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Half Past Human Mass Market Paperback


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--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 279 pages
  • Publisher: Del Rey (June 12, 1983)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345311159
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345311153
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 4.3 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #772,828 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

T. J. Bass (1932-2011) is the pen name of Thomas Joseph Bassler, an American science fiction writer and doctor, principally known for his "Hive" stories. The first of these were combined into the novel Half Past Human, which was nominated for the Nebula Award in 1972. Its loose sequel, The Godwhale, was also nominated three years later. His work explores the theme of overpopulation and is notable for its strong command of biological extrapolation. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By "dogdancer2u" on February 26, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Half-past human is a wild futuristic novel about overpopulation and its impact on the human race. It brings us to a time when technology has advanced to a bio-techno-automated society ran by the dictates of an artificial-intelligence led council. Reproduction is controlled by the council. Man lives in hives,while all available land is cultivated by vast agro auto-
matons into vast vegtable gardens. It is into these forbidden gardens that genetic throwbacks with the original non hybredized blood strain, venture to live freely,tribally and with Nature in a way the hive people are physically unable to. They are hunted by the hive and find a way to escape the society that desires their destruction. The book explore different facets of life,inside and outside of the hive. I have read this book over and over and I never cease to be thrilled by this awe-raising pshyche-eco futuristic scifi thriller.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 12, 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This will be short and sweet, just like the book. I first read this when it was new, and a few times since then. Although it has been several years, I can still recall the feel and the tone, and I can recommend it to SF and Fantasy fans, and anyone who wants a short visit to a creative and vivid world. The earth is now populated by 4-toed humans with rosewater for blood. These hive-dwellers live beneath the surface, which is dedicated to agriculture. Here and there the dreade 5-toed gene reappears, producing a stronger and more strong-willed specimen. The resulting troublemaker is the star of the story. Choose this one for the language and the off-kilter use of songs and verse. It's an easy read, and you might retain a bit of it for awhile.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By David_A_Stever on September 27, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Half Past Human and The Godwhale are the sum total of Thomas J. Bassler's SF output, but even after 20 years, they remain two brilliant points of light, pointing to what should have been a long and brilliant career. I would love to see him come back and take up fiction again- these books rival Cordwainer Smith and Jack Vance in the richness of the world they create. If you read this book years ago, pick it up and read it again. The Nebbishes and their flavored calories are images that will stay with you for a lifetime.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 4, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
For all its dark depiction of a future crammed with hundreds of billions of Nebbishes and a few humans, I was moved most by what it said of the here and now. Those of us who can still think find ourselves surrounded by mindless sub-units of the State and wonder how bad it will get. This is one vision of that. It tells a similar story to The Matrix in a completely different way.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By blag@accessone.com on November 5, 1998
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Half Past Human is an intriguing tale of a dark future of overpopulation. The population of the earth stands in the trillions, with most people living underground in gigantic hive cities. The people are genetically engineered to be small, docile and weak, dependant on their cities and immune to the psychological effects of overcrowding. The entire surface of the earth is given over to food production, shortening the food chain to its barest minimum. A few "wild" humans live on the surface, foraging for food in the gardens and hunted as vermin.
In the face of all this, the citizens of the hive cities manage to retain some spark of that which makes them human.
This is a book well worth the trouble to find.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Mithridates VI of Pontus VINE VOICE on March 27, 2011
Format: Mass Market Paperback
T.J. Bass' Half Past Human is a flawed yet occasionally intriguing fix-up novel which was nominated for the 1971 Nebula Award. I found that the atrocious prose overshadowed all the work's positives and made it a chore to read. Bass is a practicing doctor and thus apparently finds it fun to inundate his narrative with medical terminology.

Some particularly atrocious examples:

"Willie froze. Little warning reflexes were activated deep in his basal ganglia -- thoracolumbar autonomics flared" (158).

"Myotonia and vasocongestion of the breasts -- she was well into the excitement phase" (153).

"She had an ovum waiting in her tense follicle and had selected young Moses to fertilize it. Her estrogen flushed body respoded to the presence of Moses -- a sexually mature male. Homologous erectile tissue in her nasal septum swelled... Capillary beads became engorged producing a maculopapular rash over her trunk" (123).

If this technique was applied in a more limited fashion it *might* have added to the general feel of the work -- however, simply put, it is a frustrating distraction and a failed attempt at originality.

Brief Plot Summary

Future Earth has been transformed for the sole purpose of feeding a massive population. Science has created a four-toed docile/"programmable"/and communal Nebish (still a "human" -- or perhaps, a humanoid). Trillions of Nebishes live in gigantic shaft cities with the surrounding farmable countryside (the Garden) operated by programmable mecks. The shaft cities recycle all human waste, the dead humans, etc and are crowded and overpopulated. Depending on the usefulness of various citizens the shaft cities supply the Molecular Reward and calorie allotments.
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