Friday, January 20, 2006

book 6: Camp Concentration by Thomas Disch

I read most of this book on the airplane. This is not an airplane book. I should've bought a Star magazine.

In my search for some good speculative fiction (that word makes me think of my cervix-- a good thing?) I went to the library and picked the only book in trade paperback off the shelf. I went into Camp Concentration thinking it was relatively new, and realized only about a quarter of the way in that this book is from the late sixties. Seeing how the main character was jailed for being a concientious objector, I guess I should have taken a second and had a thought.

Anyway, this book was old, white and male, but still somehow entertaining. It is told in the form a journal, first a personal escape from the boredom of prison life, then a monitored narrative of the main character's observations his fellow prison-campers and the effects of a mysterious drug being used on the inmates. The plot is basically a Flowers for Algernon thing without the fourth grade punch in the gut, or the crappy film adaptation.(If you cried while watching this, I don't care).

I liked the idea of government-created superbrains in captivity, but Disch's take on guinea-pigism did not transcend a few jabs at the man, the ivory tower and poets. Too bad.

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