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The Disappearance (Bison Frontiers of Imagination) Paperback – October 1, 2004
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"One of the most harrowing chronicles of disaster that our age of anxiety has produced."New York Times Book Review.
"The female of the species vanished on the afternoon of the second Tuesday of February at four minutes and fifty-two seconds past four o'clock, Eastern Standard Time. The event occurred universally at the same instant, without regard to time belts, and was followed by such phenomena as might be expected after happenings of that nature."
On a lazy, quiet afternoon, in the blink of an eye, our world shatters into two parallel universes as men vanish from women and women from men. After families and loved ones separate from one another, life continues in very different ways for men and women, boys and girls. An explosion of violence sweeps one world that still operates technologically; social stability and peace in the other are offset by famine and a widespread breakdown in machinery and science. And as we learn from the fascinating parallel stories of a brilliant couple, Bill and Paula Gaunt, the foundations of relationships, love, and sex are scrutinized, tested, and sometimes redefined in both worlds. The radically divergent trajectories of the gendered histories reveal stark truths about the rigidly defined expectations placed on men and women and their sexual relationships and make clear how much society depends on interconnection between the sexes.
Written over a half century ago yet brimming with insight and unsettling in its relevance today, The Disappearance is a masterpiece of modern speculative fiction. Philip Wylie (190271) is the author of Gladiator and the coauthor of When Worlds Collide, both available in Bison Books editions. Acclaimed science-fiction writer Robert Silverberg is the recipient of many awards, including the prestigious Hugo and Nebula awards, and the Grand Master designation from the Science Fiction Writers of America, the highest science-fiction honor available. He is the author of Lord Valentines Castle.
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Top customer reviews
Note that this book provided inspiration for Theodore Sturgeon's "Venus Plus X". Sturgeon actually had one of his characters mention this book, and he also cited it in his Afterword, including a specific reference to Chapter 13. (I first read both books many years ago.) Upon rereading them now, one after the other, I was struck throughout "The Disappearance" by how much of it appears to have influenced Sturgeon.
I strongly recommend both books, not just to science fiction enthusiasts. While this time I read "Venus Plus X" first, then "The Disappearance", I'm sure the reverse can be equally as rewarding.
PostScript: I feel the Robert Silverberg Introduction to this edition of "The Disappearance" does a disservice to the book. The Introduction is misguided, boring, and unnecessary.
Most recent customer reviews
I read it again now and have been going crazy telling all my friends to read it.