Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Genocides” as Want to Read:
The Genocides
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Genocides

3.66  ·  Rating Details ·  868 Ratings  ·  86 Reviews
This spectacular novel established Thomas M. Disch as a major new force in science fiction. First published in 1965, it was immediately labeled a masterpiece reminiscent of the works of J.G. Ballard and H.G. Wells

In this harrowing novel, the world's cities have been reduced to cinder and ash and alien plants have overtaken the earth.  The plants, able to grow the size of
Paperback, 162 pages
Published November 14th 2000 by Vintage (first published 1965)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Genocides, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Genocides

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Mar 31, 2010 TK421 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sci-fi
THE GENOCIDES is a disturbing book: full of violence, unlikable characters, and an ending that will leave most people either flustered or upset...but, on the other hand, this is a very cool story.

The earth as we know it has been overrun with an alien plant species. This alien destroys the land by using up all of earth's water, forever altering the soil. Yeah, I know, it sounds like a cheesy B-movie. But it is anything but a cheesy B-movie plot line. These characters have depth...which leads me
May 22, 2012 Robert rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf
At one point in this novel a character expresses the view, "I'm not sure if we've been invaded or if they're just spraying the garden." Aliens have seeded the Earth with giant Plants that tend to eliminate all other plants by out-competing them for basic resources such as water and sunlight. Machines are systematically wiping out not merely humans, but all mammals. A band of survivors in the former USA struggle against Plants, aliens and - themselves. Despite the likely imminent extinction of th ...more
Nov 23, 2010 Kathryn rated it it was amazing
This is a difficult book to rate. I can not deny being completely wrapped up in the story. The final scene upset me a great deal, which is part of why I held off commenting on the book until now, more than a day after finishing. Books as disturbing as this tend to age well with me. I enjoy the after effects of being disturbed. I'm not kidding, this book really bothered me, which means I will probably return and change my rating to 5 stars if I follow my previous pattern.

The Genocides is a short
Dec 10, 2009 Flying_Monkey rated it liked it
In 'The Genocides', the remains of humanity struggle against the onward growth of an alien monoculture known simply as 'the Plants', which has destroyed civilisation and left only pockets of survivors.

The novel starts well, in an almost Faulknerian community of farmers, lead by the dominating and deluded fundamentalist patriarch, Anderson, who are trying to maintain their cornfields and animals against this relentless growth, along with alien attempts at 'pest control' (essentially the slaughter

There's a scene in this book which, I must reluctantly admit, is quite the definitive example of...

I'm sorry. I'm just about to make dinner, and I don't want to ruin my appetite. But trust me, it's definitive alright.
May 09, 2010 John rated it liked it
I rounded up my rating from 2.5 stars. I think this is Disch's first novel, and the writing, characterizations, and ideas are pretty amateurish compared to his later work. During the first 30 or 40 pages, I was frustrated at the crude and unpleasant characters, so I read the rest of this short book very quickly, almost skimming, and enjoyed it more that way. The plot becomes more engaging once the action moves underground and Disch's pessimistic and perverse view of humanity comes on stronger. A ...more
Jose Gaona
Nov 27, 2014 Jose Gaona rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ficción

(...) En general a Los Genocidas, aunque es una buena novela, le ocurre lo que a tantas óperas primas: quiere contar demasiadas cosas y al final acaba contando lo justo, sin centrarse muchas veces en lo importante: los personajes. Su autor, que la escribió con apenas 25 años, consigue explorar con notable clarividencia las posibilidades de un escenario devastado en el que se ha reducido a lo que queda de la especie humana a la mera condición de parásitos.
Jul 14, 2008 Charlotte rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Sci-Fiction Fans
I whizzed through this book in a day and a half (mostly while on the bus). It was very fairly short and to the point.

A small group of people are trying to survive in northern USA in the 1970's after an alien species of plants have invaded Earth. Nearly everything has died from lack of water and sunlight as the plants soak up all the natural resources and cover the planet like innumerable giant beanstalks. Seven years have passed since the plants arrived and the human race has dwindled to handfu
Dec 23, 2014 Fabulantes rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ciencia-ficcion
"Además de un producto personal, Los Genocidas encaja también a la perfección dentro de su tiempo. Porque en paralelo a la reflexión sociológica, Thomas M. Disch introduce mediante una exposición rigurosa, avanzada para los estándares de la época, conceptos e ideas fundamentales sobre la ecología y el medio ambiente. Mientras describe el nuevo ecosistema producido por la intervención alienígena, tiene también tiempo para observar las consecuencias
Dec 04, 2011 Lisa rated it liked it
Shelves: sci-fi
Alien plants take root on earth, sap the planet of its vital nutrients, decimate modern civilization and the human race. The patriarch of the last band of humans is a religious nut job who whips his grown children. The roots of the plant turn out to be full of spun sugar which is edible in moderation. Seriously. The femme fatale of the group eats too much and turns into jabba the hut. SPOILERS She ends up being too gelatinous to leave their underground root system sanctuary.

This book was like s
Sep 22, 2016 Thom rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Dystopia by disaster, that is, not caused by man. The characters described are a pretty dislikable bunch, and commit most of the seven deadly sins within this fairly short story.

This novel was nominated for the first year of Nebula awards (1965), losing out to Frank Herbert's Dune. I can't compare those two works (yet), but found this an okay book - Thomas M. Disch's first. Like some of his later horror novels, it is set around Minneapolis (with one of the main characters returning from there sh
Sep 05, 2012 Peter rated it really liked it
This is an alien invasion story of a different stripe, yet the main focus here is on the people that experience it and their various struggles to survive in the aftermath. If you need a big payoff and big alien battles and hoo-ah cheers, I'd look elsewhere. This is possibly the most likely and believable (relatively speaking) of alien invasion scenarios that I have read. It's a journey down into the heart of darkness, and one that is immensely engrossing and enjoyable.
Tanja Berg
Jan 18, 2014 Tanja Berg rated it liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
Rating 3.4* out of 5. A short tale about the last few humans on earth. Society has been disintegrated through the arrival of the Plants. They grow quickly and up to 600 feet, blocking out the sun and killing all earthly flora. The question is not how long the last few farmers can survive the invasion, but how quickly they will perish. It's as much horror as science fiction. Well told and entertaining enough.
Aug 10, 2007 Michael rated it really liked it
Shelves: eschatology
The Genocides could just as well be a slipstream novel instead of SF; the science fiction elements are a means to an end and not crucial to the story. This is the way the world ends - no bang, no whimper, just the disintegration of a rotten apple. It's probably an allegory, but I'll leave that interpretation to the next reader.
Feb 13, 2011 Wombok rated it it was amazing
Really engrossing. It wasnt at all what I thought it would be from the title. The writing was was simple yet engaging and the characters were as interesting as the plot, and with a plot this interesting thats quite a feat. I really enjoyed this book.
Jun 15, 2009 Kevin rated it it was amazing
I'm a sucker for stories about the extinction of the human species. But this one in an unabashed favorite. Disch writes vividily, with a knack for sharp plotting; he's one of the great genre writers who never got his due.
David Nichols
Jun 09, 2011 David Nichols rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewed, sci-fi
An end-of-the world novel, told from the perspective of human refugees who have been reduced to the level of burrowing pests on a massive, planet-wide alien farm. Similar in some ways to Brian Aldiss's Long Afternoon of Earth, but much bleaker in its outcome.
Jul 15, 2008 Ian rated it really liked it
Shelves: sci-fi-horror
What's better than humans trying to survive an invasion of plants? Again, 3.5.
Sep 07, 2008 Bobby rated it it was amazing
Whoa, what a little gem. Didn't wimp out on a happy ending.
Sep 18, 2016 Melumebelle rated it did not like it
Shelves: abandoned
I remember I tried to read this in college... Nope. Just didn't do it for me. Bland writing and truly unlikable characters all around. Didn't finish.
Aug 20, 2016 Leif rated it liked it
Hard to enjoy story about a small community living in a post-invasion earth. Kinda yucky, which I am coming to expect from this author.
Martin Bromirski
Nov 27, 2016 Rose rated it it was ok
Characters are scum. Either stupid or malicious or both. Looks like roaches will be the last to go.
Mar 20, 2017 Jake rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Somewhat raw, but some nice wording.
Mar 20, 2016 Matthew rated it really liked it
What misery! This sci-fi concept novel just heaps up the darkness. The people are completely trapped, helpless in a nightmare situation, and they respond to it by displaying the whole gamut of the worst traits in the human race.

(view spoiler)
Felix Zilich
Босховский постапокал из самого недра классической “new wave”.

Инопланетные растения проникли на Землю незаметно. Они притаились в огородах и на полянках, среди травы и деревьев, а потом взяли и вымахали в небо стволами метров по сто-двести. Деревья было бесполезно рубить и сжигать (на месте срубленного почти мгновенно появлялись новые побеги), а они тем временем методично высасывали из почвы все полезные ископаемые и воду. Реки и озера высыхали прямо на глазах, земные растения гибли от недостат
Her Royal Orangeness
If civilization ceased to exist, would humans still act civilized? Thomas M. Disch constructs his 1965 novella “The Genocides” upon that theme.

Mysterious plants with the ability to grow to the size of a mature tree in only a month take over the planet, wreaking havoc on the ecosystem and decimating the human population. A small group of survivors, led by the religious fanatic Anderson, is trying to eke out a living in the ravaged landscape. When refugees from a destroyed city arrive in Anderson’
Ivan Guerra
Jun 16, 2014 Ivan Guerra rated it liked it
El mejor 'peor' libro que he leído: catástrofes biológicas producidas por grandes esferas metálicas agricultoras que queman vacas en los bosques. En realidad mi crítica es marcadamente inconclusa porque, no habiendo conseguido el libro en inglés lo leí en una traducción al español; ahora no sé si la prosa es mala o la traducción o ambas. Pero la historia es buena, incluso original dentro de la ficción posapocalíptica lo cual es tanto muy fácil como muy difícil; es evidente que el autor es creati ...more
Althea Ann
Jun 09, 2010 Althea Ann rated it really liked it
This 1965 novelette has held up remarkably well to the test of time.
Earth has been ‘seeded' with mysterious spores from space. Everywhere, giant alien plants are growing, resistant to every herbicide that research labs and governments have been able to produce. Destroying ecodiversity and crowding out every native species, the plants seem to have no nutritional value to humans or animals. Without farmland, massive famine results. The cities, dependent on farms for food, are first to collapse.
Zantaeus Glom
Oct 12, 2015 Zantaeus Glom rated it really liked it
Another thoroughly absorbing page-turner from the mighty Thomas Disch. I can readily imagine that it has been said many times before, but there was something palpably Ballardian about the especially grim malaise that befalls our greatly embattled earth in his delightfully grim tale. If one hadn't read any Disch thus far 'The Genocides' would make a tremendous start to discovering a great literary talent. I'm not really one for a lugubrious 900 page space opera; and for me, both Ballard and Disch ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • A Wrinkle in the Skin
  • The Year of the Quiet Sun
  • Dark Universe
  • Some Will Not Die
  • And Chaos Died
  • Davy
  • The Devil Is Dead
  • Aftermath (Supernova Alpha, #1)
  • Drowning Towers
  • This Is the Way the World Ends
  • Crescent City Rhapsody (Nanotech, #3)
  • The Iron Dream
  • The Long Tomorrow
  • The Embedding
  • Greybeard
  • The Sheep Look Up
  • Wolf and Iron
  • The Road to Corlay (The White Bird of Kinship #1)
Poet and cynic, Thomas M. Disch brought to the sf of the New Wave a camp sensibility and a sardonicism that too much sf had lacked. His sf novels include Camp Concentration, with its colony of prisoners mutated into super-intelligence by the bacteria that will in due course kill them horribly, and On Wings of Song, in which many of the brightest and best have left their bodies for what may be genu ...more
More about Thomas M. Disch...

Share This Book

No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »

“All children... feel a demonic sympathy with those things that cause disorder in the grown-up world.” 15 likes
More quotes…