by Jacqueline Arikian
On March 10th, on the campus of California State University, Fresno, Professor Michael Krikorian of UCRiverside made his way to the front of a crowded classroom filled with eager students.
A bearded man dressed in jeans and a sports coat, he seated himself on top of the desk in the front of the room and began to read an excerpt from his latest prize winning novel, Channel Zero.
The futuristic book, which loosely involves the struggle of an advertising executive named Zero Coupon, was essentially inspired through the world around him.Through his observations of television and popular media slogans, Krikorian was able to create a storyline which metaphorically described the coming destruction of the world. This somewhat pessimistic portrayal is a sign of what we are currently amidst and the dismal nature which it causes.
The current work of this post-modern writer is not very story oriented, rather, it is a cross between fiction and poetry.In a unique fashion, Krikorian created a story in a poetic manner and achieved a stylistic unity which was immediately apparent through the tone in his voice as he read the words of his thought provoking creation.
“Free is a word described by laws and regulations,” he said. And as those words seeped out of his lips, his audience couldn’t help but contemplate the truth in all he had to say, in all he had formulated through his careful societal observations.Mesmerized by his insight, the listeners were eager to hear the words which he had to offer, words which simply flowed over the reader due to its loose sense of tone and attitude.
Krikorian struggled to create a novel who’s style carried on the work. However, the difficulty of this task lied in the fact that the work essentially depended on the style due to the lack of narration.With or without narration, certain aspects of Channel Zero were reflective of the message in Orwell’s 1984, a grim novel on the dismal future of America.
Providing insight on the overseen fact that infomercials place more emphasis on the presentation of a product rather than the importance of the product, Krikorian presented a parallel to the constant control of Orwell’s Big Brother.Further illustrating this point, Krikorian discussed the latest technological advance of credit cards. To most people, the abolition of money in replacement for credit cards is an added convenience to life. Realistically however, it is the theft of privacy, where one’s records and transactions are exposed to the world.
Despite Krikorian’s internal struggle in creating this novel and its parallel to 1984, it is evident that his futuristic message is loud and clear, perhaps a bit too loud and clear for those of us who heard the deafening whispers of the words which trickled out of his mouth on that Monday afternoon.