Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Book Review: The Genocides by Thomas M. Disch

The Genocides by Thomas M. Disch
Genre: Post Apocalyptic Science Fiction
Bob's Thoughts: "A grim tale of humanity after being decimated by giant trees. Better than it sounds."
Grade: B-
Currently Out of Print
100 Books 100 Posts (#8)

There are hundreds of books dealing about the end of the world as we know it, and there are a multitudes of causes. Alien Lizards, killer plagues, nuclear war, environmental collapse, war, pestilence, God, etc. etc etc. Well, Thomas M. Disch add a new one, really big trees. Yes, of course, plants have been done before. Yet, while Wyndham's classic Triffids were man eating mobile plants, Disch's force of the apocalypse are stationary, albeit alien tree's.

These trees, which spout up much quicker than terrestrial trees, eventually make their way to nearly 600 feet high. Along the way, they destroy all the terrestrial plant life, take up all the usable land, and suck the water dry from the earth. That is bad enough, causing food shortages, leading to the starvation of most of humanity. The few that Survive, live off the tree's themselves.

Yet, while the tree's and their nefarious masters serve as the background evil to the tale, the true tale of the story is the brutal survivors. Dish takes us into a community that does what it needs to survive, keeping their standards intact. This includes the slaughter of outsiders. Disch paints a grim picture of the remaining humanity, full of revenge, insanity, and lust. The book is uneven at times, and full of characters that are disturbing, whether good or bad.

All in all, it's a fascinating tale of moral ambiguity and rationalization in a decimated world, that is worth a look. It is also a different sort of Post Apocalyptic tale, which should please many fans of the genre looking for a different yet not surreal version of the end.

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