THE LUNATICS OF TERRA by John Sladek

THE LUNATICS OF TERRA

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Eighteen pieces, 1973-83, from an American writer (The Muller-Fokker Effect, The Steam-Driven Boy) now resident in Britain: a very mixed bag indeed, with fairly orthodox sf/fantasy as well as amusing fables, absurdist satire, lumpy parables, and strained social criticism. Among the more accessible notions: insect-like alien parasites ridiculously force their human hosts to act out old TV and movie Westerns (a chilling piece); intelligent pocket calculators and video games try to take over the world; a teddy bear turns out to be the medicine bundle of a powerful Indian shaman; and children and computers rule the irresponsible, child-like adults of the future. Elsewhere, the satire bites but the story-telling languishes, as in parables about: a future where everybody's at least half machine; music and violence; an alien castaway who proves less interesting to the public than the latest TV show; and totalitarianism via personality control. Comic veneers, underlying despair, a cool and colorless style: uneven but substantial work for readers partial to cerebral (rather than visceral) shocks and issue-heavy fables.

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 1984
ISBN: 1587154102
Publisher: Victor Gollancz--dist. by David & Charles