Friday, December 16, 2011

Ten satires to teach you to survive the future

At io9, Charlie Jane Anders tagged ten satirical novels that could teach you to survive the future.

One novel on the list:
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

Douglas Adams' masterwork starts as a satire on bureaucracy — Arthur Dent's house is going to be demolished by a hidebound council, and then the same fate befalls the whole planet, thanks to the hideous Vogons. But H2G2 becomes a much broader satire, coming to encompass the quest for meaning in the universe and the true randomness of everything. This is the only novel which tells you how to carry on after the destruction of the entire planet, which makes it immensely valuable for that reason alone. But like a lot of the books on this list, it's also a tremendous satire on human nature, exposing all of our pettiness and idiocy. This book (and really the whole series) shows how our lives and deaths are ultimately futile... but then reveals what happens to us if we embrace futility: we become like Marvin the Paranoid Android. And nobody wants that.
Read about the other books on the list.

The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy appears on Don Calame's top ten list of funny teen boy books and John Mullan's list of ten of the best instances of invisibility in literature.

--Marshal Zeringue