"Gay Hunter" by James Leslie Mitchell writing as Louis Grassic Gibbon.
"Gay Hunter" was written in 1934 and is one of those old books that amazon has, but overpriced, $[...] in this case. Originally I didn't see a paperback on amazon but I found a cheap copy on alibris though it was a version republished in 1989. Copies of the original hardcover ranged from $[...] on alibris. The prices made me wonder what could possibly be in this book, wondering if it could be about - a gay hunter?
"Gay Hunter" was a nice read, only taking about a day. It was sweet and most of what happens you want to happen. There's something nice and indulgent about a book that doesn't thwart your wishes, making you frustrated and pained by its treatment of characters you like. Gay is very likable. By the way, Gay Hunter, the lead character, is a woman and an archaeologist, very free and fit, sort of a mild female version of Indiana Jones.
In the book Gay and a couple of freaky fascists find themselves in a future Britain where advanced civilization has been wiped out by atomic war. I was surprised people knew about the possibility of atomic bombs and that they could wipe out civilization but apparently they did, even in 1934. People in this future have reverted to hunter/gatherer bands. Gay becomes part of one of these bands while the fascists try to set up a society with themselves at the top using their ability to manipulate some of the technology left behind by the lost civilization. The hunters are very much noble savages except more noble and less savage. They all seem very sweet in a kind of "Garden of Eden before the fall" kind of way. It makes them two dimensional.
In addition to atomic bombs the science fiction elements include areas sterilized by radiation, mutated animals, a heat ray, television and voices from the past (Gay's future).
Gay spends most of the book nude, along with everyone else. Well, everyone except for the freaky fascists, who, like Adam and Eve after the God casts them out of the garden, cover themselves with plant material.
Though I liked it I couldn't really understand why anyone would think someone else would pay $[...] for even a first edition. But maybe there is something else at work here. It's a pretty hot book for 1934. Most of the characters spend the book nude. There's sex, offscreen but without benefit of proper clergy. Gay implies she may, in the future, investigate lesbian sex and polyamory. That is pretty hot for 1934, for an England still in a hangover from the Victorian age. Maybe if someone read "Gay Hunter" in the 30s when they were young they might have found it very titillating. They might be willing to pay a lot to try to recapture that feeling.
Anyway, I liked it.