I'm reviewing Jim Crace's new novel, "The Pesthouse," a book about (or set after) the New End of the World. LIke Cormac Macarthy's "The Road" and no doubt many more you can think of. The Former End of the World (the bomb) yielded its great books -- Riddly Walker the greatest, Canticle for Leibowitz etc., etc. Now the New End of the World generates fictions that seem familiar but with no bomb to blame. What has happened to the world? All calculations of global warming suggest dislocation and suffering for the poorest peoples inhabiting seacoasts or places subject to desertification; temperate-climate inland rich countries (us, US) might not suffer so much -- nothing much worse than the Great Depression, some species loss, coastal cities abandoned over the course of a few decades. Macarthy's and Craces worlds are utterly vastated. Nothing left. No explanation. Crowds of aimless walkers -- no technology, no social structure. Why does this appeal?
But actually I was given to think of a book I readin 1969 called The Hieros Gamos of Sam and An Smith by (I now learn) Josephine Saxton. A sort of fable of collapse that turns out to be an illusion or game or metafiction (?) Anybody remember it or her? I suppose I could send away $3.99 to Amazon for a copy. It struck me as wonderfully weird and unlikely as a D'Day SF hardback then.