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I couldn't decide which postapocalyptic novel to read next, but opted for The Pesthouse by Jim Crace (also NBCC award-winning, etc, etc), also just released. I'll get to The Road next week, I hope. But you're right, these things do tend to come in waves. I'm not far into Pesthouse yet, but there's no indication as to what brought about the state of affairs. (In the Road, isn't it an ecological disaster?) And Children of Men, it's the inability to have children — there was mention of a flu epidemic, but also this sense that mankind somehow brought it on itself, selfish lifestyle choices, almost like we evolved this inability because it best suited how we lived (I'm stretching here, I know, but in the book medical researchers came up empty; and with the religious overtones too, I think it's implied that it's a punishment from God). What am I getting at? These books tend to speak to a concern of the times, some flaw in our ways taken to an extreme conclusion. Canticle for Leibowitz, for example, which I read recently, while relevant in a lot of ways, isn't nearly so frightening as today's books — the threat of nuclear devastation just isn't as real now as in the 50s, it's easier to call it dated and believe it could never happen. Pesthouse is set in America, and inhabitants believe that life in other places is still flourishing, so maybe it's a commentary on America's place in the world.

We LOVED the Children of Men movie (I enjoyed the book too, but they're SO different, and with different strengths). Glad to have seen it in the theater, but I think I'll be buying a DVD. And Clive Owen is hot! And Michael Caine is excellent. Loved that movie. That bone at the end isn't much, but I've heard rumours of a sequel.


Iread Canticle for Liebowitz when I was a kid, and really loved it. I don't remember it so much now, though I would love to reread it. And thanks for the book recommendation! I liked Quarantine, and looked up Pestilence on Amazon, and ooooh. It also led me to two other books which I may have to break down and buy in hardback, I lust after them so-- Falling Man by Don DeLillo, and the latest by Ian McEwan, can't remember the name. How do you like Pestilence?

Mark Vane

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