Wednesday, June 23, 2004

70's Fiction: I'm currently reading Gregory Benford's Timescape, a classic Sci-Fi work written in 1979 and published in 1980. It always shocks me how bleak and hopeless literature was in the late 1970's--how bad things must have seemed then.

By contrast, so much of 80's literature and film was the opposite--it said that there were horrible, nasty, evil things out there, but they were nothing a cocky sneer and an uzi couldn't handle. As for the secrets of the universe, well, they could easily be cracked by any nerdy college kid with a good looking party-boy roommate.

Reality, of course, is somewhere in the middle--times do get hard, but determined and intelligent people can overcome the difficulties. I'm also sure that's what Benford will get around to saying by the time the book is done.

In the meantime, it's interesting watching him make politicians, religious people, rich people, poor people, parents--pretty much everyone except scientists--look inept and incapable of tying their shoes, let alone solving the world's problems without help from scientists.

It's plain why the Sci-Fi community likes the book so much.

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