last night i finished reading dan brown's "inferno," and i can't say i loved it that much. don't get me wrong, i love the classily brownian twists and cryptic clues, leading a trail across history, geography, science, religion, art, and literature, but this particular book felt to me like it kept getting slowed down by long sections of exposition. and while i was particularly interested in what brown might be saying about hell, the dante stuff felt a bit forced to me at times. i mean, i get it: i understand that brown is making the point that some (maybe him?) think that we are already in the inferno of population growth and overcrowding, but i had been hoping for more of a commentary on the afterlife from brown's humanist, futurist perspective.
so i didn't enjoy this as much as "angels and demons" or especially "the lost symbol," but i will say that the transhumanism stuff, with its bent towards genetic engineering, is a bit terrifying. i would prefer it if no scientists decide to weed out certain portions of the population by releasing airborne contagions. just saying. as always, robert langdon is the college professor we all secretly want to be, with his harris tweed, and seemingly unending knowledge about every secret corner of every museum, church and attraction in europe. except this time he didn't really save the day, at least not in the usual way. instead, there was this sense of the inevitability of large-scale, plague-like disease, winnowing down the population. it is the "hell" that we will have to face, sooner or later, according to dan brown.
but not me. my story follows an arc of redemption, with no less twists and turns, perhaps, but with a much more hopeful ending: a paradisio, and not just for the rich, healthy, or privileged. my divine comedy ends with a table large enough for all.