My review of Oryx and Crake should be up later today, but as it marks the end of the post-apocalyptic novels and the beginning of the dystopian ones, I figured now was a good time to explain the inspiration behind this month's theme.
It seems, perhaps, a little strange to begin a blog on such a down note. The idea for a reading blog based on monthly themes had been kicking around in my head for a while, but I had kept putting it off for one reason or another. The idea finally came to fruition on its own when I got on a kick for books about destruction, mayhem, and the downfall of society. Many will think that this desire came out of current world events and that is probably one reason. I pay close attention to what goes on in the world and am a self-professed NPR junkie, but the real reason is actually much more mundane. And, if I may say so myself, a little embarrassing. Or, at least, a little less altruistic.
With media megastore FYE on its last legs, I decided to go and see if they had any good deals on television shows. I'm not a big television watcher, but when I do become interested in a show, especially if it's already begun, I tend to wait until the seasons come out on DVD and buy them then instead of trying to catch them every week. My busy and often times erratic schedule doesn't really allow me to have a TV habit. Anyway, I was looking specifically for the boxed set of The 4400, a show that I hadn't watched while it was on the air but had finally found through Interlibrary Loan and had gotten hooked. They didn't have that but they did have Battlestar Galactica: all four seasons wrapped up nicely in a convenient little box.
As a Stargate fan (SG-1, Atlantis, and, now, Universe), I hadn't ever really considered watching BSG while it was on the air. I had, however, heard from several people that it was an incredible show and that I should check it out if I ever had the chance. "Well," I said to myself, staring at the reasonably priced boxed set, "carpe diem." Here was my chance. I ended up watching all four seasons in a relatively short period of time. I was completely blown away.
For anyone not familiar with the show, the basic premise is that most of the human race in a galaxy far, far away has been destroyed after a nuclear attack by robots created by the humans themselves. The survivors set off in a small fleet of ships in search of a new home: Earth. I won't go into any more detail because a) I want you to watch it and b) it gets incredibly complicated and c) I could probably devote an entire blog to my love for this show and I want to spare you all.
You're all, of course, wondering what the hell this has to do with anything. I'm getting to it, I promise.
After I had finished watching the show I kept getting these weird cravings for books with a similar theme. I had previously mentioned my strange paradox of being adverse to nuclear war and global destruction but still loving disaster films and the like, and I found myself confronted with it again after finishing the series. Battlestar delves for a while into the semi-dystopian as well as the post-apocalyptic, and I couldn't shake the feeling that I should just stock up on some novels and go to town.
Finally, one day I decided to indulge myself and see just how many novels I could find in the library where I work. I was focusing primarily on dystopian novels, but found that the pickings were kind of slim. So, I expanded the list to include books concerning the destruction of mankind as well and thus I came upon the three books that were chosen for this month.
So, I guess in a roundabout way, the closing of FYE led directly to this blog being created. It's a funny old world sometimes, isn't it?
PS: If anyone is interested in another apocalyptic television show, I highly recommend Jericho, a short-lived but, in my mind, pretty decent series about a small mid-west town after a series of nuclear attacks in the U.S. It's one of the only television shows in history that I followed from beginning to end while it was on air. (The other one being Alias.)