Print is dead. I collect spores, mold, and fungus.
The summer isn’t going to last much longer. In September I go back to school. There’s always a mixture of emotions about that; I love being in the academic environment but I’m going to lose a lot of the free time I presently get to spend with certain people. There’s something else to lament, too. When you have all that school reading to do, recreational reading goes right out the window. And I didn’t get anywhere near as much of that done this summer as I would have liked.
I have been reading Player Piano by Kurt Vonnegut for over a month now. This is absurd. Any Vonnegut book should take, on the outside, a week to read. It’s one of the great things about him as an author. I just haven’t picked it up that much. Not for a lack of interest, either — I have been quite intrigued by it, which shouldn’t exactly be shocking considering it’s Vonnegut. It’s his first novel, a distinction that until a few months ago I thought belonged to Sirens of Titan. It’s his vision of a future in which computers and robotics have dominated American industry to the point that the only people who have jobs anymore are the engineers and managers. It’s odd and compelling to read this pre-microchip vision now. In Vonnegut’s future, most of this society lives in an idyllic welfare state maintained to economic perfection by the computers. The only dissatisfaction in this world is the lack of any real sense of accomplishment or purpose among the jobless masses. Vonnegut had no way of knowing that instead of having American machines produce everything for us, we’d simply stop making things all together and all go get jobs as mini-managers with little to no purpose anyway. Or that the industrial employees who couldn’t make such a transition would have no utopian security net to make their lives ultra-convenient. I’ve managed to pick it up a bit more in the last few days and I hope to finish it up over this week.
Still, I’m not going to have anywhere near enough time to finish the books I planned on getting done this summer. I was going to read Battle Royale and Superfolks. I was going to read A Scanner Darkly and Blockbuster. But now they’ll stay on the ever expanding pile of to-be-reads, which is starting to reach truly monumental proportions. Some day archaeologists will discover my room and ponder how ancient man could have stacked so many books in such huge piles and what purpose it could have served. And I still won’t have read Fortress of Solitude.