July 2010

Trocchi's Cain's Book: Smack on a Scow in New York

It’s funny reading descriptions of Alexander Trocchi’s final novel, Cain’s Book. For the most part, the writer, a heroin devotee, is couched in terms of existential uncaring and set in a line with Albert Camus and any number of other beats.

What separate’s Trocchi from his American brethren is admittedly his uncaring about pretty much everything apart from how to get high. But in Cain’s Book, that flippant perspective on life is related in some of the most poetic language possible. Granted, the subject matter and the resultant physical toll is apparent at times as Trocchi’s prose moves in and out of this flowery language. But the writer does maintain a rather concerted tone throughout the entirety of the work.

John Brunner's the Shockwave Rider: A Sci-Fi Plea from the Past

It would appear that most science fiction is given over to the figuring that if a strong enough case is made against the total emersion in technology, that mankind will not be prey to the worst possible future imaginable. Ok, maybe not all, but a huge portion of Phillip K. Dick’s and John Brunner’s work do. And each of those figures comes from drastically different backgrounds in different countries.

Brunner’s best known novel, based partially on Alvin Toffler’s Future Shock, is entitled The Shockwave Rider and covers an interesting possible future for the United States subsequent to a tremendous earthquake centered in the Bay Area.