Encountereds. I came, I saw, I commented.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Frank Herbert - The Green Brain (3)

Probably one of the first science fiction novels to have the ecological threat posed by modern humanity at the core of its plot, this 1966 action drama puts all its effort into getting the message through, with very little meaningful plot. It's an unfortunate choice, as the central premise - being under extinction pressure from an Orwellianly named International Ecological Agency, insects adapt by cooperating to form complex and conscious societies, capable of concerted action and motion - would have been fascinating to explore in depth. Instead, the book spends most of its time following a subplot of international politics and intrigue, and its protagonists down a jungle river, and ends when things would become interesting, with what feels like a compromise between a happy ending and gloomy doomsaying. The book leaves the distinct feeling that Herbert wasn't quite happy with his setup, and didn't want to put too much effort into working it through. Maybe that's why he revisited the hive mind a few years later in The Hive.


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