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It takes a true artist to say so much with so few words. Cormac McCarthy's The Road is a tortureous, depressing, spirital, hopeful, horrific lesson in the economy of survival. Ever wonder what the world will be like in the last days of humanity? Will the end come all at once, with a big bang? Or will it be a long, slow, cold death? If all is finished, gone, reduced to ashes, and yet you're still alive, what remains to be cherished? What values still apply? The Road delves deeply into these questions and more. A great work composed by a master of the written word, but it's not for the faint of heart or the chronically depressed. Be forwarned. This book stays with you long after the last page is turned.
THE PUZZLE IN THIS ESSAY -- HOW CAN YOU TELL IT WAS NOT WRITTEN BY A REAL PARANOID, (well, I'm not really paranoid, most of the time...)
. (Answer at the end)
I COULD NOT UNDERSTAND THE PREFACE PAGES IN THIS BOOK, ("A Million Random Digits With 100,000 Normal Deviates"), which made me feel more inadequate than usual, (Not an easy thing to do!) So I went right to the text -- all those numbers! -- and discovered some interesting things -- both good and bad.
It was nice looking at all those numbers, which -- I think -- were typed in either Pica or Elite typeface. Not a fancy, modern, "proportional", computer-based typeface, wherein an "m" takes up more space than an "i". No, siree! EACH digit takes up EXACTLY the same amount of space, (a "1" taking up the same amount of space as an "8"!) -- just like in the good old days, when everyone had typewriters, (with cents signs, and "1/2" and "1/4" keys, and the ability to "x" out letters, but still be able to discern what those letters are, if one looks very closely! And no-one had ever heard of a "computer", unless they meant those refrigerator-sized machines in the basements of big business buildings. Oh, yes -- that type of "un-proportional" typeface still exists, (a prime example is the typeface one sees when one writes reviews for Amazon in this, the "draft" mode) -- but proportional type seems to have now taken over about 95% of all typefaces used, and it is really a pity because non-proportional typefaces are SO much easier to read! (Xerox went to heroic measures, to produce quite artistic looking proportional-space daisy wheels for its typewriters in the late 1980s, (I think it was the late 1980s, anyway) -- with such beautiful standouts as "Bookface Academic",(PICA) "Delegate", (PICA), and "Adjutant", (a smaller, ELITE-sized version of "Delegate"), fixed forever in my memory. In the book, "Power", Michael Korda recommends the use of "Bookface Academic" type, exclusively. (Or as he put it, "period".) I, however, fell in love with the lovely "Delegate" typestyle, and its ingeniously-made-smaller lookalike, "Adjutant". (I never bought a Xerox typewriter -- but I DID get their wonderful catalogue, which listed examples of every single typeface available!) Rand -- later Remington-Rand, ALSO had beautiful typewriters with non-proportional typewheels, but their selection was no-where as extensive as Xerox's, to my knowledge, anyway. But...those were the days!
Anyway, a small sample of such wonderfully nostalgic, non-proportional typeface, can be seen in all of the one million digits,
(and probably also the 100,000 Normal Deviates), in this book. The digits are all lined up in groups of 5 across, and five columns down, with two groups of these together, and 30 such groups, altogether on each page. (This does not take into account the five numbers, in five groups, of SINGLE columns, listed, (somehow quite ominously to me)at the extreme left of each group of two-columned numbers. The thus-filled pages present an interesting pattern....reminding me, benignly and serenely, of a layout for a new Scottish tartan, perhaps, or....(yikes!), NOT so benignly OR serenly, maybe of, and with, each group of two columns representing a miniature "Twin Towers" of the as-yet-to-be-built, (and probably as-yet-to-enter-into-anyone's-mind-TO-build), New York World Trade Center? (Double yikes -- could all those numbers really NOT be so random after all?) A code? A conspiracy code built into this very book? Why not -- stranger things have happened! Yes, I do definitely suspect that the broken yellow line I see on the highway, every time I go to work, is NOT the only "secret code" out there, so cleverly planted by corrupt US government officials, or the hidden forces of the Ayatolla Khomeni, (oops, he's dead...I mean Osama Bin Laden, of course....or do I? Maybe it's both of them?) each working separately, (or maybe...triple yikes!...Together???? !) to steal my remmaining freedoms from me?
And -- what about that confusing phrase, "Normal Deviates"? This, I am becoming surer by the minute, was put in there to TOTALLY confuse regular people like myself even further. WE are the normal ones -- not the "deviates"! Aren't we? I mean, I've been getting this stuff that I'm not normal, since the 1960s, when it was considered "normal" for people in my generation to wear jeans and/or long, shapeless dresses, have sex outside of marriage, never even ever dream of even getting married, smoke or shoot drugs endlessly, think their parents awful people, (even when they weren't awful people), never want to rise in society, and attend "fesitvals" of loud, racucus rock and folk music. These were the "deviates" of society, and they were THEN considered, well -- if not exactly normal, at least the "usual" rebellious generation. Only I never fit into that category. I spent my days wondering how Prince Charles and Princess Anne were reacting to "our" generation,and listening to CLASSICAL music, and being fascinated by the stock market and investing, and dreaming of a handsome businessman, (perhaps with royal or noble blood!), coming to marry me! Was I then, "normal"? Or was I the "deviate" one. I never knew....but I was very proud, (and still am), that I do not own one single pair of jeans! : ) And now, I come upon the phrase "normal deviate" in this book -- published as late as 2002! Oh dear -- is the day coming that "Big Brother Government" will FORCE me to buy myself a pair of jeans? : o
There IS a secret code in this book -- maybe more than one! -- I just KNOW it! (The "Rand" Corporation -- "RANDom" numbers? Ah-ha! A connection! I just KNEW it!) I just HAVE to save up to buy that last copy before it's too late! I don't think I'm bright enough to discover it all by myself -- but are there any other freedom-loving
paranoids out there who would want to help me? Who's the normal one now, I ask! Onward, onward, friends against the foe! Onward, onward, from here to Kokomo! (That IS how the song goes, doesn't it?) Harold Stassen -- you WILL be President of the USA, yet, if WE have anything to say about it! On, no -- Help! HELP! The Klingons
are attacking!!!!! (Yes -- the KLINGONS are the bad guys, NOT the Romulans...and this present attack PROVES it!) And....what's this? The 'klee/zant/soong', from "Alien Nation-The Series", are coming too! Coming to enslave us....can't you see them?
ANSWER TO THE QUESTION: HOW DO YOU KNOW THIS WAS NOT WRITTEN BY A REAL PARANOID?
.....Because, truly paranoid people do NOT call themselves paranoid!
Wow this book was really good. The suspense of the story had me turning each page, trying to figure out who was after Rachel. I loved the way both Mike, and Rachel felt strong emotions to one another from the start, but didn't act upon them till latter on in the story line. This book was filled with lots of action that kept me holding my breath at times. I'm going to give you a sample of the book below taken from chapter 27
She sprinted to the barn. Her foot skidded on the slick grass, but she scrambled back to her feet. On the way past the water trough, she dunked her jacket before tugging it on. An animal's high pitched scream lifted the hair on her nape. Visions of trapped animals burning alive played in her mind. Her stomach clenched. She had to save them.