Literary Reviews, Page 22

"Photosynthesis" (continued)

After reading several stories, it appears as if profanity and adult themes are not prohibited on Pedestal. However, the writing in regard to such considerations is far more restrained and tastefully presented than it is on some online "literary journals" that I have had the misfortune to investigate.

There seems to be a mindset amongst some of our contemporary literati that if a character is not dedicated to dismantling two thousand years or so of the Judeo-Christian ethic, then he or she cannot possibly be of any interest to any sophisticated reader. Apparently, what constitutes great literature these days, in the minds of the oh-so-sophisticated literary set, is to strive to present the most vile and vulgar characters and scenarios one can imagine; but cloaked in erudite verbiage, as if fashioning a dinner jacket to put onto a swine would make it a suitable supper guest. This reviewer simply calls it a boar. All too often, such is what passes as “chic" these days, and one is glad to see that Pedestal's esteemed staff apparently agrees.

"Photosynthesis," [The Pedestal Magazine; Issue 5, August-October, 2001] by Jay Caselberg, presents yet another parable concerning racism and race relations, invoking a science fiction veneer. Literary journals have a great affinity for such socially progressive pieces.

An errant comet crashed into the Siberian wastelands, seemingly fortuitously sparing Earth's inhabitants the potentially cataclysmic consequences had it landed in a large population center. But such was not the case, as the comet carried with it a hitchhiking alien virus, which quickly decimates mankind.

The virus causes humans to mutate and take on plant-like characteristics. Most afflicted with the alien virus do not survive. Those who do have their skins turn green, and cease to have a need to eat. Rather, they are nourished photosyntheticaly from the sun. Those living in more temperate climates are forced to either migrate to the equatorial regions or take supplements to survive. These mutated humans and their descendents are called "Photos," or "Greenies" as they are derisively referred to by the other segment of surviving humanity.

Those humans who were immune to the virus continue on non-mutated, continuing traditional human activities such as working during the day and, above all, eating. They are referred to as "Eaters," or conversely and derisively (by the Photos) as "Foodies." The very thought of eating has become repulsive to the mutated humanoids. In this post-apocalyptic Earth, society has become largely segregated, with the Photos having the upper hand and oppressing the Eaters. Click to continue:

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