Sometimes, reality feels like that, lately. We've got fifteen year-old girls killing nine year-old girls 'just to see what it feels like,' mass shootings at army bases, people stabbing each other over subway seats... in short, human life seems to be cheaper than ever. As a crime writer, I wonder sometimes if I'm contributing to this, by writing murder mysteries. Has anyone else ever had this thought? Of course, justice triumphs at the end (at least, in my books it does), but are we contributing to 'violence porn' in our culture? Your opinion and thoughts, please...


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It's hard not to feel a bit apocalyptic at times, although nationally the murder rate and the rate of violent crime in general are way down, far from their peaks in the 1970s. That could change if unemployment stays as high as it is for another year or two, of course.
He makes a great point.

I spent the bulk of my early childhood being told on a daily basis that civilization was about to fall any minute, either in an ice age, a nuclear war, or just plain anarchy.

We're going through one of those periods where the 24/7 news cycle covering crime, environmental hysteria, a weak economy, and global jihadism creates that delightful 70s style sense of impending doom.
Actually I think global warming probably is the apocalypse, or as close as we're likely to get barring all-out nuclear insanity. My kids are going to come of age in a world with rising sea levels creating hundreds of millions of displaced persons in mostly poor countries. Combined with accelerating loss of arable land, global depletion of fish stocks and ocean acidification, and a doubling of the earth's population in their lifetimes, I'd say the prognosis isn't great. Which makes me feel okay about writing these little entertainments--people are going to need something to take their minds off their troubles.
But will it? Living in that world, who really wants to read about more death and destruction?
The most popular mystery authors in Europe (Conan Doyle and Christie) remained popular right through the height of WWI and WWII, respectively. It's about trying to maintain a sense of normalcy--imagining for awhile that the important thing is figuring out who killed Mrs. McNasty.
That was Mrs. McGillicuddy, I think. :) One of the better Christies.

Let's see, that means Christie's appeal hung in there for what, about 30 years? Not really impressive. And in the end, such books merely block out ugly reality for a little while. But then, Christie made a game of it. You can deal with a game of skill where you can outwit the enemy and feel clever doing so.

The books Minerva talks about dwell on death, dismemberment, torture, hopelessness, and large exterminations not because we will overcome the threat, but because the close observation of such things appeals to some basic human instincts.
Let's see, that means Christie's appeal hung in there for what, about 30 years? Not really impressive

Christie's work has sold over a billion copies. You may be harder to impress than I am (most people are), but that seems like a pretty good run to me.
Nah. Won't happen in our life time, and maybe never. (Refers to the global warming bit)
You're aware that the polar ice caps are melting, right?
Not so sure about that anymore, now that I've read about these open-minded scientists:
Who you gonna believe, Eric: a Rupert Murdoch-owned newspaper with outraged commentary from "scientists" from right-wing think tanks, or your lying eyes?

This animation shows the annual minimum sea ice extent and concentration for 24 years, from 1979 to 2003. The year 2002 showed lowest level of sea ice on record. Credit: NASA

Also there's this:
I was being half tongue in cheek, Jon. I know all about the Cato institute, having lived in DC at one time and worked for the feds in policy and programs. Nonetheless, the attitudes and behaviors of these Brit scientists are troubling, certainly anti-scientific. (And I don't think Murdoch's owned the Journal long enough to impact its content.)


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