Press your spaceface close to mine

Situation Normal

Posted by Sunday on Nov 12, 2008 at 2:39 pm in Daily Space, Literature

I was writing a review of Samuel R. Delany’s Nova for Avi over at Scifi at Dark Roasted Blend when my brain got a little out from under me, if you know what I mean.  I’ve had some sad news this week (something that happened to a friend) that put me into a kind of anti-human funk – yes, more than usual – which has in turn started forming one of those emotional toruses I get, where everything I do is tainted by too much thinking.  Whatever, it doesn’t matter: I was thinking about how much of the novel is about class differences (or mega-gulfs, rather) and part of it is the segregation of those who have refused to be “cyborged.”  Called “Gypsies,” those that don’t want any mechanical upgrades are considered throw-backs, retards, and are systematically exterminated.

What occurred to me is that I am unsure if Delaney wanted the Gypsies to be sympathetic or not.

A few years ago I reread Brave New World for maybe the third or fourth time, and the first time since I had been a teenager.  It was a revelation totally unlike my first reading, because I found myself questioning what was so wrong with being genetically matched to a labor caste.  Everyone is chemically altered to be happy doing whatever it is they were meant to do, be it chef or coal miner or movie star.   As a teen I was focused on the the dissolution of free will, of eugenics and mass indoctrination.  As an adult I wished desperately there were some pill that made me happy to go to work every day, to make scads of money for someone else while I remained trapped in an economic morass, unable to labor on subjects that actually pleased me.

And then yesterday, rereading parts of Nova, a similar realization: the Gypsies are people I would despise.  This increasingly congested world is creating the opposite of a social environment: rather than being surrounded by potential friends, I find I am surrounded by people I have nothing in common with.  It’s a mathematical eventuality.  I turn to my computer, for example, so that I may easily identify and contact the kind of person I would like to be social with.  I’ve transferred a good deal of my creativity over to the ethereal “net,” where I share photographs with friends and strangers, where I can find artistic mentors I’d never be able to find in meatspace.  I imagine, then, a Gypsie who disapproves of what I do.    And I think, “What an ignorant douchebag.

It always comes back to me calling someone a douchebag, doesn’t it?

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November 12th, 2008 | Daily Space, Literature

3 Responses to “Situation Normal”

  1. nypinta Says:

    Next you’ll be yelling at kids to get off your lawn. ;) BTW, now I have a few more books to put on my “read” list. Thanks.

  2. nypinta Says:

    BTW, I’d like that pill too and I’d be baffled by anyone that would look at the net and all it has to offer (besides porn or all the viagra offers I get in my inbox) as something bad.

  3. Sunday Says:

    Oh if I had a lawn I’d want those damn kids off it, believe you me. I don’t even want my neighbors walking around our building.

    I do have stuff for a read list, as a matter of fact. Sit tight.

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