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The Genocides Paperback – November 14, 2000
This month's Book With Buzz: "Little Fires Everywhere" by Celeste Ng
From the bestselling author of Everything I Never Told You, a riveting novel that traces the intertwined fates of the picture - perfect Richardson family and the enigmatic mother and daughter who upend their lives. See more
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From Library Journal
Disch's brief 1965 novel finds Earth's cities demolished and the surface overrun by a species of alien flora that grow as high as 600', which are draining off the world's water supply and threatening human existence. A Midwest farmer and small group, however, are devising a plan to do a little weeding.
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.
"One of the most remarkably talented writers around." -The Washington Post Book World
"[Disch] is without doubt one of the really bright . . . lights on the American SF scene." — Fantasy and Science Fiction
Top customer reviews
off. Governments grind to a halt. Cities turn to anarchy and people retreat to the country where they form little villages.
Soon, flying mechanized drones appear and begin torching all remnants of humanity. Yep, things are definitely looking bad at this point. It becomes awfully clear that the plants are a crop being grown by some alien race and earth has been designated a good place to throw seed. It's a fascinating idea, certainly, but one that is as much horror as it is sci fi. Also, because we never know who the aliens are or anything about them, and because humanity is so pathetically outmatched from page 1, the whole thing ends with a slightly hollow ring. It ends up being rather depressing.
Disch has an elegant writing style. It's fluid. He is able to shift gears from horror to humor without missing a beat - and without it seeming forced. He never seems to be talking about something he doesn't understand, and he doesn't overreach with his ideas. I think I would have liked this better if he had delved into the characters more. His character descriptions are lovely (like Maryann and her basket weaving) and seemed to give the village real flesh and blood, but then he abandons them too soon to rush off into more bloodshed.
Anyway, I enjoyed this because Disch is an superb writer. I just found it a bit too bleak in the end.
But small pockets of men live and fight back. They protect the land, grow food, keep animals and do what they can to survive. I figured we were no longer King of the Hill but mankind would still fight on.
Then the story seems to change. There are machines that hunt down anything that may hurt the Plants. Mankind is nothing but a type of aphid hunted by robotic ladybugs - with flamethrowers.
The aliens are never seen - only their machines. Maybe there are ONLY machines carrying out the operations in the first place - how many farmers are needed to run a farm in the 21th Century?
And that is what the Plants are - seeds placed on Earth to be grown and harvested. It seems any planet would have been OK as one as it had water and lots of sunlight.
The ending is sad but realistic - maybe this is how an alien invasion would happen. We would be so below their notice that not even their machines would tell us apart from the deer or cattle they also hunt down and kill.
One day the world is covered in little green plants sprouting up everywhere. One month later the little plants are already over 100 feet tall.
Things fall apart too fast to stop them, and as they encroach on society, society collapses. Those who are left survive only by sheer determination and hard work, having not only to deal with the immense plants blocking out the sunlight, but with strange spheres that patrol amongst them and disintegrate anything that moves. Disch takes us into this little society, and we follow this group of well formed characters onward through further declines, delving into an underground world of strange fruits and un-ending roots systems; where human nature takes over and even the smallest of societies finally breaks down under the weight of desperation. The ending will may not shock you, but it will leave you thinking "what if?"
Very well written, outstanding characterization, this is one of Disch's better adventures.