Review: Earthworks

By Brian W. Aldiss

This is the sort of book that illustrates why I stopped reading SF published after about 1950 or so. It’s well written enough, though the main character suffers from hallucinations (leading to some pretentious feeling passages), but it’s negative in that Soviet-influenced way of the latter half of the 20th century: Overpopulation, not enough food, Africa ascending while the rest of the world wallows in despair.

The can-do spirit that informed SF from the first half of the 20th century is nowhere to be found—in fact, the very antithesis of it is here, so much so that the ending becomes obvious as soon as the necessary fact of the story is revealed. It might’ve passed for edgy in 1965, but it’s just misanthropic and nihilistic. All compounded by the fact that it was bad prediction fueled by the non-scientific Malthusian catastrophe.

But a lot of people like this sort of thing, and (as I said) the craft is good and the book is a quick and easy read.

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