“We Are Challenging Nature Itself and It Hits Back”

Because humans are the worst, their history is uniformly grim and depressing. Which makes generating bibliographic metadata an exercise in managing despair, either by keeping it at bay with gallows humor or embracing it, and thereby plunging headlong into the abyss.

For this reason, we on the Historical Fiction Genre Clean-Up Team (aka “HiFi”) have a questionable honor that we informally bestow upon members for their reflections, statements, and anecdotes that display an especially deft balance of nihilism, dark humor, and cosmic absurdity.

We call it the Werner Herzog Acknowledgement for Demonstration of Acute Awareness of the Casual Cruelty of an Impersonal, Implacable Universe and the Ultimate Futility of Human Endeavor.

Because you can’t really call it a “prize,” can you?

That said, we ARE in the process of designing a trophy, which will probably just be an engraved base attached to an empty column. You know, to represent the purposeless striving in which we all feel compelled to participate…why? To what end? Do we even know?

And without further ado, may I present this fortnight’s nominees:

“We are the sole surviving species of hominid, not because we were the first or the fittest, but because we mastered the art of genocide. We ourselves created the very loneliness that afflicts us.” (inspired by the subject heading “Prehistory”)

“But at what point does the Age of Exploration become the Age of Exploitation? I know it’s difficult to identify the exact year, but we need to at least try. What does [the] L[ibrary of]C[ongress] say?”

“Whenever I think of him, I think of that scene from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade and then I think, ‘You have chosen poorly.'” (inspired by the subject heading “Maximilian I of Mexico”)

“Maybe we should just have a subject heading for ‘White People Be Like’ and that’s where we can put most of the crimes against humanity. It would definitely save time.” (inspired by the long list of atrocities represented in both fiction and narrative nonfiction)

Meanwhile, My Fella seems to be experiencing an existential crisis of his own:

"text message"

So, to sum up my week (and tie together the themes of this post), here’s this penguin.

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