- Hardcover: 496 pages
- Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC; First Edition edition (26 May 1988)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0747501173
- ISBN-13: 978-0747501176
- Product Dimensions: 23.4 x 16 x 4.4 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,094,146 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
The Sykaos Papers Hardcover – 26 May 1988
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The rest of the book is -- well, what exactly? Thompson was no novelist, although the book is very enjoyable and in places very funny. Oi Paz must be the least intimidating alien invader there ever was. He gets stuck in a tree when he first tries to land, he speaks in a contralto voice until his testicles finally descend helped by the prosperous terrestrial conditions, he disapproves of the boozy ways of the academics until he discovers whisky, and a certain amount more of this sort of thing. I suppose you can find some social satire in it, but not a lot and not consistently. There is probably a bit of Gulliver in it all, but it reads more to me like a flight of fancy rather than anything with a consistent thread through it other than the growing menace of the nukes.
With the cold war and the Soviet Union now behind us Sykaos is worth reading 'lest we forget'. The filthy things are still with us, as we get periodic reminders supposing we need them. In his politics Thompson was neither pro-Soviet nor anti-American: the man who was both of those was England's most famous right-winger of the time, Brigadier Enoch Powell, another opponent of nuclear weapons in or for Britain but all from a different standpoint. The whole issue has rather dropped below the horizon in recent years. Now when there is little or no mileage in trying to pin communism on opponents of nuclear arms and when the status of NATO is getting increasingly problematical we might be collectively capable of some rational thinking about how we extricate ourselves from the mess we have got ourselves into. To say the least, we have been lucky so far and our luck can do without being pushed.
Look, I understand what he was trying to go for, but it doesn't cut the mustard. Try Lem instead. Or try Canticle for Leibowitz... Sykaos is compared to that book sometimes and it is not a decent comparison-- Canticle is actually good, and Sykaos is very limp.