This timeless classic (kids today refer to it as ‘BNW’ in chat rooms) is set in an idyllic future London where breeding is carefully controlled and the population is kept placated with sex and drugs. Sex and drugs in swingin’ London? Sounds like a groovy scene, baby, yeah! This utopia is shattered, however, when a man known as ‘The Savage’ visits it and exposes the falsehood of its so-called perfection. Exposing your falsehood sounds shagadelic baby, yeah! This novel is rich in imagery and symbolism; as far as I can tell, The Savage represents either a harsh reminder of humankind’s self-imposed exile from the natural world, or ‘Macho Man’ Randy Savage. Both are pretty scary. Oh, behave!

On a scale of Aldous Huxley’s nicknames ranging from ‘Huck’ to ‘A to the H’, this book is: ‘Dr. Heathcliff Hux-table’.

You can fool Soma the people Soma the time….

Funny story: I read a lot of Vonnegut in high school, and in the back of one of his books was an authour bio that described him as ‘America’s foremost black humourist’. But when I saw a picture of him looking decidedly Caucasian,  I was totally confused, and thought for awhile that there must be two famous authours named Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., one black and one white. It wasn’t until I submitted an essay about Player Piano in which I claimed that ‘Vonnegut’s pessimism about the place of humanity in the new industrial age is told in a distinctly African American voice.’ that I discovered my error. Anyway, this book is pretty good. Recommended.

'Ebony and iv-ory....'

This ‘speculative’ tale of an environmentally ravaged world is so chilling in its accuracy you’ll pray for accelerated global warming. Seventy-five percent of the environmental disasters Brunner foretold in The Sheep Look Up have already come to pesticide-riddled fruition. The rest are bearing down on us like a leaking, lead-lined tanker of crude. Read it, then T-bone a Hummer with your Prius. Recommended.

On a scale of environmental disasters ranging from vanishing bees to radioactive pandas, this book is: using whale meat as dolphin bait.

17 trees died to print this.

Revolutionaries seize a secret weapon that makes its target vanish forever from time, space and memory. They should’ve aimed it at this book. The beginning is fairly action-packed (‘Mary’s eyes flashed as she returned fire at the police droids…’) but soon devolves into a tearfully boring description of the lives, politics and policies of post-revolutionaries in the new socialist America they’ve created (‘Mary’s eyes flashed as she farmed carrots for the collective…’). Feh.

On a scale of things war is good for ranging from absolutely nothing to oil, this book is: resolving coastal fishing disputes.

More like 'SNORE Of Omission'. Zing!

The year is 2021, and an epidemic of global infertility (don’t worry, it happens to lots of guys) means no babies have been born for 26 years. Anne Geddes is destitute and no one eats for free at HoJo. Amid this bleak background the novel’s protagonist becomes entwined with a group of revolutionaries who may have a way to save the world. I don’t want to spoil the surprise, but I’m too excited to keep it a secret: THEY’RE GOING TO HAVE A BABY! A sad a poignant examination of the purpose and importance of children in our lives, Kids Of Dudes is a winner. Recommended.

On a scale of reasons to have a baby ranging from boredom to tax deductions, this book is: propagation of the species.

children

What are we supposed to do with all this leftover breast milk?

Fritzy L. hauls out the ol’ ‘cyclical history’ trope for this novel of the far-flung future where a nuke war has seen a return to Dark Age theocracy. A ‘theocracy’, for those of you who aren’t edumacated, is a government run by Cliff Huxtable’s son. The catch is that religion is actually powered by long-lost science; ‘miracles’ are performed by machines and computers and used to keep ignorant peasants frightened and in line. Toast land buttered side up? Don’t thank God – thank the engineers in IBM’s Toast Research Division. Eventually, the peasants revolt and establish a less oppressive, cuter Rudyocracy. And when that fails to entertain, an Olivaocracy.

On a scale of fashion designers ranging from Tommy Hilfiger to Calvin Klein, this book is: Gordon Gartrelle.

Fritz Leiber? Okay. But only because I know her.

Authour Yevgeny Zamyatin (whose name, oddly enough, has never been a ‘Famous People’ puzzle on Wheel Of Fortune) lived in an oppressive 20th century autocracy. So he wrote a book about (drum roll, please) an oppressive 30th century autocracy. Basically, it’s about a guy in a hive-like society who learns to think as an individual, only to have his spirit crushed by the powers that be. On the bright side, the juice from a crushed spirit contains 40% of your daily requirement of Vitamin A, and the fibre can be used to make muffins.

On a scale of colours ranging from grey to grey, this book is: grey.

It's unanimous: totalitarianism is great.