven and Pournelle); Love in the Ruins (Walker Percy); The Road (Cormac McCarthy); Cell (Stephen King); Year Zero (Long); Toward the End of Time (Updike) -- and of course Wyndham's fabulous Day of the Triffids, which had many of the elements of the genre in one place: Nature gone amok after misguided scientific experiments, possible weird kinds of warfare, social breakdown, reactions from the militaristic, to the nihilistic to the back-to-nature. The book, of course.
Send in your favorite end-of-the-world or -civilization titles.