N. Shute (1957). On the beach. Vintage, London UK.
Drone and Apocalypse is a series of essays framed as a fictional art exhibition, first imagined by Cynthia Wey, an apocalypse-obsessed drone music fan and failed artist in 2013, and then made real by an academic research centre in 2213.
Wey’s essays draw on the breadth of western myth and recorded history to describe our relationships and tendencies when facing apocalypse, such as betting on belief when one has nothing to lose, or our tendency to make lists when melancholy veers out of control.
Drone music shows us that, respectively, we have nothing to gain or lose from the apocalypse so the only sane response to the void is to stare right back, and that unending iteration, infinite listing, are needed to prove that we ever existed. I’ve just noted a couple of points from the book; there are plenty more.
I recommend this book. Towards the end it commends Nevil Shute’s On the beach for not indulging in the pathological fantasy where a small group of humans struggles on post-apocalypse: the whole point is there’s no post-apocalypse. Everyone is gone.
So I read On the beach immediately afterwards. It’s an excellent and upsetting book. At this point I really need to read something non-apocalyptic.
I was struggling to pick a new book to read, but this jumped out at me when I spotted it the other night. The bookshop lady told me the publisher has started a new imprint of translated novels.
This one is about a woman living in Caracas during increasing civil unrest. Not sure where this book’s politics will lie, I’m just hoping there are sufficient shades of grey to be had.