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Modern Classics Hothouse (Penguin Modern…
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Modern Classics Hothouse (Penguin Modern Classics) (original 1962; edition 2008)

by Brian Aldiss (Author)

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1,0143017,829 (3.51)52
In a strange future, the few remaining humans are regularly consumed by savage greenery, and their only allies are the giant Termights. Spiders over a mile in length travel to the Moon on interplanetary cobwebs, and the stationary world is now split between perpetual day and unending night. But the elders are facing the end of their time, so leadership is given to a youn girl, Toy. The groups manchild Gren wants to be his own leader, however, and with his maring partner will tear apart the group in his search of a new eden. Summoning up a world of carnivorous trees and giant insects, Hothouseis a landmark novel of the environment in crisis.… (more)
Member:NiTessine
Title:Modern Classics Hothouse (Penguin Modern Classics)
Authors:Brian Aldiss (Author)
Info:Penguin Classic (2008), Edition: Reprint, 288 pages
Collections:Your library
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Work Information

Hothouse by Brian W. Aldiss (1962)

  1. 60
    The Drowned World by J. G. Ballard (Rynooo)
  2. 21
    Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood (Rynooo)
  3. 00
    The green gods by Nathalie Henneberg (Cecrow)
  4. 00
    Alien Landscapes by Robert Holdstock (Cecrow)
    Cecrow: Science fiction art collection, including a (creepy!) portion envisioning the world of Hothouse.
  5. 00
    Children of Time by Adrian Tchaikovsky (Rynooo)
  6. 00
    Midworld by Alan Dean Foster (Cecrow)
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» See also 52 mentions

English (26)  Croatian (1)  Swedish (1)  French (1)  Italian (1)  All languages (30)
Showing 1-5 of 26 (next | show all)
Loved how vivid the descriptions were.

I've reviewed this book for my blog, John C Adams Reviews.

https://www.johncadamsreviews.com/single-post/hothouse-by-brian-aldiss ( )
  johncadamssf | Nov 9, 2022 |
In 1962, Brian Aldiss won the Hugo Award for Best Short Fiction for the "Hothouse" sequence of stories. 1959 had seen categories for Best Short Story and Best Novelette, but from 1960 to 1966, there was just a singular Best Short Fiction category. Even beyond that, the rules didn't work the way they work now; the five "Hothouse" stories have a collective wordcount in the novel range, and thus if the sequence was nominated as a unit these days, it would have to be in Best Novel. The same year Aldiss won the Hugo (there is a funny story about this in my Penguin Modern Classics edition), the five stories were published as a fix-up.

I both can and cannot see why this won. There definitely are arresting, interesting images. Though not the earliest by far, Hothouse is still a pretty early example of the climate apocalypse subgenre. The warming of Earth (from natural causes) has caused a massive proliferation and evolution of plant life, and thus the downfall of the human race, which exists only in isolated pockets of depressed intelligence. The book follows one human as he journeys across his world, often at the behest of a superintelligent morel, and encounters different aspects of the amazing ecosystem. I would say the world was the best part, but I actually found reading the worldbuilding and scene-setting a bit of a slog. There is some neat stuff here, but it feels buried in a dull, aimless travelogue about dull, aimless people, and the exposition itself was often dull and aimless too; I was rarely excited to pick the book back up, and it took me a while to read despite being only 250 pages. I've liked some of Aldiss's short fiction that I've read, and he made good editorial choices in his Galactic Empires anthologies, but this is the first of his novels that I've picked up (for certain definitions of "novel") and it doesn't make me want to read another one. Not bad per se... but it never clicked with me. I kind of feel like I'd rather look at some illustrations of the world that Aldiss created!
2 vote Stevil2001 | May 14, 2021 |
This was an interesting book at the beginning and the end but the 3rd quarter became tedious with the morel controlling the characters. I really liked the exploration of the idea of what would happen to life on earth when the moon established a geosynchronous orbit and the earth had slowed its rotation so that the same side always faced the sun. That was a really interesting concept to play with. But there were some aspects of evolution that was difficult for me to suspend my disbelief. Being a biologist I just had a hard time with some of the evolutionary leaps that Aldiss made. One of them being the idea of devolution. I had a hard time swallowing that. But the descriptions of the flora that squeezes out the fauna was really fun. It was interesting to read this after reading Aldiss’ short story “Freedom Bridge” in Duzois’ 11th Best Science Fiction of the Year. That short story was really insightful and reflective. Quite brilliant. Hothouse is very different.

I like this rating system by ashleytylerjohn of LibraryThing (https://www.librarything.com/profile/ashleytylerjohn) that I have also adopted:
(Note: 5 stars = rare and amazing, 4 = quite good book, 3 = a decent read, 2 = disappointing, 1 = awful, just awful.) ( )
  Neil_Luvs_Books | Mar 21, 2021 |
I'm really impressed with this 1962 classic. I was fully prepared to assume it would be outdated and skimpy on the characters, but what I actually got was a thought-provoking tale that was so heavy on the worldbuilding that the worldbuilding was more like three or four characters in its own right.

I mean, you know its some serious science fiction if we're transported a billion years in the future, where men and women are a fifth our current size, where the earth and the moon are locked to constantly face the sun and the world had devolved and mixed and blurred lines between animals and vegetables. The prose was more than strong enough to prevent such a monstrosity of a novel from collapsing, filled with tantalizing images of truly odd creatures and situations I can barely guess at.

I only had a few issues with some of the characters. Some of the species of man were really dumb, and that was kind of the point, but I just couldn't believe that they'd have no sense of self-preservation. That point irked me. But other than that, I understood why the main characters didn't get much of a chance to grow or change. It was an outright adventure novel, exploring new lands, trying to survive while being driven by the mortal enemy of mankind.... his brain.

My god, that aspect of this novel was pretty damn cool. Mankind entered into a contract with a parasite that gave us our intelligence in the deep past. A fungus that, when combined with another living creature, makes it smarter. With time, it moved from being a crown of spongy fungus that looked like a brain to inhabit the slowly enlarged cavity of our modern heads, until all man thought this was the natural order. When the sun aged and became deadly to the fungus, mankind fell into the state of beasts again.

To have a hardy and evolved fungus drop upon you in the middle of the jungle to give you heightened intelligence, you'd think that would be a good thing, right?

Intelligence is overrated. :)

What a mess it caused for Gren.

The world was fantastic, spanning from spiderwebs that spanned between the earth and the moon, twilight zones where wolfmen roam, trees that shoot fire, and fishmen that rise up from the waters to preach about civilization and the coming nova of our sun. Too cool.

There's one more thing. These stories were written in 1961 before they were put together as one novel the next year. As I was reading it, I kept thinking to myself that this novel was the inspiration for Dune. The Morel could access our genetic memories into the deep past. The ecological concerns were breathtaking and very well thought out and developed, whether or not they're inaccurate. There were so many links and ties between the two novels that I had to put it down and do a little research. I kept assuming that this was a homage to Dune, for heaven's sake. Nope. It came out 4 years before Dune, and does an awesome job at outperforming Dune in these ways.

Is that high praise? Yes. Do I see why one of the short stories that made up this novel won the Hugo in '62? Yes. Can I imagine that during the 5 year time that Frank Herbert was writing Dune, he got inspired while reading the magazines these stories were published? Yes.

What a fantastic coincidence. :) ( )
  bradleyhorner | Jun 1, 2020 |
I like much of the work of "the great Brian Aldiss". He was a real pioneer of Classic 50-60s SF. This book, however, was not for me.

I believe you could get deep into this strange world and enjoy it but after a few chapters I opted out. Just was not in the mood for this experience. Maybe someday. ( )
  ikeman100 | Jun 24, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 26 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (18 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Brian W. Aldissprimary authorall editionscalculated
Collins, SusanCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gaiman, NeilIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Stewart, JohnIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Stewart, JohnCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
White, TimCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Particularly for Charles and Timmy Parr
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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.)
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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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In a strange future, the few remaining humans are regularly consumed by savage greenery, and their only allies are the giant Termights. Spiders over a mile in length travel to the Moon on interplanetary cobwebs, and the stationary world is now split between perpetual day and unending night. But the elders are facing the end of their time, so leadership is given to a youn girl, Toy. The groups manchild Gren wants to be his own leader, however, and with his maring partner will tear apart the group in his search of a new eden. Summoning up a world of carnivorous trees and giant insects, Hothouseis a landmark novel of the environment in crisis.

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