by Arthur C. Clarke
you think you're so fucken smart, don't you mark? ha, think again. all your little plans and goals, your little community of friends and family and colleagues, your whole little life... what does it matter in the long run? not a whole fucken lot. grow up, sad child.
take this book for example. a classic of the genre, written by a classic author. you thought you knew what you were getting into; you've read countless examples of the type. you sure are a well-read little scifi nerd, aren't you? for the first half, maybe longer, you were right. a well-crafted central character, flavorful supporting characters, intriguing aliens, a spicy mystery to solve. it was all laid out as expected and the pleasures were of a familiar sort. when the mystery of the aliens' appearance was solved, you were a wee bit surprised. but it was a comfortable sort of surprise. it's not like it blew your little mind. it was clever. but overall everything up until then was as you expected. well fucking Congratulations, chump, your predictions came half-true. you want a medal? you don't get one. there aren't any half-medals.
there are some fucking spoilers that follow!
you weren't expecting what came after. those revelations came out of the blue for you, didn't they? you didn't expect to be made to feel so small, to get a little depressed, to have your expectations pounded all to pieces. it was kinda beautiful in a way, kinda mind-blowing. but mainly it was fucken sad. oh you poor baby. you have your own private little dreams of widespread empathy and the future of children and the future of humanity and our future place in the world and - at the most secret, sentimental heart of you - some corny spiritual post-life higher consciousness transcending type shit. you didn't expect that to be a part of the novel, did you? you didn't expect it to all come out, be laid out on the page like a body in a morgue, your body, and then just get eviscerated. your dreams of some sort of future beyond this present, where you are still you, a wistful dream that you like to think is both delicate and profound like one of those origami things you like to do. what's your favorite one? a pinwheel. well you get to watch that pinwheel of a dream get smashed and turned inside out and torn up into bits. revealed as a typically naive and childish fantasy. ha! so much for that. grow the fuck up, chump.