Mar 15, 2010

Camp Concentration by Thomas M. Disch

Camp Concentration

Even thought it was published in the late 60s, this one felt very old school to me. The journal format, the paranoia specifically of a wartime government, even the "voice" all felt very 1984 or Kallocaine to me. Which worked in its favor. I could excuse some stilted description as a stylistic choice, I feel like, rather than sketchy writing.

But I guess "sketchy" really is the word I want to use here. The characters felt like a sketch (especially the one woman). The science - and I use that term loosely - wasn't given any details. The end seemed a little tacked on, barely fleshed.

That being said, not a bad read. It wasn't meant to be realistic, more of an thought exercise. How much are we willing to give up for intellect? How important is it? Health, taste, skill, life? Do they even attain intellect, or just speed? No answers given, but isn't that true of most dystopian literature?


B.E. Earl said...

This is a book that I started and never finished. Just couldn't get into it. I liked The Genocides much more.

downtown guy said...

It never really picked up and got rolling, but it carried me through okay. Daybreakers, on the other hand, is slow going.

WalkerP said...

Yeah, I think "sketchy" is not a bad term to use. It feels kind of like it was written as a play, with a minimalist set and just a couple of characters talking. It definitely lacked the momentum and visual intensity of The Genocides. Nevertheless, a very interesting book, especially for its time.

downtown guy said...

That's a good comparison that didn't occur to me. But should have, really, with as many performances are included in the book. It does feel like the first draft of a script, in ways.