Archive for May, 2009


This group was our first time based theme. We all picked a book or two relating to time period 1954-1957.

Too do this we consulted various lists. There is a list here of american best sellers, fiction and non-fiction, for each year. You can also get lists for each year on this page at wikipedia

In the end our selections were

although the two groupers that read The Quiet American and The Fall couldnt make it

and so to the synthesis. from this small sample size can we say anything about books published in these years? To quote a well known president – yes we can

no doubt its too simplistic but i think you can argue that all these, despite their different genres (scifi, historical fiction, drama, play, memoir) are about the same thing, and given they were published in the mid-fifties its not surprising what that thing is.

they all seem to be about this question. Knowing that humans are equally capable of creating the devastation of war, and the prosperity and surplus production of materialism, how do we, should we, will we, behave in the future?

silverberg thought we’d learn our lesson from a nuclear apocalypse to create a new utopia, post-apocalypse, based on using nuclear power for good
– likewise minority report thought we’d do better second time around, even harness some of the mutants caused by the apocalypse for good, but sagely argues that greed and ambition will remain driving forces
shute thought we’d wipe ourselves out with radiation sickness, and literally accept our final fate in an orderly way, peacefully in our beds surrounded by what we value, in the book that was either families, a racing car or a submarine
miller painted consumerism as a type of death, the battle to make sales and earn money is like radiation only slower
kerouac thought family, war, work and money were no answers at all, we should say screw you, take drugs and answer our doors naked
– and perhaps most relevantly of all, the train to pakistan tells us that religion and politics is a genocidal mix, that should always be separated, because ordinary good people can become murderers overnight


May 25, 2009 at 11:28 am Leave a comment


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