Previous by DateNext by Date Date Index
Previous by ThreadNext by Thread Thread Index
LM_NET Archive

I want to share a terrific book that I just read - "Killing Time" by Caleb =
Carr.  I was surprised when I went to Amazon to discover that, although =
the review sources praised the books, most readers who submitted reviews =
did not like the book.  It seemed that many people did not like it because =
it was quite different than Carr's other books.  Others did not feel that =
it was good science fiction.  Being neither a Caleb Carr reader nor a =
sci-fi fan, the facets of the books that troubled them were not a problem =
for me. =20

Th eBook is not really typical sci-fi.  It is set in the very near future =
- 2017 - and deals with the changes in society brought on by the informatio=
n age.  I kept checking the copyright date (c. 2000)=20
because I could not believe that it was written prior to 9-11. Although =
there is no 9-11 type event - everything else that has come to pass since =
then is in the book.  War in Afghanistan, increased=20
surveillance and security measures, global decision making based on =
falsified reporting from both the media and intelligence agencies, the =
discovery of a fossil skeleton in Africa, unrest in Malaysia,=20
world-wide terrorism.  You name a headline in the past 2 years - and it is =
in this book.  But to me the most intriguing aspect of the book is its =
viewpoint on the effect of the information age on global events. =20

The viewpoint expressed in the book certainly has implications for our =
jobs as librarians, teaching our students how to evaluate the information =
they read on the net - or anywhere else for that matter. =20

Here are some interesting quotes:

"The human brain adores it [Information] - it plays with the bits of =
information it receives, arranging them and storing them like a delighted =
child.  But it loathes examining them deeply, doing the hard work of =
assembling them into integrated systems of understanding.  Yet that work =
is what produces knowledge... The rest is simply - recreation." (p.235)

Here are some lines taken from a section where the characters are talking =
about societal changes brought about by the internet:

"The flood gates were thrown open, and human society, already saturated =
with information, began to drown in it.... And the very nature of that =
technology means that there is no real knowledge anymore...because what =
those custodians do allow to slip through their deliver systems is utterly =
unregulated and unverifiable.  Mistaken facts - or, worse yet, deceptions =
on a simple or a grand scale, supported by doctored evidence and digitally =
manipulated images - become commonly accepted wisdom before there's even =
been a chance to determine the validity of their bases.  And remember that =
we've now raised not one but several generations of children who have been =
exposed only to that kind of questionable data" (p.62-63)

If you are a sci-fi fan or a Caleb Carr fan =96 this book might disappoint =
you.  However, I was fascinated to think about the global ramifications of =
the evaluation and citation skills that I teach to my=20
high school students every day.  I have always been convinced that the =
skills we teach are important.  Now I see what I teach as literally a =
matter of =93survival=94.

I=92d love to hear from others who have read the book.


"All that is gold does not glitter, not all those that wander are lost"
 J.R.R. Tolkien
Jacquie Henry, MLS
Ruben A. Cirillo High School (GHS)
Gananda Central School District
3195 Wiedrick Road
Walworth, NY  14568

All LM_NET postings are protected by copyright law.
To change your LM_NET status, e-mail to:
In the message write EITHER: 1) SIGNOFF LM_NET  2) SET LM_NET NOMAIL
3) SET LM_NET MAIL  4) SET LM_NET DIGEST  * Allow for confirmation.
LM_NET Help & Information:
LM_NET Select/EL-Announce:
LM_NET Supporters:

LM_NET Mailing List Home