THE WINE OF VIOLENCE by James Morrow

THE WINE OF VIOLENCE

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A tragicomic and distinctive, if often sluggish, debut--which thoughtfully explores Quetzalia: an agrarian, non-violent, non-technological, and decidedly ambiguous utopia. A ship from planet Nearth is forced to land on a wilderness world inhabited by devolved human brain-eaters, the Neurovores: only meek entomologist Francis Lostwax and belligerent archaeologist Burne Newman survive to reach the civilized realm of Quetzalia, protected from the Neurovores by a huge wall and a river of ""noctus"" (caustic liquefied hate); and they find that the Quetzalians live by an ethos called ""Zolmec,"" periodically undergoing catharsis with machines draining off their violent impulses, transforming them into noctus. Francis, attracted by Zolmec, falls for foxy surgeon Tez Yon; Burne, who regards the Quetzalians as naive and not fully human, realizes that to recover the spaceship he must first deal with the Neurovores--but no Quetzalian will fight . . . until the scientists discover that injections of diluted noctus will provoke a satisfactory aggression. And finally Burne recruits a volunteer army to wipe out the Ncurovores . . . while Francis experiments with noctus on his pacifistic beloved--with disastrous results. All this reads somewhat oddly, like a translation from the Russian; and Morrow's incessant wisecracks run out of control. But there are enough good things here to tempt eclectic readers--and to give cause for optimism about future Morrow efforts.

Pub Date: Sept. 24th, 1981
Publisher: Holt, Rinehart & Winston