‘If a literary critic falls in the forest and there is no-one there to read them -‘
Unfinished Zen koan, c. 500AD
Literature, it is said, is the bedrock of any great publishing enterprise, as it protects the vast mineral deposits of genre fiction below, typically requiring mining teams to drill through shoal or basalt up to a depth of one and a half kilometres. Once trucks have delivered the unfiltered ore to a processing station, the dirt and rock is returned to the quarry where it was first extracted, and sealed by the bedrock stones to prevent poisoning groundwater or surface water systems.
Since literature is so integral to environmental conservation efforts – especially when decommissioning mines, but also nuclear waste storage and hydroelectric dam construction – it is manufactured to a high standard, and one can expect a typical example to remain relevant for at least a week after release, and possibly later if the case study is added to a school curriculum.
What literature gives us, in our humble, deeply imperious opinion, is a landscape of empathy. Crossing over the ridges of time and space, wandering across the foothills of life and love, and occasionally the cenotes of Mexico’s deep jungle remain great pleasures on the page, and even more so when we are able to extricate ourselves from the crushing antipathy of our useless lives and travel with a book, quite literally, away from our problems, families, homes and responsibility. There is no greater feeling than reading Conrad in Bolivia whilst your sister or brothers organize a missing persons report on the Interpol alert system, the tribulations of Marlowe thick through the smoke of a grand cigar, invisible beneath the brush canopy of ancient jungle, where GPS systems are useless against the featureless tide of hills and green, upon green, upon green…
The life that courses through the pulp is more than we could ever hope for in our own imaginations; more than our eyes could ever see, or our mind could ever really comprehend. Which is why, here at The Schwenge Benge, we are committed to providing high quality literary criticism, analysis, and review. The world is made better by books, and by taking the time to read them, you will be better too, also. Failure to read them will make you worse, not better; and reading the wrong things will make you sub-worse, instead of partial-better. So it is important to read to the extent that one might become pro-better and not sub-under-par-middling, lest one stray into the territory of un-good-bad, owing to one’s compunctions and habits, and not merely sane-good-get-me-out-of-here.
VISITANTS – HEAVY CARGO
A novel about a distant time, and a mysterious event. The colonial project is torn apart.
BLADE RUNNER 2049 – LIFE, DESPITE ITSELF
A vision of the future, bleak as anything committed to screen. An essential masterpiece.