Monday, February 3, 2014

The Future Past Present

I've just finished reading A Visit From the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan.  It somehow managed to weave time back and forth without ever actually confirming "20 years later..." or however long or short the time between chapters was.  Great book- super odd, but really enjoyable.  I've always enjoyed plot lines that manage to bring many seemingly unrelated things together (one of the many reasons why I love Seinfeld, especially the last few seasons)

This book goes into the future without any forewarnings, which threw me off guard a bit.  I don't like reading other people's ideas or forecasts about what the future will hold.  Yes, it is fascinating to think of the possibilities, but it is also terrifying.  The only thing that anchors me to real life when I go down the metaphorical rabbit hole is thinking about books from the past that predicted futures in far-off times, like 2001 *gasp* imagining floating cars and mind-reading kitchen appliances (so basically The Jetsons).  We are well past 2001 and my refrigerator definitely doesn't read my mind- if it did, I would be morbidly obese.  These past ideas of the future are not happening, so I can hope that the futures I read today will not come to pass.  But maybe these ideas aren't so far-fetched and are happening today or will happen soon, maybe not word-for-word, but metaphorically.  Take for instance, The Handmaid's Tale, because when the government gets involved in these stories, things start getting a little fuzzy and start to sound like events that are happening right now.  Its eerie sometimes.  Which is why I don't like to get sucked into that thinking very often.  The view of the future in Good Squad was not nearly as dark as some other novels and probably much more likely to happen, specifically the future language.  Egan describes an instant messaging device and writes out what is written and the written word is changed in a way that I can see happening as we speak.  "if thr r childrn, thr mst b a fUtr, rt?" 

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