Erik (eriktrips) wrote,

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childhood's reruns

last night I read the first volume of the Tripod series, titled When the Tripods Came, which I read when I was about 12 I think. it's "young adult science fiction" and I ordered it from Amazon along with A Wrinkle in Time and Little Britches in a strange fit of wanting to revisit that period of my life which I would not relive if you put a gun to my head.

so if you've never read the Tripod series it's your basic Borg narrative to the extent that alien technology arrives on earth to assimilate and obliterate "human" freedom and individuality. I don't remember how it turns out so I can't give you the whole story until I reread the other three books but it is interesting both how it seems a treatment of Naziism on the one hand and Soviet Communism on the other--even down to Switzerland's remaining neutral and free for the longest time--and a more psychoanalytic expression of a kind of hyper-masculine fear of the void. it also struck me that one could see it as a take on fundamentalism at this point in world history but that could be my own idiosyncratic reading although at one point in the narrative the arrival of the Tripods is characterized as a "Second Coming." that and the resistance to the Tripods is completely secular and based upon reason and free will.

but so it is in many ways a simple and typical good vs evil, freedom vs assimilation tale, and I find it interesting that I was so struck by it when I was young. now the whole thing makes me think for gods sake can't someone make a children's tale out of a less polarized metaphysical model? although actually I think that in some ways Lord of the Rings succeeds in this and even though the good guys win in the end there is some interesting blurring of the lines as well as some undecidability as to what, or whom, the bad guys represent.

anyway if nothing else this just proves that one can't even read children's literature purely for recreation if one has spent any time in academia.

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