THE AMERICAN REPLACEMENT OF NATURE by William Irwin Thompson

THE AMERICAN REPLACEMENT OF NATURE

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KIRKUS REVIEW

 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. 1st, 1991
ISBN: 0-385-42025-0
Page count: 160pp
Publisher: Doubleday
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15th, 1991