Ivana's Reviews > The White Plague

The White Plague by Frank Herbert
Rate this book
Clear rating

's review
Sep 16, 2011

it was amazing

Introduction to the novel would be something like this: A brilliant American Irish scientists is driven mad when his wife dies as a result of IRA bomb attack. So, he creates a virus that will kill all women on Ireland...Will the virus spread?

There are a lot of fascinating themes in this novel and it functions great as a thriller as well. The way that the history of the Irish is presented is just brilliant. It is not a stereotypical view of the Irish. He really goes into the dept, exploring frustrations that are born in a nation that has been tortured or colonized, that has known treason...(not an excuse for the colonized but most of the nations that have had problems with achieving independence are no strangers to treason from its own man, unity being a very important factor in preserving a nation) Anyway, violence has a way of feeding on violence and I think that Herbert really captured this.

This quote from the man himself seems to go well with this theme of repeated violence:
"The oppressed always learned from and copied the oppressor. When the tables were turned, the stage was set for another round of revenge and violence -- roles reversed. And reversed and reversed ad nauseam."
FRANK HERBERT, Chapterhouse: Dune

The way the author makes bio terrorism look plausible is extremely upsetting. Especially as I think it is true- I mean that it is possible for one man to develop a virus that could end mankind. The characterization of the man that does it in The White Plague is great, his descend into madness being so well described. It is scary though, the fact that it is not impossible to create a virus that could be potentially devastating to human race. Nature creates such viruses and man has recently come a long way in regards to imitating natural catastrophes…actually, man has out staged natural catastrophes.

On another note, novel presents an interesting questions in terms of what would the reduction of female population mean to mankind. It seems to me that some SF writers entertain this idea that fewer women would mean that women would be better treated. Heinlein and his novel Luna is a Harsh Mistress come to my mind as an example of this philosophy.

I actually disagree with this concept. If you look at only countries where man outnumber women, you’ll see that those are the countries where women have no access to medical care and where basically women have no rights. In fact, in these countries women are considered to be the property of the man to the point that it is hard to even get a remote picture about their position. Since it is a biological law that women should outnumber man, when they do not, you know there is something seriously wrong.

In this novel, this question about the relationship between female population and their position in society is not really answered though I have a feeling that the author thinks it could improve the power of women. In this case I think Herbert attributes his feeling about women to entire mankind- and that’s not a very good way to make prognosis. Seriously, if all man would be so eager to protect women, we’d live in a different world. It could even be said, if all women would be so eager to protect women, we’d live in a different world, but I’m getting distracted from the book. I don't really know what else to say except that the novel is more deeper then you could expect. The action and the plot does not stop the writer from searching human soul and identity.

The novel is quite long yet it never gets boring or tiring. That's Frank Herbert for you...

3 likes · flag

Sign into Goodreads to see if any of your friends have read The White Plague.
Sign In »

Reading Progress

02/03/2016 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-1 of 1) (1 new)

dateDown arrow    newest »

Denis Great review for this one. I may have to reread it with a different attitude that I had when I first read it.

back to top