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Pickle Me This

April 5, 2010

There were sorcerers for such things

“But when Zach typed an a, it was magic. His iPod was magic. His digital TV was magic. The Internet was magic. Even his father’s car, the machine through which boys once achieved their first dominion over the physical world , was now controlled by a computer. Diagnosis of malfunction didn’t involve tinkering with an engine and getting covered in oil. The car plugged into another impenetrable computer at the dealership. Were anything to go wrong with the technical furniture of Zach’s life– and these days, machines didn’t sputter on you, develop a funny hissing sound, or start to squeak; they either worked, or they stopped dead– the notion of fixing it himself would never enter his head. There were sorcerers for such things, although the concept of repair had itself grown arcane; one was far more likely to go out and buy another machine that magically worked, then magically didn’t. Collectively, the human race was growing ever more authoritative about the mechanics of the universe. Individually, the experience of most people was of accelerating impotence and incomprehension. They lived in a world of superstition. They relied on voodoo– charms, fetishes, and crystal balls whose caprices they were helpless to govern, yet without which the conduct of daily life came to a standstill. Faith that the computer would switch on one more time and do what it was asked had more a religious than a rational cast. When the screen went black, the gods were angry.” –from Lionel Shriver’s So Much For That

5 thoughts on “There were sorcerers for such things”

  1. I’m really looking forward to this one too: I’ve read two of her others and they’ve been distinctly uncomfortable and unforgettable
    ::rubs palms in anticipation::

  2. Kerry says:

    It’s good. I’ll be posting a review in the next while!

  3. Alyssa says:

    Yeah, I don’t think I’ll be able to wait until my number comes up at the library. I may go out and buy it today.

    1. Kerry says:

      It’s a bit bleak, Alyssa! You may end up cursing yourself for bringing a child into this wretched world…

  4. Kerry says:

    Finished it last night– the amazing ending redeems ALL bleakness. GET IT! And I hope you get a chance to get to the end before your baby arrives!

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