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Donkin's World: Death Franchise

Richard Donkin broods upon terminal matters on a sour day.

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Some days are good and some days are crap. Today was a crap one - a twelve-hour slog, researching dates and book details that should have been done years ago. Blood, Sweat and Tears, The Evolution of Work, a book I wrote 10 years ago, is to come out in a new edition in the spring as The History of Work.

I wrote a new chapter; that was straightforward enough. But in the past week I have been getting re-edited chapters back with queries. Almost all of the queries relate to notations. I didn't pay much heed to the notations in the original book but looking at them now I can see they're full of omissions. I can only assume that the original notations weren't properly edited. It was all a long time ago.

Anyway there was nothing for it than to wade in, checking references. Many of the books I have in my collection but some had to be checked online. One thing that surprised me was just how much material you can find online these days - far more than was available when I carried out the original research in 1999.

In fact it's made me wonder whether some notations are worth the candle since very often all someone needs to do when checking a reference is to stick in the quotation and the whole book appears. Some of these are pretty obscure titles. I'm finding this too with my latest research. There is so much on line, it's keeping me away from trips up to the British Library.

Just now I'm doing a lot of work on alternative energy sources and quite a bit on death. I'm curious about the potential for inter-generational tension as we grow older. I can imagine that the younger generations will be desperate to shove my generation in to retirement. It would be a big mistake, mind, as it would leave them with all the work to do. But then they would grow even more resentful at all those mouths to feed among the aging baby boomers.

There seems to be a growing debate on euthanasia and assisted suicide. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/8490062.stm I'm thinking that in 20 or 30 years time euthanasia will be taken for granted. More than that, it wouldn't surprise me if people were encouraged "to go early" so as not to be a burden on the kids and to release any remaining accumulated capital for those who might inherit.

I remember how that film, Soylent Green, disposed of Sol Roth, played by Edward G Robinson (who was dying of cancer at the time - this was his last film). http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K7U4EQXFMBE Perhaps this was what Martin Amis had in mind when he mentioned street corner euthanasia booths the other day. http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/health/article6999873.ece

I suppose it would work best with a franchise arrangement, supported by advertising campaigns on the lines of "You should have gone to Specsavers."


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