Difference between revisions of "The Long Tomorrow"

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'''Brackett, Leigh. ''The Long Tomorrow'''''. Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1955. Available also as a audiobook from Audible.com.[https://www.audible.com/pd/The-Long-Tomorrow-Audiobook/B00A6N7MKM]
 
'''Brackett, Leigh. ''The Long Tomorrow'''''. Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1955. Available also as a audiobook from Audible.com.[https://www.audible.com/pd/The-Long-Tomorrow-Audiobook/B00A6N7MKM]
  
Post-holocaust tale; note Bartorstown, in Book Three, an underground research facility dominated by a computer and a nuclear reactor (Wolfe 136). Note also placing the "technological social remnant . . . within a twenty-first century agrarian society akin to New Mennonites of the 'past'" (Kessler, "Bibliography," listed under Reference).
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Post-holocaust tale; note Bartorstown, in Book Three, an underground research facility dominated by a computer and a nuclear reactor ([[Wolfe, Gary K. The Known and the Unknown|Wolfe 136]]). Note also placing the "technological social remnant . . . within a twenty-first century agrarian society akin to New Mennonites of the 'past'" ([[Kessler, Carol Farley. "Bibliography of Utopian Fiction"|Kessler]], "Bibliography," listed under Reference). Especially in chs. 23-27, the very large computer is personalized, named, feminized, and demonized: Clementine, as the old song has it, with modifications, buried "In a cavern, in a canyon" excavated like "a mine."[https://genius.com/Traditional-oh-my-darling-clementine-lyrics]
  
 
There are groups of fanatics in the novel, and usually peaceful religious people are capable of stoning to death a (correctly) suspected heretic from Bartorstown; but, significantly, the society of the New Mennonites (and others) is shown to have positive aspects and act as a legitimate response to a nuclear, hence technologically-mediated, apocalypse — at least for a few generations, and if we accept survival with stagnation as an acceptable way for humans to be in the world. The acceptability of stagnation is up to readers, although the generic expectations of SF, and the plot of the novel tip us toward Bartorstown and the possibility of restoring a technologically-advancing human culture[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Long_Tomorrow_(novel)#Plot_summary]).  
 
There are groups of fanatics in the novel, and usually peaceful religious people are capable of stoning to death a (correctly) suspected heretic from Bartorstown; but, significantly, the society of the New Mennonites (and others) is shown to have positive aspects and act as a legitimate response to a nuclear, hence technologically-mediated, apocalypse — at least for a few generations, and if we accept survival with stagnation as an acceptable way for humans to be in the world. The acceptability of stagnation is up to readers, although the generic expectations of SF, and the plot of the novel tip us toward Bartorstown and the possibility of restoring a technologically-advancing human culture[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Long_Tomorrow_(novel)#Plot_summary]).  
  
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Note also the computer and atomic reactor at both the periphery and heart (navel?) of the world of the story, carefully fitted into a motif of confinement and containment, vs. the vast expanse of the American prairie and plains. Fittingly in a novel with much about religion and culture, the theme of confinement parallels the Biblical motif of Egypt (''Mitzrayim '') for the Hebrews as a "narrow place" of captivity, as also, as Karen Armstrong tells the story in ''Fields of Blood: Religion and the History of Violence'',[https://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/14/books/review/fields-of-blood-by-karen-armstrong.html] the ancient Aryans of the Vedic texts "experienced the Punjab as confinement
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and the [indigenous "barbarian"] dasas [as perverse adversaries who were preventing them from attaining the wealth and open spaces that
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were their due."[https://archive.org/stream/KarenArmstrongFieldsOfBloodReligionAndTheHistoryOfViolence/Karen+Armstrong+Fields+of+Blood+Religion+and+the+History+of+Violence_djvu.txt] More immediately relevant, note motif of an underworld not of "Chaos and old Night" but of a large computer, atomic pile, and steam-driven turbines: cf. and contrast a number of stories from "[[The Machine Stops]]" (1909) to "[[I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream]]" (1967).
  
Expanded by RDE, 22Feb19
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Reviewed by "Jesse," ''Speculiction: The Speculative in Fiction and More'', 28 October 2014:[http://speculiction.blogspot.com/2014/10/review-of-long-tomorrow-by-leigh.html].
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Expanded by RDE, 22Feb19, 1Aug20
  
 
{{DEFAULTSORT: Long Tomorrow}}
 
{{DEFAULTSORT: Long Tomorrow}}
 
[[Category: Fiction]]
 
[[Category: Fiction]]

Latest revision as of 20:09, 1 August 2020

Brackett, Leigh. The Long Tomorrow. Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1955. Available also as a audiobook from Audible.com.[1]

Post-holocaust tale; note Bartorstown, in Book Three, an underground research facility dominated by a computer and a nuclear reactor (Wolfe 136). Note also placing the "technological social remnant . . . within a twenty-first century agrarian society akin to New Mennonites of the 'past'" (Kessler, "Bibliography," listed under Reference). Especially in chs. 23-27, the very large computer is personalized, named, feminized, and demonized: Clementine, as the old song has it, with modifications, buried "In a cavern, in a canyon" excavated like "a mine."[2]

There are groups of fanatics in the novel, and usually peaceful religious people are capable of stoning to death a (correctly) suspected heretic from Bartorstown; but, significantly, the society of the New Mennonites (and others) is shown to have positive aspects and act as a legitimate response to a nuclear, hence technologically-mediated, apocalypse — at least for a few generations, and if we accept survival with stagnation as an acceptable way for humans to be in the world. The acceptability of stagnation is up to readers, although the generic expectations of SF, and the plot of the novel tip us toward Bartorstown and the possibility of restoring a technologically-advancing human culture[3]).

Note also the computer and atomic reactor at both the periphery and heart (navel?) of the world of the story, carefully fitted into a motif of confinement and containment, vs. the vast expanse of the American prairie and plains. Fittingly in a novel with much about religion and culture, the theme of confinement parallels the Biblical motif of Egypt (Mitzrayim ) for the Hebrews as a "narrow place" of captivity, as also, as Karen Armstrong tells the story in Fields of Blood: Religion and the History of Violence,[4] the ancient Aryans of the Vedic texts "experienced the Punjab as confinement and the [indigenous "barbarian"] dasas [as perverse adversaries who were preventing them from attaining the wealth and open spaces that were their due."[5] More immediately relevant, note motif of an underworld not of "Chaos and old Night" but of a large computer, atomic pile, and steam-driven turbines: cf. and contrast a number of stories from "The Machine Stops" (1909) to "I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream" (1967).


Reviewed by "Jesse," Speculiction: The Speculative in Fiction and More, 28 October 2014:[6].


Expanded by RDE, 22Feb19, 1Aug20