I have a pair of sick kids and an 18-year-old cat who is demonstrating the onset of feline insanity by standing at the foot of my bed and screaming at the top of her lungs for four straight hours beginning every morning at 3 AM. It's true cats can sound just like distressed babies when they want to, the crafty, tiger-striped, whiskery bastards.
So I'm sleep-deprived, is my point, and that's my excuse for repurposing one of my Infinite Summer posts for a second time this month.
This week I wondered if Infinite Jest, a book I am growing to love, a novel I am beginning to think belongs on the rarified important shelf, is nevertheless a book people will still be reading in a hundred years. This is an old writerly concern, of course. A book seems so sturdy, so permanent, but precious few novels outlive their authors. Indeed looking back at the publishing year 1909, I can't find a single novel that I would expect any of you to have read with the possible exception of L. Frank Baum's The Road to Oz. Even reliably prolific authors of the time had an off-year in aught-nine. I was a devourer of H.G. Wells when I was young and yet I have never cracked, nor even heard of, nor even can pronounce with a straight face, Tono-Bungay. So much for the three weeks H.G. spent writing that one.
(The Phantom of the Opera was published in 1910 but began serialization in Le Gaulois 100 years ago next month. An oatmeal-raisin cookie to the non-French person who can name the author of that famous story without looking it up.)
So my predictable question to you is what authors (and specifically works) from say 1970 to the present, do you think future generations will still be reading? This isn't an invitation for you to just name your favorite book, of course. I'm asking what books have the stuff to endure, to remain entertaining and relevant to a generation that has levitating magnet shoes and grows genetically modified broccoli with the cheese already on it.
The proprietors of this blog in 2109 will reward the descendants of readers with the most accurate replies with first edition neuronovels by Helo Chercover and Numbersix Sakey plugged directly into their basal ganglia and imprinted with the author's DNA...
Jeepus Crow, I'm tired. "Basal ganglia" probably won't sound so funny after a nap.
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