July 25, 2013Doug Hadden
Doug Hadden, VP Products
At some point while reading Dan Brown’s latest “thriller”, Inferno, I had a flashback to comic books and poor James Bond movies. Like, with a “mad scientist” motivated to rid the planet of humans. In Inferno, it’s because of a Malthusian concern that the planet lacks environmental sustainability because of growth of human population.
It’s topical for Brown to select the sustainability of the planet as a motivation. But, the character is single-dimensional. And, the plot device used to create suspense is amnesia. Which is a sign of a poorly-crafted story. (The real mystery to me is how this book has received 4 stars on Amazon.)
We can all understand how zealots of any cause can move to extremes. Corners are cut. Ethics breached. The end begins to justify the means. There was nothing important about the sustainability theme. Brown could have substituted the eugenic vision of Hugo Drax from Moonraker or the environmental vision of Karl Stromberg from The Spy who Loved Me without too much effort. The genre suffers from this stereotype. So much so that it’s parodied through Dr. Evil and The Brain.
Is this an insidious stereotype that industrialists and successful scientists are somehow evil – and a touch crazy? And, that concern over the future of the planet and civilization dangerously leads people to extreme points of view?
If anything, Brown’s latest work shows the stereotype of the successful author hashing out formulaic works.
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