"You Maniacs! You blew it up! Ah, damn you! God damn you all to hell!"
You would think that a novel which concludes with monks flying through space to avoid a nuclear holocaust would be more interesting.
And I know I'm in the minority here for not caring for this novel. I realize it's beloved, and even has dissertations and college classes dedicated to it. But I have little patience for a lack of subtlety in literature.
Yes, yes, with the nuclear war, the theme of cyclical history, the Biblical fall of man...I think there were fewer garden of Eden allusions in Paradise Lost. By the end I wanted to scream "Yes. YES. For the love of God, I GET IT."
Hey! Look, it's another snake. Oh, and more buzzards. And here's that hobo dressed in a rucksack that's been wandering in and out of the plot for 1200 years (literally). I wonder if his appearance means anything? YES. YES IT DOES. But don't hit me over the head with it. A Darren Aronofsky film is more subtle than this book.
Also, I understand the irony/symbolism in the end when the monk kicks dirt off his sandals to board the starship he's apparently going to pilot to Alpha Centauri. But it's also fucking ridiculous. If I knew how to fly a starship I wouldn't be wearing sandals.
I keep picturing Friar Tuck flying the Millennium Falcon.
But I digress. It still had some interesting quotes. Although perhaps you'll catch my drift when you read them.
So it was that, after the Deluge, the Fallout, the plagues, the madness, the confusion of tongues, the rage, there began the bloodletting of the Simplification, when remnants of mankind had torn other remnants limb from limb, killing rulers, scientists, leaders, technicians, teachers, and whatever persons the leaders of the maddened mobs said deserved death for having helped to make the Earth what it had become. Nothing had been so hateful in the sight of these mobs as the man of learning, at first because they had served the princes, but then later because they refused to join in the bloodletting and tried to oppose the mobs, calling the crowds "bloodthirsty simpletons."
Joyfully the mobs accepted the name, took up the cry: Simpletons! Yes, yes! I'm a simpleton! Are you a simpleton? We'll build a town and we'll name it Simple Town, because by then all the smart bastards that caused all this, they'll be Dead! Simpletons! Let's go! This ought to show'em! Anybody here not a simpleton? Get the bastards, if there is!
I dunno. I thought calculis was pretty tough. And I finished my taxes in 15 minutes. It's totally possaible.
When you tire of living, change itself seems evil, does it not? for then any change at all disturbs the deathlike peace of the life-weary.
What did the world weigh? It weighs, but it is not weighed. Sometimes its scales are crooked. It weighs life and labor in the balance against silver and gold. That'll never balance. But fast and ruthless, it keeps on weighing. It spills a lot of life that way, and sometimes a little gold.
For God doth know that in what day soever you shall eat thereof; your eyes shall be opened: and you shall be as Gods. The old father of lies was clever at telling half-truths: How shall you "know" good and evil, until you have sampled a little? Taste and be as Gods. But neither infinite power nor infinite wisdom could bestow godhood upon men. For that there would have to be infinite love as well.
Generation, regeneration, again, again, as in a ritual, with blood-stained vestments and nail-torn hands, children of Merlin, chasing a gleam. Children, too, of Eve, forever building Edens--and kicking them apart in berserk fury because somehow it isn't the same. (AGH! AGH! AGH!--an idiot screams his mindless anguish amid the rubble. But quickly! let it be inundated by the choir, chanting Alleluias at ninety decibels.)
AGH! AGH! AGH!--a book blogger screams her mindless anguish amid a pile of unread books. But quickly! Conan is coming on! Turn that shit up to ninety decibels!