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Fried Light: A bucket to the stars

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By Roger Snodgrass

In Michael Kandel’s satiric short story, “Space Opera,” which is written as a libretto for a science fiction opera, the curtain rises in a provincial spaceport on the Planet Creeth orbiting the sun Alpha Cygni.The opera’s hero, Bobby “Rocket” DeVries, and his fellow grease monkeys are banging the dents out of a rickety space junker, singing “Let’s return this old bucket to the stars,” to the din of their hammer blows.Then Bobby’s friend Fred runs in with the news that Darg Bahr, the governor of the asteroids is on his way to the spaceport.“The grease apes cheer, for this will mean work,” writes Kandel, (emphasis added) in a stunning and frightening projection.Unless I am mistaken, the author suggests in typically frivolous and exaggerated operatic terms that the endless race to the bottom that we have come to know as globalization threatens to doom mankind far into the future when it will probably be called “universalization.”Well, to be sure, the economic discomfort may only be a recession, but that is hard to say from the meager information provided by the libretto and the failure to give a singing role to an economist.Nevertheless, applying the tools of deconstruction – an inarticulate and risky antidote for national delusion to be sure, but the only one not supplied by the


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