Books, Thoughts

Off the Shelf: Camp Concentration

Camp ConcentrationCamp Concentration by Thomas M. Disch

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Maybe I’ve been watching too many Let’s Plays on YouTube lately, but as I read Camp Concentration, I kept thinking what an interesting horror video game it would have made, say in the vein of the recent Outlast which was also about human experimentation to augment mental capacities. My friend C, who gave the book to me, described it as “[i]f a surrealist with paranoia decided to re-write Flowers for Algernon” and I think the description is apt. I love Disch’s decadent jail where (most) everything is unlocked but under surveillance and the inmates are fed the finest French food while they waste away & die. My one continuing curiosity are the events that happen outside Sacchetti’s journal, which makes up the book. The journal succeeds in its verisimilitude because it is self-centered, like many regular journals would be, opposed to a finely detailed narrative posing as a personal record. However, I reached the last pages & I just wanted to know what happened next in the decaying, maddening world Sacchetti portrays. Was a cure found? Did consciousness-jumping save some of the infected? Since there are editors’ notes sprinkled through the text, clearly someone was around to present the journal, at least for awhile. Instead of detracting from the book, this suspense actually made it a lot more fun to tease out more clues and reread parts. A fun book if you’re in the mood to play.

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