Iain Salisbury

Share Profile

Iain Salisbury

Iain Salisbury’s book reviews

The work is somewhat political but what is startling is the accuracy with which it describes the current trend towards social isolation. People seldom meet in person but instead communicate trivia by something resembling television and what we may call “social media”. Attention spans have dwindled and ten minutes is considered long for a lecture. The main character can only devote three to a conversation with her son. At that date, nobody had been forced to confront the reality of socialism and novels such as H. G. Wells's A Modern Utopia (1905) presented a glowing future of eugenics, state control, and ever more powerful technology. It took a bold genius to foresee the dystopia that was to engulf as much as forty percent of humanity. We now know that Forster's "Machine" - a command economy that crushes individual initiative - did not so much break down as never work in the first place, leading to horrors like genocidal famine wherever it's been attempted. As the shortcomings of the Machine become obvious, the people are bombarded with increasingly implausible data, presaging Soviet accounts of record harvests in 1922 Ukraine.
04/12/2021