The Reason We’re Waiting
Philosophical narrative – exploring ideas through the interaction of characters representing various views – has a history that dates back to before “Plato’s Republic” and continued to into the modern era with the likes of Camus and Ayan Rand. Pat Clor’s second novel, The Reason We’re Waiting, sits firmly in that tradition. In philosophy and style, it owes much to Rand’s “Atlas Shrugged,” though Clor demonstrates a superior absurdist sense of humor, which brings to mind Vonnegut’s “Cat’s Cradle.”
Clor imagines a near future, where a surging religious system based on a book “The Science of God,” by Satica Azmodious, is coming to dominate society. Azmodious advocates a collectivist social structure. Against his movement stands artist and thinker Aris Desiderita, founder of tiny Pangaea, a Utopian nation committed to individualism and freedom. When Jim Smith – Azmodious’s chief apostle who in reality is none other than Azmodious himself – comes to Pangaea to confront Desiderita, he will be forced to face the horrible violence he’s committed in his past.
At times this book suffers under both excessive length and page-long paragraphs of philosophical exposition, yet it also demonstrates the author’s sharp nose for the humorously absurd. The novel’s narrator, a janitor, recounts the events from his perch, cleaning the floors at a Walmart with a jaundiced eye. Clor also possesses a rare gift bestowing humorous names; Diablo Pectin and Fred McPhisto were two particular favorites. At times I could not help but wonder what kind of book might have been produced if Clor had cut back on characters speaking as if they’d swallowed a philosophical journal and instead relied on his reader’s intelligence to parse out his meaning.
Consider the following quote from one of the novel’s longer digressions: “Though, reason and logic can be described as being distinct, logic was and remains as an insubordinate aspect of reason according to the functionalists: reason is easily the higher authority of brain activity, as it more closely resembles the flow of social interactions, which are governed by emotions.” Mind you, this is just one sentence from a paragraph that goes on for more than a page, complete with footnotes! By contrast, at other times, characters express themselves more succinctly, such as this argument from Aris: “Philosophy, I am afraid, according to Satica Azmodious, has become a tool to blind us from the world around because of the habit to reduce everything to one thing…being multi-dimensional is good, not evil as Satica preaches.”
Overall, Clor offers a thoughtful debate about philosophy’s nature and importance. Had he better distilled his prose into a less pedagogical narrative, I am certain he would have found a wider audience. Despite this shortcoming, it often proved an engaging and amusing platform for the author’s complex philosophical positions.
Chris Hayden has been working at City Book Review since 2012, so that makes him the keeper of knowledge. He manages the office and book reviewers (all 200 of them!), which is no small feat. If you’re looking at the book reviews here, you’re seeing them because he sent the books out for review. Without him, this place would fall apart, because no one else in the office knows how to use the postage machine. Two words: job security.
|Page Count||772 pages|
|Amazon||Buy this Book|
|Category||Science Fiction & Fantasy|