18 May 2010

Alien Luv

I finished an old sci-fi book, The Lovers by Philip Jose Farmer. The hero is Hal Yarrow, a linguist. He lives in a dystopian future earth where everything in his country is run by the Sturch, a state-church conglomerate. The Sturch teaches that everything bad that happens is you fault because you unconsciously wanted it to happen. If you stub your toe, you must have wanted it, if you can't have a child you must not be sure you will have one, if you die in a plane crash, you and everyone else must have wanted to. The Sturch controls all aspects of life: where you live, who you marry, your career. everyone is expected to report on others misbehaviours; when Yarrow swears his wife gets angry because now she must report him.

Yarrow is stifled and hates his life. he seems to really enjoy his work, correlating and researching languages. He gets an opportunity to go into space when a spaceship returns after finding a new planet with intelligent life. Freed from the dreary marraige, Yarrow still contends with his gapt, or the man who watches him almost constantly, but is otherwise enjoying learning about the wog language and culture. Then, while looking at a wog temple, Yarrow sees a humanoid female, Jeanette. The title gives away that they fall in love but doesn't give away the best parts of the story.

The culture is pretty frightening. I see it as all the things the religious right wants in the US, taken to the extreme of law. The biology is a bit sketchy but this book was written in the early 1950s. I give it a 5 and recommend it if you like old science fiction.



2 comments:

  1. Farmer is one of many authors who I have yet to try but want to try at some point. This sounds fascinating, and I love old sci fi.

    ReplyDelete
  2. this is the only one by Farmer that i've read and i enjoyed it. It does jump around a bit though.

    ReplyDelete