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Thread: Who will we still be reading in 100 years time?

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    Senior Member Senior Member English assassin's Avatar
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    Default Who will we still be reading in 100 years time?

    OK, now the question is, which authors of the 20th century will be "classics" that we are still reading in 100 years time? And why? if you want to diss someone who is well known now but you think is heading for well deserved obscurity go right ahead.

    I was going to post a poll but the possibilities for humilation along the lines of "oh my God you forgot to list ......." were just too great. So you'll just have to do your own nominations.

    To kick things off, I reckon Kafka will be recognised as a genius in 100 years just as he is today. I can't believe that the horrors of being a powerless pawn in the hands of uncaring (worse than that, impersonal and irrational) forces beyond our control will be any less in 100 years time.

    I think Vonnegut will still be around. The quality of his writing will help, and again the (pretty similar) themes will surely be relevant.

    I'm not so sure about one of my personal favourites, JG Ballard. Maybe its too early to say but certainly his later work, which has much to do with civilisation that breaks down when it becomes too easy, is vulnerable to the world turning out to be much nastier than he imagines. In other words he banked on the wrong future.

    Likewise George Orwell, who is great, but will people read Animal Farm or 1984 when Stalin is 150 years in the past? I like his other work, but its probably too much about the English working class of the 1930s.

    And I always mention Borges, always to a resounding silence, but anyway. Borges. No doubt. You can otherwise pick your South American, I'd go for Mario Vargas Llosa myself but I admit thats only because I read more of his stuff before I finally got sick of magical realism.
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    Ultimate Member tibilicus's Avatar
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    Default Re: Who will we still be reading in 100 years time?

    I think people will still read in 100 years time.


    "A lamb goes to the slaughter but a man, he knows when to walk away."

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    Master of Few Words Senior Member KukriKhan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Who will we still be reading in 100 years time?

    :snickers:

    Good choices English Assassin. I would add Hemingway (universal themes, told from an American perspective, written 'plainly').

    As for the 'diss' list: in 2105, only librarians will know of Stephen King, IMO.

    I hope there are still non-digitized, hardbound books then; I worry (a bit) about literature going totally electronic, only to lose it all when a nuke-fest happens and EMP wipes all digital media clean/fried.
    Be well. Do good. Keep in touch.

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    Clan Takiyama Senior Member R'as al Ghul's Avatar
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    Default Re: Who will we still be reading in 100 years time?

    Quote Originally Posted by English assassin
    And I always mention Borges, always to a resounding silence, but anyway. Borges. No doubt.
    I want to hear you all chant.
    "Borges" "Borges" "Borges"

    Yes, I love him, too. But you have to admit that a Borges reader
    needs to have some education (better a good one) in literature.
    Otherwise he may be lost in the face of so much cross-references
    to other authors. You don't need to have read everything he has,
    which is almost impossible, but it helps to know what he's talking about.

    Any comments on Neil Gaiman or William Gibson?
    Among the contemporary authors those two are my favs.
    This is not to say they will still be read, but it may well be possible.

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    Senior Member Senior Member English assassin's Avatar
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    Default Re: Who will we still be reading in 100 years time?

    True, I was lucky with Borges in that I did Latin and Greek at school, so had to do a fair bit of classical lit, and coincidentally shared his enthusiasm for Scandinavian stuff. But a lot of it is quite accessible even if you aren't sure when he is citing a real author or an imaginary one (and lets be honest when he cites a real author half of the time you can't be quite sure he's doing it accurately.) Anyway, you can enjoy the imagery of the shorts, the library, the lottery, etc, without the lit references.

    The only thing I would say against him is its a short step from Borges to liking Escher and if you are really unlucky an earnest discussion of the Reimann hypothesis, and then someone has to die, I'm sorry.

    Gibson is very good, but (and its an occupational hazard for SF writers) I think he might date quickly. I notice his latest books are written much closer to the "now" than neuromancer and the other earlier work, and I think they may last longer. After all, nothing is so in the past than the future you never had...(none of which has stopped me having every one of his books on my shelves, and re-reading them all more than once). I don't know Gaiman I'm afraid.

    While we are on SF, Philip K Dick?

    Good call re Hemmingway. In a similar vein (I don't know why in a similar vein now I think of it, but I think of them as similar writers) if you find a copy of Independent People by Halldor Laxness, buy it and read it. Unsentimental, so blackly humourous you are really not sure if its humour at all (and in true saga style you can bet the author won't leave any clues to help you), well worth a read.
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    Clan Takiyama Senior Member R'as al Ghul's Avatar
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    Default Re: Who will we still be reading in 100 years time?

    Quote Originally Posted by English assassin
    Gibson is very good, but (and its an occupational hazard for SF writers) I think he might date quickly. I notice his latest books are written much closer to the "now" than neuromancer and the other earlier work, and I think they may last longer. After all, nothing is so in the past than the future you never had...(none of which has stopped me having every one of his books on my shelves, and re-reading them all more than once).
    While we are on SF, Philip K Dick?
    Okay, the danger of dating is there. But then again, we're still reading
    Verne and Wells and others. Phillip K. Dick is not exactly contemporary
    either. I think the fact that SF tells us more about the present than the future
    will keep them interesting. And, as in Dick's case, it may even get a new actuality to it,
    like the latest movie adaptions of Dick show. (I'm not saying they are good).
    Quote Originally Posted by English assassin
    I don't know Gaiman I'm afraid.
    Well, you've missed a genuine English genius, I'm afraid.
    He was born in England and moved to the US when he got involved
    in writing a series of graphic novels for DC. His series is called "Sandman"
    and is about Morpheus, the Lord of the Dream realm. He is not a god but an entity. He has several siblings like Death, Destruction, Despair, Desire, etc.
    All of them represent universal aspects of humanity. Around the main character Morpheus or Sandman evolve endless self-concluded stories, but the whole series also has an underlying red thread. It's absolutely brilliant but you have to like Comics/Graphic novels. The editions aren't too cheap either. Paperbacks are about 20€ here.
    Then you have his novels. He constantly gets credit like "He's a treasurehouse of stories. We're lucky to have him. Here's a short list.
    Start from the top.
    "Good Omens" w/ Terry Pratchett.
    This one is hilarious. When reading it on the Subway, I frequently bursted out in loud laughter. It's about Armageddon and how Aziraphale, the Archangel and Aleister Crowley, a Demon try to prevent the worst. You won't be able to put it away when you've read the first two pages. I swear.
    Pratchett (of Discworld fame) and Gaiman (of Sandman fame) may seem an unlikely combination, but the topic (Armageddon) of this fast-paced novel is old hat to both. Pratchett's wackiness collaborates with Gaiman's morbid humor; the result is a humanist delight to be savored and reread again and again. You see, there was a bit of a mixup when the Antichrist was born, due in part to the machinations of Crowley, who did not so much fall as saunter downwards, and in part to the mysterious ways as manifested in the form of a part-time rare book dealer, an angel named Aziraphale. Like top agents everywhere, they've long had more in common with each other than the sides they represent, or the conflict they are nominally engaged in. The only person who knows how it will all end is Agnes Nutter, a witch whose prophecies all come true, if one can only manage to decipher them. The minor characters along the way (Famine makes an appearance as diet crazes, no-calorie food and anorexia epidemics) are as much fun as the story as a whole, which adds up to one of those rare books which is enormous fun to read the first time, and the second time, and the third time...
    "American Gods"
    What happens to all the Gods that the immigrants to the US leave behind?
    They loose power to new gods like TV etc. and they don't like it.
    The intriguing premise of Gaiman's tale is that the gods of European yore, who came to North America with their immigrant believers, are squaring off for a rumble with new indigenous deities: "gods of credit card and freeway, of Internet and telephone, of radio and hospital and television, gods of plastic and of beeper and of neon." They all walk around in mufti, disguised as ordinary people,...
    Further readings by him:
    Stardust, a fairy tale. Highly recommended.
    Neverwhere. About a subterranean paralell dimension under London.
    The protagonist stumbles upon one of its inhabitants. A girl named Door.
    She is able to open doors into this dimension and he follows her into
    a stunning adventure.

    Sorry for advertizing.
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    Senior Member Senior Member English assassin's Avatar
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    Default Re: Who will we still be reading in 100 years time?

    fair enough. On the strength of your appreciation of Alan Moore you are obviously a man of taste, so I will check him out at Forbidden Planet.
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    Tree Killer Senior Member Beirut's Avatar
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    Default Re: Who will we still be reading in 100 years time?

    Shakespeare!

    H.G.Wells

    George Orwell

    Edgar Allan Poe
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    Default Re: Who will we still be reading in 100 years time?

    i say: nobody

    books are a vastly obsolete form of information delivery

    books are going the way of the dodo bird

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    Senior Member Senior Member Ser Clegane's Avatar
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    Default Re: Who will we still be reading in 100 years time?

    Quote Originally Posted by Navaros
    books are a vastly obsolete form of information delivery

    books are going the way of the dodo bird
    Uhm ... which medium will in your opinion replace books?

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    Ambiguous Member Byzantine Prince's Avatar
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    Default Re: Who will we still be reading in 100 years time?

    Computer reading for you.

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    Needs more flowers Moderator drone's Avatar
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    Post Re: Who will we still be reading in 100 years time?

    Regarding Orwell, there will always be oppressive, controlling governments around, so I don't think his work gets dated, it just depends on where you live.

    Of course, if the trend in this country (US) continues, I'm thinking all the good books will be banned by then. We will just be watching pap on large screen TVs, and owning a book will get you a visit from the firemen . Maybe Bradbury was right....
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    Dragon Knight Member Betito's Avatar
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    Default Re: Who will we still be reading in 100 years time?

    And don't forget Octavio Paz, Gabriel García Márquez and Federico García Lorca.
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    Arena Senior Member Crazed Rabbit's Avatar
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    Default Re: Who will we still be reading in 100 years time?

    Well, this might have been mentioned (but I didn't see it):
    Tolkien. His works will ring true as long as there is good and evil (or even if there isn't).

    And, of course, Richard Adams, for his masterpiece Watership Down. Though it's just a story about rabbits, it is a great saga of survival.

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    Master of Few Words Senior Member KukriKhan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Who will we still be reading in 100 years time?

    This is great. Almost a list of works/authors to be certain to get in hardcover, so that Grandson Jake can tell his grandson: "In olden times, grandpa & grandma Kukri read from very thin pieces of processed wood, bound together with glue on one side, and protected from the elements with a thick, wooden-like cover. Like this volume called 'Ulysses', by a fella named James Joyce."

    Poor grandkid, will run screaming from books after trying to read that , but I vote it to the 'must have in 100 years' list, for it's slice-of-life, wordplay, and solve-a-puzzle depth.
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    Medical Welshman in London. Senior Member Big King Sanctaphrax's Avatar
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    Default Re: Who will we still be reading in 100 years time?

    And, of course, Richard Adams, for his masterpiece Watership Down. Though it's just a story about rabbits, it is a great saga of survival.
    I can't read Watership Down, it's just too sad. It's bizarre, I can preside over the deaths of thousands of Gallic tribesmen, but rabbits snuffing it does for me completely.
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    Senior Member Senior Member Ser Clegane's Avatar
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    Default Re: Who will we still be reading in 100 years time?

    Frank Herbert's Dune series has a good chance of remaining an SF-classic even at the end of this century IMHO

    Quote Originally Posted by Byzantine Prince
    Computer reading for you.
    Not really, if you look at the original post I was referring to...

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    Clan Takiyama Senior Member R'as al Ghul's Avatar
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    Default Re: Who will we still be reading in 100 years time?

    Quote Originally Posted by English assassin
    fair enough. On the strength of your appreciation of Alan Moore you are obviously a man of taste, so I will check him out at Forbidden Planet.
    Thanks, was it "From Hell" I recommended to you? They are doing another
    "rape to movie" on one of his works, "V for Vendetta". And I think that
    "Watchmen" is also being adapted. How is it that the Movie industry leaves
    everything out that makes up an Alan Moore novel?

    Btw, I just finished the second part of Neal Stephensons "Barock Circle".
    The first two books are called "Quicksilver" and "The Confusion". It takes
    place in the time of Enlightenment. Roughly between 1670s and 1700+.
    Very nice mixture between word- and swordplay, a good amount of history teaching and witty dialogue.
    Stephenson is best known for his cyberpunk novel "Snowcrash", which I can also recommend.

    R'as

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    A very, very Senior Member Adrian II's Avatar
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    Default Re: Who will we still be reading in 100 years time?

    Here's AdrianII, your obliging spoil-sport. We shouldn't be listing nice books. We should name at least one author who will 'survive' the next hundred years, and explain why, right?

    I'd have a whole series of candidates: Dostoievsky, Conrad, Proust, Gide and Roth would be among them. The reason is that they write about universal themes, but these are set in very specific surroundings that lend them their universal force. Universals are bloodless abstracts unless we see, hear and feel them operate in specific circumstances, in the lives of specific individuals. These writers (among a lot of others, don't tempt me...) evoke 'real life' in ways that transcend its specific reality.

    Well, since you're tempting me, I'll mention John le Carre. His first novel A Call for the Dead is among the best I've ever read. It encapsulates the twin evils of twentieth century history, nazism and communism, and the ambivalence of men caught between forces that they don't control or understand, yet have to act upon. Greek tragedy, personified by the ungainly George Smiley.
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    Unpatched Member hrvojej's Avatar
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    Default Re: Who will we still be reading in 100 years time?

    I must say I am not overly familiar with the post-WW2 literature, but from those 20th century authors I do know and like, I'm pretty sure people will still read at least Kafka, Proust, and Camus.
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    Actual Person Member Paul Peru's Avatar
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    Default Re: Who will we still be reading in 100 years time?

    I don't know much about art, but I know what I like...
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    Senior Member Senior Member The Shadow One's Avatar
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    Default Re: Who will we still be reading in 100 years time?

    I don't get by very often any more; my work schedule doesn't allow it. But this is a thread that I simply couldn't pass up.

    For those who may not know me, I knocked around a library or two in my time, as both an explorer and an under-paid employee. This does not mean I have a better take on this topic than anyone else. However, I do notice something missing.

    But we'll get to that in a moment.

    First, a word about books. Books (as defined by an information delivery system which relies upon physical pages glued and/or sewed to a hardboard, cardboard, or stock paper cover) will not go away in a hundred years. Maybe a thousand, but not a hundred. There are just too many people who like the the old information delivery system. The paper may change; we may become more eco-conscious and start using some biodegradable synthetic material for pages and covers, and there may be other changes as well, but books will still be around.

    Even in a thousand years from now, books will exist in an electronic format. Recall that for centuries philosophers and critics have condemned modern man's fascination with books -- particularly fiction. But people still read fiction. Just check any library.

    Okay, so what will we be reading a hundred years from now?

    Many of the authors listed share a caucasion, American, Western or Eastern European heritage (apart from Betito's refreshing reference to Paz, Márquez and Lorca).

    But since the end of World War II and the Cold War, less and less Europeans and Americans are "dominating" the world of literature. Authors like Pasternack, Marquez and Nabokov have taken their well-deserved places at the head of modern literature.

    Consider some other un-American alternatives:

    Mo Yan, the Chinese author who is read by millions (just not in America, England, and Europe) and whose works have been made into movies such as Red Sorghum (by the same director that brought us House of Flying Daggers. Or Gao Xingian, the Chinese author who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2000.

    Yukio Mishima, the Japanese author that recorded, in excruciatingly beautiful detail, the troubled world of post-war Japan. His works include twenty-three novels, several volumes of poetry, and literally thousands of essays. He committed suicide by ceremonial seppuku in 1970. Like Yan, his works have been read and applauded by millions -- in Japan.

    Naguib Mahfouz, the Egyptian author whose works include Children of the Alley and the Cairo trilogy. Again, read by millions -- in Africa.

    I think it would be a good thing if, in a hundred years, half the books we read were written by authors whose works required translation before we could read them. (Unless you're one of those brilliant seven-languages types).

    Just my opinion.

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    Part-Time Polemic Senior Member ICantSpellDawg's Avatar
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    Default Re: Who will we still be reading in 100 years time?

    1st person historical books will still be read as primary documents

    such as orwell

    i think the historians will be phased out - at least in the readings of the laity
    other historians may use some ideas for a time
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    One of the Undutchables Member The Stranger's Avatar
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    Default Re: Who will we still be reading in 100 years time?

    i think JK Rowling

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    The Black Senior Member Papewaio's Avatar
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    Default Re: Who will we still be reading in 100 years time?

    Quote Originally Posted by R'as al Ghul

    Neverwhere. About a subterranean paralell dimension under London.
    The protagonist stumbles upon one of its inhabitants. A girl named Door.
    She is able to open doors into this dimension and he follows her into
    a stunning adventure.

    Sorry for advertizing.
    He is one of my absolute favs and I can't stop to tell everyone about it.
    That is an interesting book. It is like a side dish to my main course, not my standard diet.
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    Swarthylicious Member Spino's Avatar
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    Default Re: Who will we still be reading in 100 years time?

    "Dentures, the Devil, and the Great Cavity Cover-up", by Jay Phillip Higgenbottom
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    Resident Northern Irishman Member ShadesPanther's Avatar
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    Default Re: Who will we still be reading in 100 years time?

    was tolkein mentioned. LOTR is second only to the bible and I think it might be slightly less popular but still up there

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    Sovereign of Soy Member Lehesu's Avatar
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    Default Re: Who will we still be reading in 100 years time?

    I hope Vonnegut sticks around. Khalil Gibran, methinks, will still be read, even if his stuff is becoming a tad trite due to exposure.
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    ###### of the Smurfs Member pyhhricvictory's Avatar
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    Default Re: Who will we still be reading in 100 years time?

    You all are missing Kerouac, Ginsberg and Burroughs. The Beats were some of the more influential authors in 20th century of America.
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    Senior Member Senior Member English assassin's Avatar
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    Default Re: Who will we still be reading in 100 years time?

    Thanks, was it "From Hell" I recommended to you? They are doing another
    "rape to movie" on one of his works, "V for Vendetta". And I think that
    "Watchmen" is also being adapted. How is it that the Movie industry leaves
    everything out that makes up an Alan Moore novel?
    Not sure, I think we were discussing Jerry Cornelius at the time. I'd like to think people would still read Michael Moorcock but I have my doubts....Mother London might make it as a period peice.

    I really seriously don't think filming V for Vendetta is a good idea.

    Much as I hated it, if you want to understand the 80's zeitgeist I can see American Psycho sticking around. I thought that was a seriously good work of art, even if I chickened out of keeping it on my shelves after reading it. Glamourama looks only too relevant assuming the cult of celebrity is still going, which seems likely.

    john le Carre, AII? I wonder if people who weren't there will be able to understand what the cold war was really like in 50 years time, though?
    "The only thing I've gotten out of this thread is that Navaros is claiming that Satan gave Man meat. Awesome." Gorebag

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