Archive for the ‘Anthony Burgess’ Category
Vintage Science Fiction Month Returns!!
The Wanting Seed, by Anthony Burgess
published in 1962
where I got it – garage sale
In this Dystopian futuristic London, Earth’s population has exploded,requiring government involvement to keep population under control. Solutions include limiting families to one birth, allowing a high infant mortality rate, and doing anything to discourage pregnancy. Energy is scarce, so nothing is wasted, and dead bodies are used as fertilizers and energy. Most people subsist on government supplied rations of artificially created foodstuffs. Burgess writes so perfectly smoothly that you don’t even feel the disturbing qualities overtake the story. By the time you realize what’s happening, it’s too late to put the book down.
The story follows Tristram Foxe and his wife Beatrice-Joanna. Tristram is a scholar and school teacher, and Beatrice-Joanna is having an affair with her brother in law, Derek, who is a government official. in a future where procreating families are looked down upon, homosexuality is a highly promoted lifestyle choice as a way of having a perfectly healthy sexual relationship where children are impossible. Many heterosexuals act homosexual in public, as overt homosexuality has become a way to further one’s career opportunities. Derek, for instance, flirts with men all day long, but visits Beatrice-Joanna as often as possible. Beatrice-Joanna becomes pregnant by Derek (after purposely misusing her government supplied contraceptives), and when Tristram finds out the child may not be his, he kicks her out, and she goes north to find shelter on her sister’s farm.
Their marital troubles aside, society is falling apart around Tristram and Beatrice-Joanna. The government has started to threaten random blood testing of women for pregnancy, further enforcement of government supplied contraceptives, and social pressures for sterilization. Ranks of the angry unemployed are hired as junior police officers and general goons to keep the populace terrorized.