No Time for Novels?

Posted: 6 February, 2018 in Despair, Rants
Tags: ,

The Guardian recently published an article claiming that

When our daily news is apocalyptic, it’s irresponsible to read made-up stories. It’s time to start reading the serious stuff instead.

Go ahead and read the article. This post won’t make sense otherwise.

This was my initial response on Facebook. Why Facebook? Well, that’s where I discovered the link to the article.

Nonsense. What better time to use one’s imagination than during a crisis? It was a lack of imagination that created the crisis in the first place, or more to the point, a lack of understanding possibilities.

Tom Clancy wrote about a 747 crashing into the Capitol building years before 9/11. In fact, after that tragedy, intelligence experts interviewed Hollywood writers about possible similar events.

The discussion on Facebook turned out to be just that: an actual discussion as opposed to the usual "You doodoo head! You don’t know what you’re talking about!" free-for-all insult exchange that usually passes for discussion on Facebook.

By the time I had finished reading the entire thread (as of 8:30 this morning), I was more convinced than ever that we absolutely need fiction now more than ever before.

(By the way, the Clancy novel I referred to was Debt of Honor. Like all of Clancy’s works, it can be summed up with a quote from the late Ronald Reagan: " A good yarn.")

To write at all you’ve got to be creative. To write fiction you’ve got to have a plot. And to write good fiction, you’ve got to have a good imagination.

Last night I watched The Fellowship of the Ring on Netflix. Sure, I had seen it before, but this time, watching the Orcs tearing down trees and creating a barren wilderness where there once was beauty, my own imagination immediately saw a connection between those scenes and Donald Trump’s slash-and-burn, scorched earth approach to the environment.

From there, my mind jumped to Dr. Seuss’ classic tale of The Lorax, and once more I wondered why people who insist on poisoning the air and water, destroying forests, and levelling mountains in the name of profit have the nerve to call themselves conservatives. Just what the hell are they conserving? Wall Street?

You know Tyrannosaurus Rex was destroyed before
By a furry little ball that crawled along
The primeval jungle floor
He stole the eggs of the dinosaur
CLOSE YOUR EYES & CREATE THE SOUND
OPEN YOUR HANDS & REBUILD THE GROUND
We are egg snatchers –
flashin’ sunshine children
Bunch of diamond thieves
Mau Mau (Amerikon)

Paul Kantner wrote that song back in the ’70s for the very first Jefferson Starship album, Blows Against the Empire.

Our own empire is falling all around us while the Emperor plays not the fiddle but the back 9 at his golf resort, and all of his sycophants exclaim over how lovely his new clothes look. The barbarians are not only at the gates but they have actually broken through and are now looting the nation’s treasury.

Will we survive? Can we survive? Or will some future Edward Gibbon chronicle these days as The Decline and Fall of the American Empire?

Or is this just a prelude to the decline and fall of Western civilization?

Comments are closed.