what is the exact nature of the catastrophe ?
Where would you look if you didn’t want to write a classic post-industrial disaster? Obviously ask the question above. But even that would have to be a new question, framed out of the understanding that, as far as Cassandra is concerned, the disaster is that which has always already happened. What sort of disaster are we in? What sort of metaphors does it cause us to seek? (Are we able to seek anything but the appropriate metaphors? Are we already on rails with this?) Wyndham voiced so clearly the slow disaster of the English middle classes in the across-the-war period, from the invention of the BBC to the reinvention of the bureaucracy, the loss of India to the invention of the hydrogen bomb. Who’s doing that for our sad bankers? What does their disaster–not yet risen to consciousness but still, surely, fully known to them–feel like? Is it possible to describe a post-economic melancholy? What would be the landscape indices of that? Of the collapse of the corporate management class which has already begun to happen but which will be visible to them only in hindsight? What are the false catastrophic indices, which must be lying about in numbers like a kind of dereliction themselves? — remains of old disasters much the same as the remains of old futures, which we might greet by saying, Bored with that, bored with that, that won’t do it? If The Day of the Triffids was, at base, a book about John Wyndham’s extraordinary act of self-reinvention–the almost-blinded man who wakes one morning to find he can see & everyone else can’t, the utter wet dream of the sci-fi Cassandra–& if he was the perfect candidate for the job–whose self-reinvention can we expect here? I’m ready with the laurel wreath.