I like to end the sf course with recent work that’s gotten a lot of positive attention. The book can’t be too long, however, and that’s been a problem lately. No Neal Stephenson, for example. This year, however, the short science fiction novel, The Road, was blessed by Oprah and Pulitzer. The film Children of Men was widely admired and seemed to be a natural companion. Both are beautifully done. Neither one is exactly a day at the beach. I’ll be curious what my students make of them. I hope they don’t want to lock me in a basement.
Total immersion in the planet’s demise takes a toll, so I wanted to get away from the darkness for a while and catch up on email but found myself reading about peak oil. I could’ve clicked on a video. I’m not sure what of. A big strawâ€”a sucking sound? I resisted the temptation and walked over to a bike shop in Carytown and bought a new bike to replace my stolen one, after a decent period of mourning. This proved to be just the thing, followed by a brisk ride through the park, the air redolent with smoke from North Carolina fires. Here’s hoping I never have to pedal it down McCarthy’s Road. The tires would melt, cannibals would eat me. Okay? Okay.
Children of Men gets to me in some new way every time I watch it, but it’s always exhausting. It’s like living through the Bush years on fast forward. In both book and film redemption is frail, perhaps an illusion.
Maybe I should rent Sullivan’s Travels. Maybe it’s time for a remake.