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The Genocides

3.7 of 5 stars 3.70  ·  rating details  ·  602 ratings  ·  58 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 ma

Paperback, 208 pages
Published September 1st 1979 by Pocket (first published 1965)
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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
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
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
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
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
Erik Simon
Love this book. Is there anything better than a Heartland character weilding a Bible in one hand, a gun in the other? Doesn't sound so futuristic. And before Heartlanders castigate me, I'm from Illinois. I also love that things don't turn out peachy at the end of this book. Disch is such a fine writer.

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.
Dec 08, 2008 Charlotte rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
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
Tanja Berg
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.
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
Ivan Guerra
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
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.
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’
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
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.
David Nichols
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.
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.
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.
There are many good ideas in "The Genocides", particularly the believeable and methodical way virulent plant life could ravage our planet, however there are also several ropey SF anachronisms which mean a 2014 reading of the book is undermined. Personally, I think leaving the plant life as a natural genocide would have been better without bringing in the orbs - even though Disch thankfully shies away from a definitive explanation. Regardless of that, it's a fast, entertaining read, and whilst it ...more
What's better than humans trying to survive an invasion of plants? Again, 3.5.
Whoa, what a little gem. Didn't wimp out on a happy ending.
Althea Ann
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.
This is the first book I've read by Disch, but I'm glad I've got three more waiting for me.

I enjoyed his style, the story moves at a rapid pace but is still filled with enough detail to make it feel like a real place. The characters were intriguing, bizzare, and had some good depth.

The story itself, starts out with only a small dose of sci-fi (a new speices of giant Plants has spawned over the planet, snuffing out other plants and making food vary scarce). This quickly changes into a much meatie
Characters are flat, pacing is disjointed, plot meanders. I had a particularly difficult time getting past the overtly sexist portrayal of women- either harlots or waifs, with very few exceptions. Sufficiently bleak ending for the cast of unlikeable turds though.
Aptly titled. This unique invasion of Earth is depicted in a brief, poignant fashion. Some may be disturbed with the ending, but not all endings can be happy ones or even a stale mate.
It's only 120 pages or so, but this densely worded text expands upon Hamlet's observation that life is an unkempt garden, using hyperbole to make it so in the extreme. Our planet, and population, is under siege from licorice plants run amok, poisoning the soil, stealing our water, while probably fluoridating it too. The characters are over the top, but they all have their points. There are violent moments, pages that make the reader blanch, and yet there is an incredible sweetness towards the en ...more
Alexander Páez
Es casi un 2,5. Hubiera funcionado mejor como relato, ya que a pesar de no llegar a las 200 páginas se hace largo y creo que hay mucha escena de relleno. Como digo, un relato medio largo hubiera sido mucho mejor y mi puntuación hubiera aumentado.
Brittany Francis
Interesting enough plot, great apocalyptic novel. Just a little dense- easy enough to read for my class though.
Adam Browne
very intelligent book - check out my review here:
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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
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“All children... feel a demonic sympathy with those things that cause disorder in the grown-up world.” 8 likes
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