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Bewildering Stories

The Critics’ Corner

“Nemo and Kafka in Peredia”

by Michael E. Lloyd

For me, the most fascinating aspect of “Nemo and Kafka in Peredia” is the change in the profiles of Nemo and even Kafka. They appear to move, during the short time span of the story, from privately rebellious potential heroes to largely-fledged yes-men — and with a very understandable “survival” reason, of course.

Such character development makes this story very deep satire indeed. It’s not directed mainly at the New Heartless State, which is entirely too easy a target; rather it mocks the passivity, nonchalance, compromise and denial of its citizens: the very behaviours that allow such states to come to power and thence to hoodwink even the apparently most promising rebels ... well, Nemo at least, and Kafka seems quite happy too, despite his alleged scepticism.

That civic denial of the biggest internal threats to our freedom is what I see as the most dangerous aspect of our present society, and it is just what I addressed in my little story “Drop to Drink,” with its own particular Kafka overlay.

Copyright © 2009 by Michael E. Lloyd

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