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The Genocides (Vintage) [Paperback]

Thomas M. Disch
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
Price: 8.36 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

Sep 2000 Vintage
This spectacular novel established Thomas M. Disch as a major new force in science fiction. First published in 1965, it was immediately labeled a masterpiece reminiscent of the works of J.G. Ballard and H.G. Wells

In this harrowing novel, the world's cities have been reduced to cinder and ash and alien plants have overtaken the earth.  The plants, able to grow the size of maples in only a month and eventually reach six hundred feet, have commandeered the world's soil and are sucking even the Great Lakes dry. In northern Minnesota, Anderson, an aging farmer armed with a Bible in one hand and a gun in the other, desperately leads the reduced citizenry of a small town in a daily struggle for meager existence. Throw into this fray Jeremiah Orville, a marauding outsider bent on a bizarre and private revenge, and the fight to live becomes a daunting task.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 162 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage Books; 1st Vintage Books Ed edition (Sep 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375705465
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375705465
  • Product Dimensions: 20.1 x 13 x 1.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 556,792 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
4.1 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Grim and Unsparing 12 Mar 2003
Bleak is the first word that comes to mind-which is not a bad thing. Disch's debut novel was part of a movement in sci-fi at the time that rejected the prevailing paradigm of human ingenuity and/or nobility being able to save the Earth from alien attack (no matter how technological advanced those aliens were). In this slim novel he tells the story of a small band of Minnesotan farmers near Duluth who are struggling to survive the blanketing of Earth by a mysterious and apparently indestructible species of trees. In the seven years since the spores first appeared, the trees have spread across the globe, sucking all nutrition from earth, drying up rivers and lakes, and generally destroying the planet's ecological balance.
At the same time, some kind of automated drones have been leveling cities with fire and gradually seeking out remaining mammals to toast. The implication is clear: Earth has been designated as a planetary cropfield, and all pests need to be eliminated so the crop can thrive. That premise is neat, but the main theme is how the surviving humans interact with one another and newcomers. It's clear that Disch was determined to show how the uglier side of human nature would prevail in such a high-stress situation. Throughout the story, jealousies, rivalries, and petty disputes between characters threaten the safety of the group. Indeed, at times, the various conflicts concerning the women get a little too melodramatic for the situation, but on the whole, the atmosphere is great, especially when the survivors are forced underground into the trees' root system.
A great take on the alien invasion story, it could benefit from a little trimming in the second half. Still, if you like your sci-fi grim and unsparing, this is the book for you!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars We're doomed! 4 May 2009
The aliens have come, invaded earth and won. They weren't interested in us. All they wanted was our land to grow crops. Their relationship to us is as the farmer to the bug. They conquered us without even realising there was a battle for survival. Now the few remaining humans live in the roots and branches of the alien's crops. Survival is the best they can hope for; rebellion is beyond their hopes.

This is depressing or realistic, depending on your outlook on life. This novel is a perfect antidote to the traditional invasion story in which alien beings of roughly similar technology and outlook battle for territory. Here Mankind's place in the universe is at the bottom of the pile.

Most sf novels presents Mankind as ornery critters tenaciously carving a niche for ourselves in the universe; the rest go for the pessimistic view that we are violent and oppressive colonisers. But this novel goes for something unique: we are insignificant, doomed and irrelevant... Don't expect a happy ending!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very dark and still relevant 3 Oct 2005
My only wish for this book was that it should be longer and go into some of the charactors and events in more detail.
Written in the early 70s this is a very dark SF tale. You can see the way that it's heading from the start...and the conclusion leaves a lasting impression. Well worth a read.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Dares to be dark 29 Mar 2013
This is one of the most unexpectedly compelling and thought-provoking SF novels I've read. The tale of alien invasion is described entirely from the perspective of everyday humans who don't quite realise that the Earth is being turned into a farm planet by unseen and completely uncaring aliens. The story is short, fast-paced and takes the protagonists on an increasingly desperate journey. Other reviews have hinted at the dark ending, so I won't spoil it any more - but yes, it's dark, and comes like a sucker punch just when you think it's all over. This is one of the few books that I've read in a single sitting, unable to put it down. It's a genuinely thought-provoking read, which will occupy your mind for weeks afterwards. Highly recommended.
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