{Ebook} ì Half Past Human ⚷ eBook or E-pub free

There s a specific sort of book that I don t care for I am fine with being offended, or shocked, or grossed out, or shown terrible extremes, or being led into places I didn t care to go I imagine as readers, most of you are the same way, or at least you will be if you stay on the path of reading in a long and consistent enough fashion.But than anything, what I can t stand is a book that s boring.Half Past Human is a boring book.Let s not pretend it doesn t have plenty of crazy, fun, weird shit filling it up, though And it really does.As someone who really loves a tight narrative, and who kind of avoids that kind of meandering slicing life until there s a progression of character narratives, I am naturally predisposed against novels like this There are several instances of small narratives, but most of them don t go anywhere particularly interesting and nor do they have big impacts on the work as a whole And I bring this up to just show my bias when a book isn t tightly woven together, like some old sea rope bringing in barges to shore, I start to get bored after about 150 pages of it.Recently, though, I reviewed The City and The Stars I didn t like it, for similar reasons But from searching around for other reviews to inform my interpretation of Clarke s work, I found that a lot of people didn t mind it s lackluster plot and characterization because of the rich world they saw developed I imagine that Half Past Human was popularized for similar reasons, because its world building is top notch.The general premise is that one of the only living beings left on Earth are on evolved form of humans known as nebbishes These nebbishes have adapted wholly to living in underground hives They are short, fat, pale, and have four toes, and completely rule the earth.One can t help but see the fear of the author when describing a future in which mankind has evolved to become less of itself Most of the nebbishes we see are lazy, drug addled, resistant to change, and have severe agoraphobia which is overcome only by taking lots of meth So, this was written in the seventies, and I have to imagine all of that is a sort of response to the inwardly trending American culture that something like Network was also responding to We sit in the house, and slowly the world we are living in is getting smaller, and all we say is Please, at least leave us alone in our living rooms Let me have my toaster and my TV and my steel belted radials and I won t say anything Just leave us alone Well, I m not gonna leave you alone I want you to get MAD.So, the nebbishes have a sort of symbiotic relationship with these techno organic beings, the mecks and the cybers The cybers seem to be entirely synthetic, while the mecks are organically structured with cybernetic brains of some sort There s something sort of charming about the way the nebbishes live technology has completely ceased to progress for them for something like a thousand years, and so when the nebbish Hunters go out to hunt Buckeyes and Coweyes unevolved homo sapien males and females , they are hunting with bows and arrows The hives the nebbishes live in seem to be almost Zerg like organic structures, complete with multiple systems of rectums dispensing calorie bars for food.There s a lot here that s terrifying if you stop to think about it a little Calories are largely obtained from eating other harvested nebbishes The nebbishes are so evolved that they can t stop making of themselves, and overpopulation is an enormous problem to the point where the species is regularly killing itself off, almost as a sort of biological response to having too much of itself.And then there s the whole genocide angle As I mentioned, regular homo sapiens are still around They largely exist out in the wild sometimes a five toed nebbish is able to go native, so to speak, and join the wild homo sapiens But the nebbishes are doing their damnedest to wipe out these buckeyes and coweyes entirely Like the theory that homo sapiens wiped out Neanderthals however many thousands of years ago, the nebbishes are attempting to do the same to the race they surpassed, with the homo sapiens.Masculinity is thoroughly undermined in every part of this story, which I always find a lot of fun On the homo sapiens side, the coweyes take what they want from the buckeyes and then leave them after getting sufficiently pregnant The buckeyes are continuously left puzzled as to why they can t settle down with the coweye, start a family, protect her That was a nice inversion of the usual pattern.But than that, men as a whole are seen as kind of destructive and awful in the nebbish culture Women don t ever seem to have any places of power or utility outside of being pleasure models, or however it s put And so the message seems to be that if men are left in charge long enough, they ll turn the world into a series of hives bent on self destruction that s unable to stop trying to wipe out its past Which I think is a pretty fair description of things, don t you But yes, despite all this interesting background, there are lots of problems here The dialogue is largely rubbish people just don t talk how Bass has them talk here There are several sections where characters are explaining how this cyber or that meck works, and it sounds like they re taking turns reading from a field manual.Two of the characters Moses and Tinker and this is the nature of the book, that the only time it s actually relevant to bring up the names of characters is about eight hundred words into a review are essentially the same, just in different locations We get the sense that Bass wanted one character to do many things, but found that it wouldn t work logistically in the world he d created, so he just doubled the poor soul like he was the hive mind of his own personal nebbish camp I don t know, maybe that s the whole point of their similarity.Finally, it s just a bit of a slog to work through There are dozens of pages in a row without any sense of conflict or tension, and that s just anathema for readers in my experience Half Past Human is a fascinating book, but not a good narrative. This weird, brutal little book is the first of only two published by the late T.J Bass Clearly sparked by the overpopulation fears of the sixties, it posits what might happen to humanity if population wasn t controlled By turns disturbing, funny, and, ultimately, surprisingly poignant, Half Past Human is a very good, nearly forgotten work Glad to see Gollancz had the wisdom to republish it and its sequel, Godwhale, as part of its Masterworks series. Written as typing practice by an interning doctor in the early 70s talk about aw shucks , but that s what he told me , this is a detailed view of life thousands of years from now in a world of 3 trillion soft, domesticated people living in underground hives, the outcasts they hunt for sport, the robots who serve them, and the events that topple the whole order Stands up well 35 years later I read it once a year or so. When I was 17 years old I went into a bookshop and randomly picked up The Godwhale by the same author It impressed me a lot but also left me feeling slightly baffled and uneasy It was full of things I hadn t encountered in SF before, things that seem familiar and even normal now, such as miniature computers embedded in objects and items of clothing The writing was mainly crisp and sharp but sometimes peculiar The focus on biology was also something very new to me and rather startling I understood the environmental focus but the way this was blended with cybernetics, extrapolated biology, psychology and politics was like a slap in the face, a slap I turned out to be grateful for Shame that T.J Bass only ever wrote two novels For some reason it has taken me 35 years to get round to reading Half Past Human, his other book, though I have long been aware of its existence, and in fact I regard it as having the best title of any SF book I didn t find it difficult or baffling at all, but that s because than a third of a century has passed since I last read Bass This novel hasn t dated at all in the most important elements It s true that the sexual politics might irk certain readers, for example the female characters tend to remain in the background and are assigned only to traditional female roles, such as mothering and nurturing, but I prefer to see this aspect as an anomaly of the society described in the story which is meant to be a dystopia rather than as some authorial formula for the way things should be.Essentially it is very fast moving and unusual science fiction from the early 1970s with a strong biological and environmental slant And it also raises some very interesting and difficult moral questions I thought it was superb, a treasure of a novel, tightly plotted and satisfying. Heavens but that was heavy going Good points Bass imagination of the future of mankind, with so many people crammed in they ve had basic human emotions bred out The author competently considers the psychology of the hive and delivers the shocking consequences of over population in a very underplayed way The ending was satisfying and enables the reader to envision how the story continues once the last page has been read Bad points Even with a degree in psychobiology, I frequently found myself having to dictionary.com words and phrases The story is so peppered with biological and physiological references that it becomes wearing after a while Although a few candidates raise their head above the parapet, there is no real protagonist and it s hard to find anyone to root for Plus, women in the novel are little than walking uteruses uterii and are notable by their absence I have no qualms about a story led by a strong male cast, but as noted above, that s lacking here too Summary Read the book It took me a month to battle through it as I had to keep putting it down and coming back to it But I m very glad that it did Wanting to understand the story was what lead me to this very website, hence why I feel the need to say my piece I must add, I read for fun and for distraction this book probably deserves far closer attention than I was able to give it and I m sure subsequent re readings would be satisfying. Few science fiction readers of a certain age have not read this dystopian novel The peculiarly ecological vision of Bass found expression in only two books The Godwhale is the other , and echoed contemporary fictions of future societies Orwell s 1984, for example, and Huxley s Brave New World in its view of human society as doomed to dark collapse under a weight of population and totalitarian control.In a far future Earth, our distant descendants have been altered genetically to allow them to live in ultra crowded hives The genes that code for aggression when people are pressed too closely together turn out to be linked to the gene for five toes, so the Nebish people are four toed and complacent They fill their dark underground warrens in their billions, despite another genetic shift and social s that limit reproduction They are also cannibals Unapproved children are allowed to exist until they begin to walk and talk Then they are thrown into the patty press, producing flavors for the Nebish who reports them Other flavors come from rats and Nebish corpses tossed into the patty press Aside from the taste of flesh, Nebish society is fed by the world covering gardens of algae, and the lack of protein in their diet makes them weak and soft boned, prone to die after only 25 to 30 years of life.Within the Nebish genome, though, the five toed gene still thrives Occasionally, children are born with all five toes, or with the bud of a fifth toe These children are allowed to mature, because the hive needs their mechanical skills, but they are not allowed to procreate Without help, the Nebish are neuter This gives Earth Society the big ES control over reproduction, for in all except a few Nebish, hormone therapy is required to polarize into male or female Tinker, an ingenious Nebish mechanic, has been authorized to produce a clone type bud child of himself, and is polarized male He finds his attitudes about other Nebishes and life in the hive changing drastically he fixates on the female, Mu Ren, who was assigned to carry his bud to term, and instead gets her pregnant with a hybrid child Their child is born with five toes.To save their child, Tinker and Mu Ren must escape the hive, and join the savage wild humans who live on the surface and steal from the world garden Once there, they encounter a host of curious characters the ancient human Moon and his equally antique dog Dan, the spear shaped robot Toothpick, a liberated mechanical harvester, the wild human shaman with his cybernetic Ball, Moses the escaped hive pipe master, and Nebish Val the human hunter.Bass gives us a chilling view of the future of humans under the foot of the Big ES, but also offers hope Olga is coming, and her purpose is to save the five toed humans from the Big ES But what shape will that salvation take This is a classic novel that ought to be in every thinking reader s library, and studied along with Burgess and Orwell, Huxley and Harrison If you ve read it once, it s time to read it again, especially now that all these novels are available on Kindle. With some of the most interesting artificial intelligence I ve ever come across, and despite an overdose of medical terminology, this is a worthy addition to the SF Masterworks list My only gripe is that since all the animals are long extinct, cannibalism is seen as the only way of surviving, adding fuel to the misconception that a plant based diet is not sufficient for us to be healthy, happy, and strong. An incredibly dark and twisted view of the future Something very different about this one I can t quite say what it was, but I can say that I loved it.Edit This is one of my all time favorite science fiction novels The sequel is not as good as the original piece It s also very under appreciated I highly recommend it. {Ebook} ì Half Past Human ¶ A Novel Of Dystopian Future In The Tradition Of SOYLENT GREEN And HG Wells THE TIME MACHINE, With An Introduction By Ken MacLeod This Is The Second Printing, With Cover Artists The Brothers HildebrandtTinker Was A Good Citizen Of The Hive A Model Worker But When He Was Allowed Sexual Activation He Found Mu Ren Who, Like Him, Harboured Forbidden Genes And So Began The CataclysmBut In A World Where Half Wild Humans Are Hunted For Sport And Food Can Anyone Overthrow The Hive Greater By Far Than Its Stunted, Pink Blooded Citizens, The Hive Is Than Prepared To Rise And Crush Anyone Who Challenges Its Supremacy This book could only have been written by a doctor I m also a doctor, and I laughed for ages at the Ass at Tabulum joke, and the Howell Jolly body However, even I thought it was pretty niche.