Julie's Reviews > The Wanting Seed

The Wanting Seed by Anthony Burgess
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Feb 19, 11

bookshelves: gender, science-fiction
Read in February, 2011

I read this about a week or two ago, but it's already fading in my memory.

I guess the basic premise is that the world is overpopulated, so you're limited to how many children you can have. But polite, genteel people don't have any.

Which has a knockoff effect of, if you're gay (particularly male and gay) you advance more quickly in your career, and things like that. So there's a real advantage to pretending to be gay. And the culture has adopted gay dress and mannerisms. And that is really the most interesting and appealing part of the book, so it's a shame that this isn't dealt with much and is soon enough overthrown.

Because limiting population goes against the natural order of things and society tries to restabilize itself with heterosexual orgies. And oh yea, cannibalism comes into play too.

And you don't realize, or I didn't realize, right off that this is some sort of absurdist fiction. That I'm not meant to take it too seriously. Which can work, but sort of only if you also care about the characters. Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is silly, but.. you can feel for Arthur Dent and Ford Prefect is fun, and some of the other characters are fun and/or interesting. And in this book, just.. no, you can't really like them. Well, I can't like them.

So the book is kind of interesting in an intellectual way, but I wouldn't call it particularly enjoyable on any other front.
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