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"If They Give You Lines Paper, Write Sideways" also includes Quinn's never-before-published essays "The New Renaissance" and "Our Religions." There is a scientific consensus that global warming is approaching a tipping point beyond no return faster than had previously been predicted. Quinn has long portrayed humans as "a species of beings, which, while supposedly rational, are destroying the very planet they live on." So what are we to do? There has never been a plan for the future - and there never will be. But something extraordinary will happen in the next two or three decades; the people of our culture will learn to live sustainably - or not. Either way, it will be extraordinary. The sooner we understand this reality, the greater the chances that human society will transform itself so that the human race might have a future.
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page 47.
- Review Date: 2006-10-02
- Reviewer: Staff
This slender volume—a place marker in Quinn's philosophical oeuvre about mankind's relationship to nature (including the trilogy Ishmael, The Story of B and My Ishmael)—is as slight as the winsome aphorism in its title. Two-thirds of the book is a lightly edited transcript of a rambling, three-day dialogue between Quinn and a fan who spent Thanksgiving 2005 weekend with him in his Houston home "to nail down the ideas she had explored in my books." For Quinn, a related goal was to answer the question, "How do you do what you do?" for himself. The result provides no startling insights for anyone familiar with the author's essential thinking, though it does occasionally depict Quinn as a cranky and condescending guru, as he challenges his visitor on such topics as world history, religion and God's compassion, abortion and capital punishment, and overpopulation. The essence of the q&a exercise boils down to challenging received wisdom, pulling back to look at the big picture and examining all assumptions. Two essays, one on whether humanity can save itself from environmental doom and one on animism as religion, add some much-needed heft. (Jan.)