Strangely, only yesterday I was commenting about how Novel 253 was appropriate to the horrific attacks on London, and just now Eddie G from Scotland has emailed me a link to a story on the BBC website where Geoff Ryman, the man who wrote Novel 253, nine years ago, has offered his own tribute to the 52 bomb victims.
At first, the cynic in me thought - "Oh God he's jumping on the band wagon" as his novel is about 253 passengers on a tube train each described in 253 words. At the end of reading his tribute I was in tears (believe me, I do not cry often) as his words completely struck a chord (whereas I felt strangely unmoved at the start of the Trafalgar Square vigil).
It's worth reading the whole tribute, but I will just highlight some parts:
"The most important thing about these people is not how they died but how they lived. All of them were hard-working, decent and loving. That seems to be what most of us are. Goodness is ordinary. Which is why it so often goes unreported."
He then goes on to very succinctly describe the victims drawing on their creativity, their religions, their families, their love, their diversity and their careers (This is where his skill from the book comes into play).
He ends: "I don't believe there are evil people or evil countries, but there are undoubtedly evil thoughts and deeds. They come when we are tired, lazy, threatened or angry - rather like the shooting of that innocent Brazilian man. Everybody has a measure of right on their side and a measure of wrong.
The philosopher Hannah Arendt concluded that evil lay in the refusal to think. One of the things evil cannot face contemplating is variety. It prefers monolithic simplicity. Reality outstrips simplicity through a constant flowering of unexpected lives. Evil thoughts and deeds cannot prevail against it."