Monday, December 13, 2010


Here's a little pre-Squidmas reading to get you in a holiday mood...

This little science "fiction" novel originally came out in 1962. My copy was published by Millennium, an imprint of Victor Gollancz, in London. WHAT A DELIGHTFUL READ.

The story is simple. HUMAN CIVILIZATION IS BARELY HANGING ON after a series of solar mishaps and a bit of geological upheaval, plus the melting of ye olde polar ice caps. A few Naked Apes survive, clinging to their monkeyfied customs at Camp Byrd at the North Pole -- the only corner of the planet that still supports human life comfortably.


The story traces the progress of a biologist named Robert Kerans, who is on a mapping expedition with some sort of military unit. They are far to the south of human territory, paddling above the flooded ruin of a large city which later proves to be London, England. In the manner of Shaved Monkeys everywhere, the uniformed survivors GRASP FOR A SEMBLANCE OF CONTROL, going through the motions of tracking what is going on in territory they can no longer inhabit. They know full well there is NO REASON TO DO SO, but they also feel THERE IS NOTHING ELSE LEFT TO DO.


>> Only about 5 million Naked Apes are alive at this point. That's about twice the population of Detroit, Michigan. HOW SOON CAN WE MAKE THIS HAPPEN??

>> Only about 1 in 10 human marriages now produces children. THAT'S WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU STRIP OFF THE OZONE LAYER, KIDDIES. KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK.
>> It seems not to have occurred to them that they are living in a virtual Garden of Eden, the lost paradise they've been mourning ever since they noticed that they'd destroyed it. In a word full of plentiful, gorgeous fruits and swarming schools of fish, the humans are living out of cans -- bully beef, evaporated milk, that sort of thing. THIS SURVIVAL STRATEGY WILL ONLY KILL THEM OFF SOONER.

>> A few renegade Naked Apes are out freebooting, killing off anyone they don't like the looks of, so they can do stupid stuff like collecting gold-plated statuary from the flooded buildings. The author is quite honest about the pointlessness of this sort of activity. He also implies, without really spelling it out, that this only speeds up the process of RENDERING THE HUMAN RACE EXTINCT.

>> Kerans is in the process of joining a subset of humanity starting to experience strange dreams. They consistently describe these derams as horrifying nightmares requiring treament...but horrifying to WHOM, exactly? Kerans quickly finds out that he is not horrified at all by the dreams, which are clearly the awakening of his PISCATORIAL CONSCIOUSNESS. A quote from page 71: "Kerans felt, beating within him like his own pulse, the powerful mesmeric pull of the baying reptiles, and stepped out into the lake, whose waters now seeemed an extension of his own bloodstream. As the dull pounding rose, he felt the barriers which divided his own cells from the surrounding medium dissolving, and he swam forwards, spreading outwards across the black thudding water..." His fellows, those who are also experiencing the dreams, are losing all interest in Shaved Monkey lifestyles and are GOING OVER THE WALL, one by one, to COMMUNE WITH THE WATER.
>> Know what's missing from this book, though? US. THE FISH. The humans go on and on about how the planet is reverting to the Age of the Reptiles, paying no attention whatsoever to the fact that almost the whole planet is now UNDERWATER, and there is blasted little room for the reptiles, let alone the mammals. WHO DO THEY REALLY THINK IS IN CHARGE, FOR CRYING OUT LOUD? THE EASTER BUNNY? I have to say I'm not entirely unhappy about this. If humans want to blame their destruction on the Iguanas, well, that just keeps us out of their line of sight, right? He does mention Eels towards the end, but he seems to put an equals sign between Eels and snakes. WHATEVER, DUDE. The author never makes the connection between the Eels, who can live easily on both water and land, and the increasingly water-oriented humans. The author's oversight just helps cover up OUR PLANS FOR THE HUMAN RACE.
This one has been out of print for a long time, but your library or used bookstore should have it. Waterproof copies are, alas, at a premium.

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Blogger Ur-spo said...

good reading !

7:42 PM  

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