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Hothouse by Brian W Aldiss

Hothouse (original 1962; edition 1969)

by Brian W Aldiss

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6951913,692 (3.48)25
Authors:Brian W Aldiss
Info:Sphere (1969), Paperback
Collections:Your library
Tags:hugo winner, sf

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Hothouse by Brian W. Aldiss (1962)


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Showing 1-5 of 15 (next | show all)
More dark fantasy than science-fiction.

Hothouse has a lot nice imagery and Brian Aldiss' imagination does not let up, but the constant flight for survival--the fact that on every page someone is getting attacked or is attacking some plant creature--can get tedious with repetition.
  wissamktb | Feb 1, 2015 |
Interesting and unusual; and by the end I didn't want to stop reading. Very full of casual death though, particularly at the beginning; grim and unremitting as well as weird and imaginative. It does make you think of how fantastical things written by men tend to get categorised as / allowed to be thought of as sf rather than as fantasy; this is very definitely not hard sf, possibly not really even sf at all. ( )
  comixminx | Aug 9, 2013 |
how sad; i read it and remember almost nothing about it ( )
  longhorndaniel | May 29, 2013 |
Written in 1962, Brian Aldiss' Hothouse is similar to works like [a:Jack Vance|5376|Jack Vance|http://photo.goodreads.com/authors/1207604643p2/5376.jpg]'s "Dying Earth" series and [a:Gene Wolfe|23069|Gene Wolfe|http://photo.goodreads.com/authors/1207670073p2/23069.jpg]'s Book of the New Sun. In most novels of this dying earth genre, the world is gasping under the weight of civilization; a million years of customs and artifacts, countless empires risen and fallen, cities piled upon cities. In Hothouse, it's nature, not culture which dominates the last days of Man.Far in the future, under a swollen red sun, the Earth and Moon have long since dragged each other to a halt, leaving one side of Earth permanently lit and the other in permanent darkness. Under the plentiful radiation on the lit side, plants have become the primary inhabitants of the land, diversifying into thousands of forms to fill every available ecological niche. Of the animal kingdom, only a few species remain: one or two insect-like predators, and a much-altered humanity. These humans are tribal hunter-gatherers, living in the canopy of a continent-spanning forest.The novel follows Gren, who is forced out of his tribe (for, essentially, excessive cleverness) and so begins a journey to seek a new home. Actually, "journey" is perhaps too charitable. Gren is more often driven from place to place by forces he can't control. Early in the novel, he is infected by a parasitic, sentient fungus which slowly takes control of his mind and plans to use Gren to conquer the world. Over the course of the book, Gren travels to the dark side of the Earth, meets a variety of strange creatures, is helped and threatened to various degrees, manages to free himself from the fungus, returns with the fungus--now as a sort of advisory partner--to the light side, is given the choice to flee the first stages of the sun's explosion by riding to the stars inside an interstellar spider-plant, and chooses ultimately to return to the jungle and make babies because--hey--he'll be dead by the time the s**t hits the fan in any case.We see much of this strange world through Gren's eyes, and he knows no more than any of his race. Many things he encounters during his journey remain mysterious, though some of human history is glimpsed in flashback as the mushroom probes (somewhat improbably) through Gren's racial memories, and at times it is possible to guess at the possible origins of species or artifacts.In addition to being delightfully strange, Hothouse takes full advantage of the philosophical possibilities of the Dying Earth setting. The fungus, perhaps, stands in for one part of contemporary human nature: though it is clearly base, cruel, selfish, perhaps even evil--it ultimately is the key to whatever salvation humanity is offered. Our hero, too, is no noble Odysseus; he is often petty, mean, or irresponsible. Yet for all that, or perhaps because of it, he seems more human than his companions--who are generally either passive or completely incomprehensible. The nature of time is also explored: the end of the world is an intellectual threat to the fungus, merely one more incomprehensible event to Gren, who wants mostly to find a good tree and settle down with a woman or two. The end of time, while tragic and romantic, is also suggested as a kind of rebirth. The "green streamers…." escaping from the planet as it dies are beautiful, and it's hard not to read hope into them. As one phase passes, so another begins.These are not particularly profound observations, although they do place the book in the realm of "cerebral" SF. But for me, the greatest achievement of Hothouse is in its depiction of a nature "green in tooth and claw" as Aldiss puts it in the book. Science fiction does not lack for scary monsters; many-tentacled aliens are a dime a dozen. But the biological horror of a relentless, vegetal Earth is something memorable. I find Venus Flytraps slightly unsettling, and a little malevolent. Hothouse takes that feeling and multiplies it to fill a planetary landscape. ( )
1 vote ben_h | Apr 6, 2011 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Brian W. Aldissprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Collins, SusanCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
White, TimCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Particularly for Charles and Timmy Parr
First words
Obeying an inalienable law, things grew, growing rioutous and strange in their impulse for growth.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
The Long Afternoon of Earth is a slight abridgment of the original five novellas. The full versions were later published as Hothouse. Do not combine Hothouse and any books with Long Afternoon of Earth in the title.
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Book description
The Sun is about to go Nova. Earth and Moon have ceased their axial rotation and present one face continuously to the sun. The bright side of Earth is covered with carnivorous forest. This is the Age of vegetables. Gren and his lady - not to mention the tummybelly men - journey to the even more terrifying Dark side. One of Aldiss' most famous and long-enduring novels, fast moving, packed with brilliant imagery.

From http://www.amazon.com/dp/0671559303
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The sun is about to go nova. Earth and moon have ceased their axial rotation and present one face continuously to the sun. This is the age of vegetables. Gren and his lady, and the tummybelly men - journey to the even more terrifying Dark Side.

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