Archive for the ‘Ghulf Genes’ Category

Yesterday I read a blog post by Matthew Warner entitled What’s Your Favorite Dystopian Novel? The post itself, referencing 1984, was aimed more closely at current events, especially the Health Care bill, and Mr. Warner’s dislike of government intrusion. He proposes that dystopian novels have much to teach us. Then he lists three novels: 1984 by George Orwell, Brave New World by Aldous Huxley, and Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury. I’ve read the first and the third. The second was sitting on my “To Read” pile. A commenter suggested that Brave New World was more appropriate to the times we are living in now. So, that got me to thinking that maybe I should move Brave New World to my “Reading Now” pile. And, that’s what I did. I left (temporarily) Mimi, Gusto, and their children on the cusp of their brave new adventure in inner space (for the uninitiated, this is from the novel Ghulf Genes by Arsen Darnay) to set off on a quest for Huxley’s Brave New World.

I’m not yet far into this troubling little book, however this did catch my eye. The director is talking to a student about why giving the children shocks to decondition their love of flowers is sound practice for the Community.

If children were made to scream at the sight of a rose, that was on the grounds of high economic policy. Not so very long ago (a century or thereabouts), Gammas, Deltas, even Epsilons, had been conditioned to like flowers—flowers in particular and wild nature in general. The idea was to make them want to go out into the country at every available opportunity, and so compel them to consume transport.

Primroses and landscapes…have one grave defect: they are gratuitous. A love of nature keeps no factories busy. It was decided…to abolish the love of nature, but not the tendency to consume transport….

We condition the masses to hate the country,…But simultaneously we condition them to love all country sports. At the same time, we see to it that all country sports shall entail some use of elaborate apparatus. So that they consume manufactured articles as well as transport.

Developing a consumer class. Isn’t that the aim of marketing departments everywhere? Even though the correlation is somewhat sketchy, the marketing of the newest technology, comes to mind. HD TVs. See the most life-like picture from your living room. Almost as good as being there in person. Soon there will be 3D TVs. Then I’ll be able to sit on my couch and really experience Nature, without actually leaving my living room. Experiencing real-life in 3D seems more fulfilling to me than experiencing it from any future 3D TV set I may own. But, then again, I was not conditioned from childhood to think otherwise.

But, I digress. As I was thinking about dystopian novels, I was wondering if there were any utopian novels? Plato’s Republic perhaps. Though, not really a novel. I’m sure I’ve read at least exerpts of that back in college. But, I don’t seem to recall reading any other utopian novels. So, let’s think positively. I’m putting the call out to my readers. What are some of your favorite utopian novels, and why?

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You can’t get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me.
— C. S. Lewis

I ran across this quote recently and I feel that it describes me. I love to curl up with a book and read for the entire day. In fact, back when I was single and living in an apartment my neighbor used to tease me about it. When the weather was nice on the weekend, I’d spend nearly my entire day on my balcony reading. I’d be up there in the morning when my neighbor left his apartment and I’d be there in the evening when my neighbor returned. Maybe my neighbor felt that I was wasting my life by sitting up there all day with my nose buried in a book. My neighbors were more the get-drunk-and-party-all-night types rather than the sit-and-contemplate types. Loud TVs and loud music through paper-thin walls was the norm. It’s the reason I moved into my current home. To get some peace and quiet and to get some sleep. Though now it seems as though the loud music has invaded my neighborhood and consequently my quiet space. I’m sure all of my readers are familiar with neighbors who play loud music in their cars. In my neighborhood it’s not limited to cars. This winter, with all the windows and doors closed and with my neighbors’ windows and doors closed I could still hear the booming from my neighbors’ stereo (or TV or whatever, I’m not really sure). It seems as though one can’t go anywhere to get away from noise pollution. (This may be possible if one lived in a house out in the middle of nowhere, but that’s not an option for me.)

And, this brings me back to my subject. I’m currently reading a long book, Ghulf Genes by Arsen Darnay. It’s the first book in the Symphony in Ghulf Major trilogy. It’s not a cozy, that’s for sure. This book, at least for me, requires concentration. One pleasure of reading is to get so engrossed in the story that you feel a part of it. This is difficult to do when I hear a TV in the background or when I hear the thumping from someone’s stereo. When this happens, I can read the words on the page, but extracting meaning from them is nearly impossible.

Now, I can’t totally blame my neighbors’ stereo (or my husband’s TV habits) for the fact that I’ve only reached Chapter 5 after one and a half months. There’s another type of noise pollution that seems to invade. And, that’s the noise pollution of my mind. Many times when I’m reading my mind wanders. It should be wandering to places related to what I’m reading, trying to make sense of the story and the characters within. Unfortunately my mind tends to wander in a different direction: what needs doing today, what needs doing tomorrow, what needs doing next week….

While I can certainly get some noise-cancelling headphones to try to quiet the external noise pollution, the internal noise pollution is proving more difficult to quiet.


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