Review of Melanie Challenger's "On Extinction," Plus Attack of the Gadget Zombies!

So I’ve been more or less off-line for a couple weeks now, enjoying the holidays and some glorious snowfall, but my review of Melanie Challenger’s nonfiction book On Extinction appeared in the Dallas Morning News last Sunday, here. I liked the book, which was surprising in some ways, not really focusing on animals going extinct—such as those polar bears in peril in the Arctic—but more so on the idea of extinction, and what it means for cultures and ways of life to go extinct. It’s something I’ve noticed in the various vestiges of Abandoned America you see when driving across the heartland, which I just did, returning to Pennsylvania from Colorado—abandoned shopping malls, Circuit Citys, Blockbuster videos, farms, gas stations. There’s a lot of detritus out there in the boonies, and it’s a twist on the idea of extinction.
For New Year’s I ended up at a restaurant in Ohio, loud and obnoxious, full of ‘hootin’ and hollerin’ for the New Year’s, but while waiting for a table, we were surrounded by roving bands of Gadget Zombies. I’m sure you’ve seen them, know one, or are secretly one: People so addicted to their smartphones or various gadgets that they go en masse out in public, then don’t interact with each other, but rather spend their time staring at the gadget screens. My wife said, “We’ve become accessories to our gadgets.” I like that.
Here’s my daughter throwing a snowball at me, spending some important gadget-free time:

This entry was posted in books, The West and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *