Monday, July 30, 2007

a post by Homo Ludens on the flooding in the UK (which as far as I know has received barely any coverage in the US news media--America really giveth not one single shit about anything going on beyond its borders, do it?)

no mention from Mr Ludens of Burial (or The Good the Bad and The Queen for that matter, or indeed The Eraser) but J.G. Ballard makes an appearance w/ the Drowned World

there's a s.f. cataclysm novel by a British author whose title/name escapes me where the premise is a massive earthquake that raises the seabed of the English Channel with a result that the entire aqueous contents of said Channel are abruptly shifted to the interior mainland of England. The hero, who was doing business on Guernsey or on a ferry or yachting mid-Channel, something like that, naturally strives to get back to "land" to find his loved ones, which entails walking across the still-damp but no longer submerged seafloor until he gets to what was recently the coast. Heading inland, he reaches, i dunno (we're talking 30 years since i read this), the South Downs, only to look West and sees.... just this vast ocean where the Home Counties were

another s.f. near-future in which flooding plays a role is Brian Aldiss's Greybeard (1964), in which (pre-echo of Children of Men) humanity has become sterile, leading to an ageing population and the gradual collapse of society. If I remember right, the latter part of the book is set in a partially flooded Oxford; coypu, which have bred rampantly without mankind to check them, have beaverishly weakened the banks of the Thames causing the whole Thames Valley to become indundated, dotted with little archipelagos of towns on higher ground.

driving back and forth between Oxford and Berkhamsted at the start and end of terms in the early Eighties, it seemed like the farmland was often flooded, like it was a natural, seasonal occurrence. i loved to see that total transformation of the landscape, pastures become lakes. (I imagine the farmers had a different perspective than my aestheticized s.f. fan's gaze...). Closer up though (flooded meadows beside the Grand Union Canal on winter walks)there was always something both troubling and eerily alluring about flooded fields for me, the way the color-bleached grass undulates beneath the surface, placid and creepy... the cloud-skidding skies faintly reflecting on the surface of that unnaturally clear, lifeless water...

see also Owen's post "After the Deluge"--that pic of the Thames Barrier is unreal

and Woebot's festival experience (and i thought the Hay Festival was moist)

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