A Heart of Darkness

Marlon Brando as the iconic U.S. Army Special Forces Colonel Walter E. Kurtz

Marlon Brando as US Army Special Forces Colonel Walter E Kurtz - Apocalypse Now as based on Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness - the tyranny of corporate enterprise

Marlon Brando/ Colonel Kurtz – Apocalypse Now

Presumed insane. Intended victim of Captain Benjamin L. Willard whose entire journey through Vietnam into neutral Cambodia is driven by the mission to kill Kurtz. If for some reason you’ve never seen the movie Apocalypse Now, then I’d highly recommend you acquire a copy and sink into several hours of absence from reality; consume whisky with periodic doses of strong coffee.  Apocalypse Now is possibly one of the greatest movies ever made.

And the novel it is based on, Joseph Conrad’s “Heart of Darkness” is essential reading for any fan of contemporary corporate / military thrillers, with its protagonist travelling through a commercial landscape masked by chaos and politics, towards a remote “inner station” to encounter a mastermind, a ruthless demi-god and human monster.

The author, Joseph Conrad, worked in Africa during the 1890s as a steamer captain for a trading company, and he became sickened by the cruelty and corruption perpetrated by European companies in the Congo area during the Victorian era.  In the Cyberpunk genre, the same lack of morality can drown secondary characters engaged within the military-industrial-complex.

Blackwood's Magazine 1899 cover which featured  Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness in 3 parts

Blackwood’s Magazine 1899 cover which serialised Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness in 3 parts

Central to Conrad’s work is the tenet that there is little difference between so-called civilized people and those described as savages. Viewed through the Cyberpunk frame, this tenet applies to the higher-echelons of the corporate class and the subjugated masses who have been divided into workers, consumers and renegades (militants, non-conformists, terrorists) by the corporate machine.    The concerns of imperialism and racism raised by Heart of Darkness have been usurped by UTOC’s Fluid Investment Medium (with the anti-globalisation reaction to it) and by the fears of social class with access to basic resources.

Fritz Lang and his wife Thea von Harbou had a similar idea with their remarkable Metropolis (1927).  Perhaps the earliest example of Cyberpunk, alongside Alfred Bester’s novel “The Demolished Man” (1953).

As a slight aside, savouring movies with a science fiction or brutal theme, check out the incredible album by UNKLE

Edit Music for a Film: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack Reconstruction

Released in 2005, James Lavelle put together a mix of soundtracks from films that inspired him the most. To name but a few – 2001: A Space Odyssey, Dune, Dog Day Afternoon, Kill Bill, Sexy Beast, Training Day, and Blade Runner.  It’s available from Amazon here: http://www.amazon.co.uk/UNKLESounds-Original-Picture-Soundtrack-Reconstruction/dp/B0007UT5TU

# # #

Do you like thrillers set in the near future? Then you’ll love IRON MAN PROJECT.  No supernatural horror. Just men and women with tough agendas and hard decisions to follow or make.  Success is based on the strength of the brave and the foolish decisions of the weak. This is a fast-paced and brutal novel that takes you into the heart of corporate power within the near future. Shop now and make your best discovery today.

Iron Man Project a science fiction cyberpunk thriller by David J Rodger

Shop with LULU for paperback

shop now for good books to read science fiction cyberpunk, horror and post apocalypse books by David J Rodger

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s