Here’s a strange science fiction book I read…

I just finished reading Limbo by Bernard Wolfe the other day. It is a truly bizarre book. I’m not even really sure how to begin describing this book.

A dystopian science fiction novel that creates and explores an extended metaphor of amputation, lobotomy, castration and cybernetics. It’s the story of a disaffected military doctor who goes AWOL during World War III and returns 18 years later to discover that a world society has been created based on writings that he considered to be a joke. A so-called pacifist society which is led by people who have voluntarily amputated their own limbs and replaced them with much improved cybernetic limbs.

The writing in this book is… feverish and so incredibly pun-heavy. If the book weren’t so grim, I might have enjoyed it more. Also, there is quite a bit of sexual weirdness… I don’t really know what else to say. Wouldn’t really recommend it, but it IS one of the strangest books I have ever had the fortune to read. If extremely weirdly written science fiction is your bag, go for it!

I did, however, find some places where you can read about it, if you so choose:
Ray Davis, he of the Bellona Times website, writes a bit about the sexual weirdness in this book, as well as related science fictional tomes.

I’m not sure who this is, but he (?) seems to like Bernard Wolfe quite a bit. Makes a good point though about out-of-print books and the public domain, though.

Some pretty kickass litcrit by N. Katherine Hayles of UCLA.

“Dangerous Religion”

This is an article by Jim Wallis, who is the editor of Sojourners, a Christian magazine.
(Stay with me though.)

Here’s a sample, that may give you an idea of the flavor of this article:

In Christian theology, it is not nations that rid the world of evil?they are too often caught up in complicated webs of political power, economic interests, cultural clashes, and nationalist dreams. The confrontation with evil is a role reserved for God, and for the people of God when they faithfully exercise moral conscience. But God has not given the responsibility for overcoming evil to a nation-state, much less to a superpower with enormous wealth and particular national interests. To confuse the role of God with that of the American nation, as George Bush seems to do, is a serious theological error that some might say borders on idolatry or blasphemy.

To understand where this President is coming from–to transcend over-simplistic whatsits–I think that it’s useful to attempt to interpret (as one would faithfully interpret a text) the language coming out of the White House. It seems to me that Jim Wallis does a pretty good job here.

(I had noticed the “wonder-working” phrase and had understood the reference, but had been pretty confused by its usage in the phrase: “The need is great. Yet there’s power, wonder-working power, in the goodness and idealism and faith of the American people.” Rhetorical excess, or dangerously unhinged theology?)