THE AMERICAN REPLACEMENT OF NATURE

Thompson (Imaginary Landscape, 1989; Pacific Shift, 1986, etc.) levels his futurist's gaze on the technology of fantasy and illusion, which, he says, is transforming nearly all spheres of life. With wry wit, Thompson delivers a scary vision of an increasingly dehumanized world in which America—``an electronic Umwelt in which history is replaced with movies, education is replaced with entertainment, and nature is replaced with technology''—is busy conquering all the world's cultures with its anticultural religion of Disney. The natural world, including the human, the author predicts, will give way to the new creation of new businesses: biospheres that capture the genetic capital of medicinal plants; electronic advances that make flesh obsolete; virtual-reality suits that manufacture experiences for those who sit within them. In his riveting tour through Disney's EPCOT Center, his description of the ``electropeasantry'' that votes on the basis of like and dislike, and his discussion of whether the coming world is an incarnation of the demon Ahriman, Thompson offers a range of disturbing material on the dark side of so-called progress. Also notable is his analysis of why the Gulf War, even if engineered, had to occur to prevent a splintering of the world into ethnic rivalries. Sobering and powerful when diagnosing the ills technology is ushering in; less convincing when searching for a positive ``evolutionary'' purpose for such transformations.

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 1991

ISBN: 0-385-42025-0

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1991

Categories:

NUTCRACKER

This is not the Nutcracker sweet, as passed on by Tchaikovsky and Marius Petipa. No, this is the original Hoffmann tale of 1816, in which the froth of Christmas revelry occasionally parts to let the dark underside of childhood fantasies and fears peek through. The boundaries between dream and reality fade, just as Godfather Drosselmeier, the Nutcracker's creator, is seen as alternately sinister and jolly. And Italian artist Roberto Innocenti gives an errily realistic air to Marie's dreams, in richly detailed illustrations touched by a mysterious light. A beautiful version of this classic tale, which will captivate adults and children alike. (Nutcracker; $35.00; Oct. 28, 1996; 136 pp.; 0-15-100227-4)

Pub Date: Oct. 28, 1996

ISBN: 0-15-100227-4

Page Count: 136

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1996

Categories:

TO THE ONE I LOVE THE BEST

EPISODES FROM THE LIFE OF LADY MENDL (ELSIE DE WOLFE)

An extravaganza in Bemelmans' inimitable vein, but written almost dead pan, with sly, amusing, sometimes biting undertones, breaking through. For Bemelmans was "the man who came to cocktails". And his hostess was Lady Mendl (Elsie de Wolfe), arbiter of American decorating taste over a generation. Lady Mendl was an incredible person,- self-made in proper American tradition on the one hand, for she had been haunted by the poverty of her childhood, and the years of struggle up from its ugliness,- until she became synonymous with the exotic, exquisite, worshipper at beauty's whrine. Bemelmans draws a portrait in extremes, through apt descriptions, through hilarious anecdote, through surprisingly sympathetic and understanding bits of appreciation. The scene shifts from Hollywood to the home she loved the best in Versailles. One meets in passing a vast roster of famous figures of the international and artistic set. And always one feels Bemelmans, slightly offstage, observing, recording, commenting, illustrated.

Pub Date: Feb. 23, 1955

ISBN: 0670717797

Page Count: -

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Oct. 25, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1955

Categories:
Close Quickview