Monday, August 31, 2009
The greatest novel ever written about climate chaos and global warming ever: FINITUDE by Hamish MacDonald
The book begins like this, with a first chapter that sets the scene for the rest of the 288 pages. I have this book. I believe this book is about the future. Hamish MacDonald, the author, is a Canadian writer who lives in Scotland. More than any other recent book, with the exception of Cormac McCarthy's "THE ROAD,", this picaresque novel about the distant future in an un-named country suffering the impacts of climate chaos and mass migrations northward is a wake-up call that should make us all pause consider what actions we need to take in our lives NOW to try to stop the locomotive of global warming BEFORE it is too late.
Literature, and art, sometimes has the power to do this.
The book is for sale in a printed edition on Mr MacDonald's wesbite. I am also willing to send a free PDF of the entire novel by email to anyone who wishes to read it and report back to me on how you liked it, yes or no. Pro or con. I feel that Hamish MacDonald is the new Douglas Adams of the UK, and while this book is not a comic Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, it is a powerful and equally well-written and well--plotted novel that calls out for an audience. A big audience.
Sadly, the big commercial publishers won't touch this book. It is once again a failure of courage on their part. In fact, this book WOULD sell, and WILL sell, once it is properly published and distributed through the normal marketing channels. This book is not only a good read, a great read, it is an important read; and it will make you think about climate change and global warming like no other book before this one.
Below is the beginning of the very first chapter, the very first pages of the book. If, when you finish reading this, you want to read the entire book, free of charge, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org [I am not Mr MacDonald's agent, I am his friend. I believe this book is vital reading for the 21st century.]
VC Day [VC here means Victory over Climate Day in an Un-named Country. Although of course it does seem alot like Britain.]
The world was supposed to come to an end, but it didn't.
Jeremy Chutter looked up at the banners stretching over the main street that read
"VC Day." The new Prime Minister had declared victory over the climate.
So, after thirty years, The Effort was over, a success. The world was saved.
Jeremy was disappointed.
He wandered through the crowd, bumped this way and that by the cheering,
hugging, and kissing paradegoers. He swept the tickertapes from his shoulders and they
fell to the ground, biodegrading instantly in the rainwater. A drunk woman toppled into
him, looked him square in the face, and gave him a slippery kiss with her large, red
painted lips. Startled and offended, he shoved her back into the throng. She wailed to a
large man in her group of friends, but Jeremy slipped away unseen.
This would be a great day for pickpocketing, he thought. Not that he’d ever tried it,
or needed the money. He had more than enough money. Cash wasn’t very useful, anyway.
Without the carbon credits to go with it, money couldn’t get you much anymore.
Jeremy followed the flow of the crowd toward the harbour, thinking of salmon.
He’d seen pictures of salmon in one of his father’s books. They must have been beautiful,
he imagined. But being one, judging from his current situation, couldn’t have been much
The storefront displays and billboards were decked out for VC Day sales, but
Jeremy couldn’t see them. He adjusted the small pin on his lapel. It looked like a key
from an old typewriter with a small silver logo on it. His subscription to Tinfoil Hat was
precious to him, worth all it cost: it exempted him from all targeted messaging. His world
was a happy blank, his thoughts his own, a protected habitat. In exchange, some of his
subscription fee went to the advertisers, but he didn’t care about that.
He didn’t care about much, really.
An enormous throng amassed at the waterfront. Jeremy figured it must be half the
city or more. After all they’d been through, the hardships of rationing, the perpetual rain,
the violent storms and disruptive floods, he supposed they had a right to celebrate. No
one knew what the hell the planet was up to, but most of the human beings on it were a
lot better off than they were before modern life became so damned efficient.
By luck, he found himself jostled into a spot with the best view of the platform
erected for the occasion. A band played, and each musician used their breaks to tip
rainwater out of his or her instrument. Amid a procession of umbrellacarrying lackeys,
Prime Minister Hardwick himself stepped into view. He raised his hands and the crowd
Jeremy couldn’t see the Prime Minister’s closeup displayed on the two screens
flanking the platform, nor could he hear his amplified voice. The odd word echoed out,
since Hardwick was once an actor and could still project his voice powerfully. Jeremy
figured he already knew the gist of the message. He didn’t mind the Prime Minister’s
theatrics: If politics was a show, he figured, it might as well be a good one.
Hardwick was the man who promised to deliver the people from decades of
struggle, lack, and worry. Where his predecessor, Redpoll, had continued with the
tradition of emergency measures, caution, and consultation, Hardwick offered a welcome
release with his message of manifest destiny. People had the right to live well, he said. The
time for timorous hiding in storm shelters was over. A new age of prosperity had arrived;
it was time to throw off the hair shirt, embrace the new day, and party. When he spoke
these actual words on the night of his electoral triumph shaking his middleaged hips as
he did it, the nation cringed, but he’d captured the prevailing mood, and his popularity
continued to soar.
Drawing his speech to a close, the Prime Minister turned and gestured at the vast
ship pulling up to a stop in the harbour behind him. The cruise liner’s hull glistened, an
effect of the slippery polymers that reduced its drag in the water. This, along with a
revolutionary engine that scrubbed its exhaust clean with seawater, made the Carpathia Diem the first luxury ship to pass the International Coalition Government’s rigourous
Efficiency and Impact tests. Today’s arrival, at the end of the ship’s maiden voyage across
the new polar ocean, was to be the proof of Hardwick’s Bold New Day campaign.
Jeremy had a personal stake in the voyage, since he’d sold insurance to several of
the travellers. The large global firm that provided all his policies had also insured the ship
against Acts of God and “Acts of Man”— a new distinction developed since “natural”
disasters started overstepping the known bounds of nature on a regular basis thanks to the
sideeffects of humanity’s progress.
After a prolonged pause during which the gangplank remained closed, naval
officials huddled around a console on the wharf. The Prime Minister smiled at the crowd,
then gestured for the waterlogged band to play something. The gangplank finally lowered
to the dock like a sleeper’s arm. Navy men and a broadcast crew scaled the long ramp to
find out what the delay was, and why the ship was running on automatic systems.
Gasps and shouts broke out around Jeremy. Terraists?, he wondered. There had
been talk about a possible attack on the gathering.
"What? What?" he asked a woman beside him. She pointed at one of the large screens. He removed the pin from his lapel and saw what she saw: the passengers and crew of the ship, all slumped over as if they'd all fallen asleep in an instant, all dead.
WITH A BEGINNING LIKE THAT, DON'T YOU WANT TO READ THE ENTIRE BOOK NOW? I COULD NOT PUT IT DOWN THREE MONTHS AGO WHEN I FIRST DIPPED MY MIND INTO HAMISH MACDONALD'S "FINITUDE".
Posted by DANIELBLOOM at 1:02 AM