CATACOMB YEARS by Michael Bishop


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Six of these seven stories have appeared previously in magazines and collections. Together with the novel A Little Knowledge (1977), they elliptically chronicle the life of Atlanta, Georgia, 2000-2070. Beneath a huge artificial dome that blocks out the stars, hierarchically stashed on nine subterranean levels with computer-controlled simulations of weather and seasonal change, the citizens of this grim, bureaucracy-ridden sardine tin obstinately contrive not just to endure but to prevail. Through 70 years of increasing repression, various free spirits make a living-cubicle into a facsimile of a starship in deep space, experiment with multipartner ""marriages"" for the elderly, or dearly earn moments of mutual benison with an unwanted cubicle-mate. Though a series of expository ""interludes"" attempts to link the stories into a more conventional (and shaky) kind of future history, the stories are most impressive on their own terms--bearing witness to the weedlike survival of human instinct and aspiration in the most confining and programmed environment.

Pub Date: Jan. 24th, 1978
Publisher: Putnam