Saturday, March 26, 2005

What earthly good are dead narrators and dead dinosaurs?

Although I've only taken the time to skim it at this point, Elizabeth Tallent's article in The Threepenny Review tackles the recent upsurge in books being narrated by postmortals (via Conversational Reading) and has already led me to another book that I just have to read: Keith Kachtick's Hungry Ghost. How can I resist a book that combines both a second person narrator with one who continues on with his story even after his death (in one of the alternate endings, at least)?

My feeling at this point is that she's cherrypicked among the novels to reach her conclusions, however. There are just too many other books out there with dead narrators that she hasn't addressed or even mentioned--off the top of my head, where are Orhan Pamuk's My Name is Red or Margaret Drabble's The Witch of Exmoor or Abby Frucht's Polly's Ghost? Where's Michel Faber's "The Red Cement Truck"? The Lovely Bones is such a stupid book--must it always be dwelled upon? Something to think about over spring break. . .

Meanwhile (and I'm segueing into a Science Saturday entry now) postmortal dinosaurs are in the news (The New York Times). A T-rex's lovely thighbone has offered up soft tissue that might open up "avenues for studying dinosaur physiology and perhaps some aspects of their biochemistry," according to North Carolina State University/Montana State University biologist Mary H. Schweitzer, who headed the team who discovered the tissue. You can view a close up of the tissue at Pharyngula or read kids' perspective on the tissue here.

And who can resist watching a vampire bat gallop down a plexiglass runway? (Pharyngula again)

Jared Diamond writes about ecocide in Seed Magazine.

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