Saturday, September 10, 2016


WHY, you ask, am I reviewing a book about BIRDS on a blog with an all-FISH audience?  Keep reading and you'll see...

Frank Baker's The Birds, ISBN 978-1-939140-49-4, is a story told from the point of view of an old man looking back on his youth.  He's living in a post-apocalyptic world with just a few people living in BLISS.  He's dictating his memoirs to his daughter, who has never known life BEFORE THE BIRDS CAME.

He describes the 'pre-bird' London of the 1920s in great detail: soul-crushing hamster-wheel jobs, airless rooms, gray streets under leaden skies, Shaved Monkeys drinking in bars and questioning the very fabric of their existence...and then the birds come.  These are not the Crows, Seagulls, and Lovebirds Alfred Hitchcock used in the movie of the same name.  These birds are of no identifiable species, but they crowd out the usual Pigeons and Sparrows people expect to see in London, and they elude identification by changing their size, shape and color, seemingly at will.  They show up singly sometimes, or sometimes in flocks.  They commit terrorist acts and DISAPPEAR,  leaving not even a feather behind them, no matter how bloody the confrontation.  The statements they make about human society range from the purely comic -- say, leaving a splotch of doody on the head of a politician in the middle of a fiery speech -- to the horrible -- for instance the day they descend upon a group of homeless people sleeping on the pavement, and KILL and EAT them.  They somehow bring a drought with them when they come, and descend en masse to all the water reserves in England, drinking it up, leaving nothing for the humans.


The protagonist -- a young man filling out papers in an insurance office by day and trying to separate from his widowed mother in the evenings -- learns the secret of the birds from a woman he falls in love with.  FACE the bird that comes for you, she says, ACCEPT the bird, and you'll be fine.  This sounds very odd to him, but his own personal bird appears to him one day, and he lets it (as he thinks) attack him.  But there's no attack.  The bird disappears.  Suddenly he feels CHANGED.  From here on in he is able to stand by safely and WATCH THE WORLD END.  Everyone who hides from the birds is KILLED and EATEN.  Nobody is left in England except a few people who simply looked their own personal bird in the face and let it come to them.  He never says this in so many words, but the main character makes pretty clear that the bird that came for him was PART OF HIM ALL ALONG.

After the mass KILLING and EATING of the human race by those who have not come to grips with their birds, the rain comes at last.

Just writing about this book makes me want to turn back to the first page and READ IT ALL OVER AGAIN.  The scene with thousands of people crammed into St. Paul's cathedral, listening to a sermon by a man they call -- I crap you negative -- THE PRIMATE -- at the moment the birds arrive is absolutely INSPIRING.

I HOPE THIS IS STARTING TO SOUND TO YOU LIKE WHAT THE FISH ARMY IS DOING ON A DAILY BASIS.  Every one of you -- fully human fish lovers, landfish, the transformed aquatic monkey, and the fully fish human lover -- is IN THIS STORY.

Ponder this image as you read Baker's book:


Blogger Ur-spo said...

Sounds a Thumping Good Read.

3:10 PM  
Blogger Cliffie, The Lemming Girl said...


10:30 AM  

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