Wednesday, December 14, 2011

joseph heller presents space wars

Spoiler alert! This post reveals plot points of the novel Catch-22 as well as the 1993-1999 tv series Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Proceed at your own peril.

I didn't intentionally set out to consume two texts about war this semester. As far as Joseph Heller's novel was concerned, it was the only thing on my shelf I hadn't read that wasn't speculative fiction set on the Indian Subcontinent or a history of the penis. At least until Murakami's 1Q84 arrived. As for DS9, well, I wasn't much in the mood for resuming the sitcom watching I began with 3rd Rock from the Sun I began in the spring. Then netflix notified me it had all 7 seasons available for streaming. I loved DS9 when I was a teenager but a stochastic appearance on the tv schedule starting around season 5 meant I didn't get to see how it all turned out.

But reading Catch-22 and DS9 side-by-side has been an interesting if serendipitous coincident. Together, they describe the experience of a people, the modern American people, at war. While these texts differ not only in setting but also tone, they manage to span the seriousness and insanity of being a soldier as well as offer a glimpse at war for the civilians who share space and time with the conflict. Looking back, they also anticipate much about the War on TerrorTM and the Bush years.


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