Two hundred words on writers foreseeing calamity ::

Writers have in the last century been sounding rods for threats inherent to human progress. Huxley for the implications of standardising life. Orwell for the reality-altering potential of controlling information. Plath and Kesey for the repercussions of medical and surgical interference with the psyche. Vonnegut for the inability of the mind to cope with industrialised warfare. Dick for the impingement of intelligent technology on the previously sacrosanct realm of the human spirit. I think very soon a concern with fullness, with glut, with the stifling heaviness of the presence of humankind, will appear in literature. Because the Earth is full. Not based on populations per square kilometer, or on predicted or current water or food supply levels. It is more that the disparity in feeling between the populated and unpopulated parts of this planet has become so potent in its stark fragility that even carefully researched assurances that we are not yet at breaking point seem without depth and understanding. The further you travel, be it into forests, the desert, under the ocean’s surface, up mountains, into valleys, the closer you come to the feeling that the world is breaching and spilling into what’s left. Or it feels that way to me.

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