The novels we have read together this semester have covered different decades and social classes, and have crossed continents. Yet no matter the time or place, each of these novels (with the possible exception of Molloy) has had something to say about the increasing mechanization of Western society. In The Waves, there were trains. In The Golden Notebook, there were nuclear bombs. In Crash, there was... the whole book! In Never Let Me Go, it had gone a step further to the mechanization of actual human bodies. (If anybody wants to comment with good examples from Women in Love, Voyage in the Dark, and Loving, you would be my best friend.)
The Industrial Age changed the face of Britain forever, perhaps more so than in any other nation. It resulted in colonial expansion, a rising middle-class, and social turmoil. If literature is any indication, it seems that ever since, the Brits have been struggling to reconcile technology with the organic. In none of the novels I mentioned above was technology a positive presence. It can be destructive - of civilizations as in TGB or of intimacy as in Crash and The Waves. In all cases, mechanization leads to the degradation of the human. But all these imagined universes are dependent on technology, sometimes for their very survival. It's as if these books are trying to tell us we've made a deal with the devil.