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Journals of the Plague Years

3.97  ·  Rating Details ·  113 Ratings  ·  15 Reviews
The Plague's origins were mysterious, but its consequences were all too obvious: quarantined cities, safe-sex machines, Sex Police, the outlawing of old-fashioned love. Four people hold the fate of humanity in their hands... A sexual mercenary condemned to death as a foot soldier in the Army of the Living Dead; a scientist who's devoted his whole life to destroying the vir ...more
Paperback, 164 pages
Published August 1st 1995 by Spectra (first published 1990)
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Mina
Mar 11, 2015 Mina rated it really liked it
This book's big strength is that (in the tradition of The Handmaid's Tale) it uses SF to explore a major issue of its day were it taken to an extreme conclusion.

That may also be this book's biggest weakness, since it makes it feel somewhat dated.

I don't think it is at all a spoiler for me to say this is a story about HIV/AIDS. That much is pretty obvious from the beginning. In the afterward to this edition, the author notes that he originally stated as much in the text, but his publisher urged h
...more
caracal-eyes
Jan 05, 2014 caracal-eyes rated it it was ok
Hum...well, it was readable--interesting idea, I s'pose, with AIDs as the modern plague, and the concept is good, there's action, the (ironically) 'usual' disparate allies thrown together by some common cause/enemy to save the day in the 11th hour...all that. As I finished reading, for a bit I felt like it was maybe 4-star material...then, as the climactic ending, the warm fuzzies of all's-well-that-ends-well, started to fade from immediate memory, it slid down to more of a solid 3.

But there ar
...more
Mathieu
Jul 29, 2011 Mathieu rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent ! J'ai vraiment adoré ce court recueil de trois novellas qui dépeignent trois futurs possibles des USA (au regard des années 1980-1990, c'est tout de même un peu daté). Si la première, "Chair à pavés", est un ton en dessous des deux autres, c'est surtout parce que les deux autres sont très très bonnes.

Les années fléaux se penchent sur une Amérique alternative ou le sida est devenu un tel problème qu'une police sexuelle est chargée de traquer les malades et de les conduire dans des zone
...more
Ronald
Dec 20, 2012 Ronald rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
_Journals of the Plague Years_ by Norman Spinrad was first published in the mid 90s. Spinrad has made this book, along with many of his other books, available for purchase as an ebook.

It is a science fiction dystopian novella about a sexually transmitted plague. Think AIDS, but more devastating to society.

Some of the dystopian fiction I've read seems somewhat hackneyed. Spinrad avoids this by the structure of the novella: the chapters comprise of alternating first person accounts from various p
...more
Ben Kruskal
Jul 18, 2015 Ben Kruskal rated it really liked it
Fascinating treatment of "The Plague", a fictional version of HIV, speculating on ways it might have changed our society. Written in 1988, it no longer describes the current situation vis a vis HIV, so it reads even more like spec fic, but it certainly provides an interesting and thought provoking angle.
Ευθυμία Δεσποτάκη
αν εξαιρέσεις το τέλος που μου φάνηκε λίγο ζορισμένο χάπυ-έντ, μου άρεσε πολύ.
Craig
Aug 24, 2011 Craig rated it really liked it
This is an excellent short novel dealing with AIDS awareness, more specifically examining personal responsibility and social issues. At first glance it's somewhat similar to his earlier story "Carcinoma Angels," but is much more detailed and thought-provoking. The narrative switches between four interesting viewpoint characters, seeking sense and redemption in situations that overlap and resolve convincingly. It's a challenging, intelligent book; hard-hitting despite being short and fast-paced.
James Eckman
Apr 07, 2015 James Eckman rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Anyone, it's a great book IMHO
Shelves: sf, fiction
This is about a super-AIDS epidemic originally written as a book outline in the 80s that could not be sold as a book, but the outline with minor changes was used in an anthology. A decade later they published it as a paperback. The story itself is well done, the characters start out a bit cliched, but they break out of their molds in wonderous ways.

Spinrad's agent told him it was the finest book outline he'd ever seen, budding authors may want to read it for comparison.
Christopher Grant
Mar 11, 2012 Christopher Grant rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Alternate Realities or Speculative Fiction Lovers
Shelves: sf
Journals Of The Plague Years is Norman Spinrad's allegory to the AIDS epidemic and the hysteria that surrounded (and still surrounds) the disease.

The prime message in the story is not to fear the unknown but to love the known. You cannot treat the disease if you are afraid. You must be bold and you must care about the afflicted. Only then can we start to find the cure.
Terrangirl
Θα μπορούσα να δώσω ίσως 3 αστέρια. Η θεματολογία καλή, αν και δεν συμπαθώ ιδιαιτέρως τα dystopian. Διαβάζεται πολύ γρήγορα. Μου φάνηκε όμως ότι έχει αναπτυχθεί πολύ πρόχειρα και επιφανειακά και η γλώσσα πολύ φτωχή, ίσως να φταίει η μετάφραση. Θα το διαβάσω και στα αγγλικά και θα τότε ίσως κερδίσει άλλο ένα αστεράκι.
John
Apr 22, 2009 John rated it really liked it
An excellent short novel. An extrapolation of the chaos ensuing from a total outbreak of a mutating sex virus (AIDS, but the word is never mentioned). Would make a fantastic action film, if it hasn't been done already.
David
Dec 27, 2009 David rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Spinrad, Philip K Dick, Stanisław Lem, "Dangerous Visions" fans.
Recommended to David by: denos@goodmonkey.net
Novelette. Characters are a often cardboard cut-outs, though diverse and well executed as such. In places the story is male wish fullfillment sex fantasy. Fun for its ideas and its Philip K. Dick "screw the man" attitude.
Kelsey
Oct 08, 2007 Kelsey rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
An incredibly dark book, it is a very frightening look at a scarily possible dystopia.
Falbs
Mar 09, 2010 Falbs rated it really liked it
The afterward is the best chapter of the book.
SL
Feb 14, 2009 SL rated it it was amazing
remarkable...aids is us...
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Born in New York in 1940, Norman Spinrad is an acclaimed SF writer.

Norman Spinrad, born in New York City, is a graduate of the Bronx High School of Science. In 1957 he entered City College of New York and graduated in 1961 with a Bachelor of Science degree as a pre-law major. In 1966 he moved to San Francisco, then to Los Angeles, and now lives in Paris. He married fellow novelist N. Lee Wood in 1
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