Thursday, January 26, 2012


I'm not sure you can call this a review, but here goes.

Just finished my first run through if John Brunner’s classic and often out of print classic The Sheep Look Up. It was published in 1972 just after the EPA was set up under in the Nixon administration. It is classic dystopia of a world in the not too distant future, especially the US, on the verge of a total breakdown.

A world where the water is undrinkable, the air is almost unbreathable, the soil is almost unfarmable, the insects and other pests are immune to every pesticide available, diseases long thought eradicated are back. The oceans are polluted and the Mediterranean, Caspian and Baltic Seas are dead and dying.

Turns out the book was one of the handbooks for the Earth Liberation Front and similar organizations. And the warnings of the radical environmentalists after the Patriot Act was passed have turned out to be true. We’ve gone after as many environmentalists as we have Islamic terrorists. And that’s scary.

His portraits of the US president and some of the industrialists were a little over the top, but now that I think of it, a couple of them remind me an awful lot of Donald Trump, and it’s not a compliment. The US was still in Viet Nam, we’d started our decade’s long proxy wars in Central and Latin America and the summer were still long and hot in the inner cities. The writing is excellent and the story is subtle as a chain saw and a sledge hammer combined. Imagine a world where stories of blue skies, being able to swim where you want to, take a drink out of a creek and breath without a mask are treated as old wives tales.

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