No One Gets Out Alive by Harry Tinders is a humorous look at present-day cultural and political problems. It isn't that he doesn't take the present-day cultural and political problems seriously; he takes the issues seriously, but he presents the issues in the style of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Surely what we're missing in all the debates of the day is a sense of humor, satire, and, most of all, the willingness to listen to opposing ideas. The setting of this short story will sound all familiar: a polarized world. Politics and religion are at odds, and there is violence and unrest in the world at large. But it all comes down to three people in the end: Frank and Michael, and a bartender named Nancy. Frank and Michael have a sordid history with each other. Nancy is more recently involved. But isn't this where all the worldwide conflicts eventually end up brewing? It becomes interpersonal. This short story might even give us a glimmer of hope that perhaps all the world's problems can be solved between individuals, over a couple good IPAs.
No One Gets Out Alive by Harry Tinders is a fresh satirical look at all our present-day troubles. I don't remember the first time I read through The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, but Tinders' style of writing mirrors Douglas Adam's quite well. We have real problems in the world, but they are solvable. It was refreshing to read about some of these real-world problems and the tensions they create with Tinders' satirical commentary on these issues. We really need to learn to laugh about ourselves more often. Whether the reader agrees with the philosophies and opinions stated by the characters or not, just about everyone can appreciate the way Tinders addresses the issues. I do believe he leaves us with hope for resolution at the end of the book. But I find it ironic that it takes an alien from another planet to solve their philosophical problems. Western culture at present generally rejects outside influences on the self, self-determination, or decision-making. The making of the self and self-identity are paramount in Western culture. I don't think Tinders is wrong; he's precisely correct. Unless we return to a culture where people work together, listen to each other, and find our identities in common work and goals, we end up with destruction.