Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The Leftovers

Angst, Sex, Waste, Demon, Emotion
I had a lot of strong reactions to Body Surfing, which definitely stood apart from the other SF literature we've read in a number of ways. Although I don't think it is the single best book we read it was certainly the most compelling in terms of my desire to keep turning pages. The prose was straight forward and the plot moved at such a pace that I never felt bogged down anywhere in the 400 pages. There was no "characters get lost in the woods to explore themselves" section (as seen in Harry Potter 7 and a surprising number of other books). I enjoyed the book immensely, but despite the graphic nature (which I'll discuss later) it also felt very teen-focused. The book read a lot like Twilight to me. Much better prose but still very focused on angsty issues.

Speaking of graphic the book has more graphic sex than I've read in any other novel. However, the most disturbing aspect was the specific effect it had on me as a reader was in how I would anticipate the coming sex scenes. I began to think of them simply as "the next time they jump bodies" rather than "the next time they brutally rape two people and destroy their psyches." Along with that I also stopped caring halfway through the book about the problems of ordinary people, because there are very few written in such a way that you become attached to them.

Everyone that matters is either a demon or a hunter and the fact that their struggle devastates the landscape they fight upon (humanity) I have as much trouble getting emotionally bothered by that as I do by environmental concerns in the real world. I intellectually understand that we are killing the planet by living here the way we do, and I take steps to curb my impact, but it is a forced concern, not an emotional one. In the same way, Body Surfing leaves me with the knowledge that humanity is being raped and tortured for the sake of this struggle, but I can't seem to care. Although as I write this I do think the parallels between the Body Surfing mograns and the effect we are having on the planet to be worth exploring in more detail.


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