Sunday, 1 October 2017

Get well soon



I am the one who needs to get well soon. Get well soon, me! Please accept my best wishes for a speedy recovery.

I feel like I've just smashed into a wall, or that the way I've been living - very much a matter of burning the candle at both ends, only the candle is a mingy, pallid austerity candle, not a lovely bright party candle - has finally caught up with me. The self-pity is strong all right. I guess I will feel better again and sooner rather than later. I think it's just a bad cold or maybe a mild flu, and it comes on the back of a run of badly broken sleep and some other problems which are utterly doing my head in. About which, probably more later. I am going to have to write this stuff down one way or another.

If I was a little less blah I would write about the book I've just read, Kim Stanley Robinson's New York 2140. One thing I can suggest immediately is read this book when you are not weakened by fever because it is very heavy and my arms are aching. Honestly this is a great novel, I have no upper tolerance for the kind of world creation that KSR does - in the Mars books it was the willingness to imagine and write the colours of a terraforming world that did me in, in this book its the emotional mapping / excavating / skyscrapering of the city *and* overlaying it with a tidal sea that rushes up and down the city streets and morphs with the changing weather and seasons and the reality, intricacy, aliveness of his flooded New York (and planet) is a seriously awe-inspiring thing to behold, and entirely free of the morbid disaster porn quality of many lesser works of anthropocene fiction, because the ecological disaster is imagined so intensely only because it is a possible future derived from our actual disastrous present, also very carefully expounded, ie late capitalism, the ridiculous, evil, deformed menace that has the world in a brutal stranglehold and which requires nothing less than the destruction of the world in order to continue flourishing. The book imagines a string of climate disasters and abrupt sea level rises as things that have already happened. So it's like a mirror image of now: in a time of relative, if fragile stability, with awareness of disaster around the corner, it's possible to see that capitalism could be checked with a concerted movement of civil disobedience and principled political action. The book is actually as much about global finance and the crash of 2008 and the insanity of the bailout as it is about adaptations to rising oceans and New York becoming a 'supervenice'. Well, I suggest you read it especially if you haven't read anything by KSR before - he's the kind of writer who restores your faith in humanity and after the week I have had that is really saying something.

2 comments:

Janet said...

Get well soon! Looking up New York 2140 now.

lucy tartan said...

Thanks v much Janet. I am a whole heap better today. If Kim Stanley Robinson is new to you I recommend Aurora - I think it'd be very much your cup of tea. Interstellar travel but populated with the realest of real people. So so good. New York 2140 is kind of a blockbuster adventure, Aurora is much more intimate and reflective (and made me cry in several places.)