I’ve read a number of large, seminal novels over the last few years. Three of them are Gravity’s Rainbow, Dhalgren, and Underworld. Each of these books, in its own way, features a fear of the bomb—through war and rocket fascinations in Gravity’s Rainbow, through the staled and curious aftermath of an unknown cataclysmic event or series of events in Dhalgren, and through good old Cold War dread in Underworld. Where plain history falls short, culture teaches me that 40 years of our parents’ generation was in some way defined by the pervasive fear of nuclear annihilation and fallout.
What fear will define our generation? What fear should define our generation?