Sunday, February 14, 2010

A Wrinkle in Time

This sci-fi story was written in 1962 by Madeleine L'Engle, and is something of a classic children's book. I read it, and the other three books about the Murry family, in my youth; I remember liking it more then. This isn't a condemnation of the book...I remember thinking it was spectacular as a kid, and now it is merely pretty good.

This book follows 12ish-year-old Meg, her younger brother Charles, and another boy as she tries to rescue her father, who is trapped by a nebulous malevolence on another planet. They are helped by three old ladies with scientific understanding so advanced it borders on the magical (for example, they can sort of create a wormhole to travel really far in about 6 seconds, but it is just science at work, not magic!). These ladies represent the Holy Trinity of Christian religions,
and the evil father-captor seems to be Lucifer.
I was surprised by how much this book could be taken as having a libertarian theme in addition to religious. My main example is L'Engle's manifestation of the ultimate evil on this other planet: collective thought/action taken to an extreme. Everything is meticulously controlled by the central intelligence entity, and nobody is allowed/has any motivation to take personal initiative. Everybody is equal by virtue of nobody being happy or wealthy. This does sound pretty awful, but I would have pictured a world taken over by Prince of Darkness would have more...I don't know...pain and suffering?

Incidentally, the aforementioned wormhole is called a tesseract in the book, but a tesseract is a real geometrical concept of a cube in four dimensions (that is, it is to a cube what a cube is to a square.)

1 comment:

Mom said...

I remember loving the book and series as a kid, but I never realized back then, and don't remember now, the religious imagery. I think I did have a tiny inkling of the libertarian point of view, though!