Earth’s Time Is Running Out

From The Washington Post:

Book Astronomers at Caltech say the Earth will last 1 billion years longer than previous estimates, which makes me wish I'd chosen the bedroom wallpaper more carefully. But Ron Currie's strange new novel raises the opposite prospect: “Everything Matters!” begins with an announcement that a comet will destroy our planet on June 15, 2010. That fast-approaching deadline raises “a question which men and women, great and not-so, of every color, creed, and sexual persuasion have asked since they first had the language to do so, and probably before: Does Anything I Do Matter?

In a sense, every novel is a search for what matters, so posing the problem here in Caps and italics is not the subtlest move a writer can make. But there's something refreshingly youthful about Currie's eagerness to call out big existential questions that most of us have grown too embarrassed or cynical to ask since we scraped through Intro to Philosophy and moved on to matters of getting and spending. He's writing for the “Slaughterhouse-Five” kids (you know who you are), people who respond to that quirky mix of dark humor, moral imperative and science fiction. Like Vonnegut, Currie is an atheist — his first novel, just out in paperback, is titled “God Is Dead” — and that absence of faith seems to have left him with an intense curiosity about how we live in a world without divine oversight or intervention.

More here.