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The Genocides

3.68  ·  Rating details ·  1,082 ratings  ·  115 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)
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3.68  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,082 ratings  ·  115 reviews

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Nov 15, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: american, sci-fi
Gaia Strikes Back

The Genocides, written in 1965, is part of a very specialized dystopian sub-genre which might be called ‘Apocalyptic Greenery.’ This collection of anti-biophilia stretches at least from Greener Than You Think (1947), to The Day 0f the Triffids (1951), to Death of Grass (1982). All consider various sorts of revenge by the plant kingdom on its primary oppressors, human beings. The moral is clear: the world which houses us is not friendly toward us.

Of these fantasies The Genocides
Mar 31, 2010 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 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 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 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.
Oct 16, 2018 rated it liked it
The Genocides is disturbing tale of an Earth where a species of giant, parasitic plants have all but stolen all of the world's land and water for their own purposes. In the wake of all this chaos, mankind progressively loses its humanity.

A certain colony of survivors in the American Midwest resists, but things begin to change. What follows is an unsettling story of how the colony tries to survive. The Plants' destruction of civilization is more a force of nature than something born from malice,
Aug 12, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Los genocidas fue hace más de cinco décadas una obra fuertemente subversiva. Frente a las tradicionales historias de invasión, basadas en la resistencia ante el poder superior, el triunfo del ingenio, el enaltecimiento de los mejores sentimientos humanos, opone unos alienígenas que apenas actúan para conseguir sus propósitos (salvo en una brutal aparición). Su condición de obra revulsiva no reside tanto en su carácter pionero, como en su dureza inflexible. En cómo sublima los más bajos instintos ...more
Terry Tsurugi
May 09, 2010 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
Conclusión Irrelevante

(...) 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.
Mar 27, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Voici un vieux roman de SF (1965), qui a récemment été réédité par les Éditions Mnémos.

L'histoire se déroule en 1977, cinq ans après l'apparition sur Terre d'une plante étrange, très envahissante. La Plante en question ressemble à un gigantesque brin d'herbe. Elle est verte, lisse, très, très haute (plus de cent cinquante mètres de haut) et surtout, elle draine les ressources des sols au point de tuer dans son entourage toute végétation et d'assécher les points d'eau.

Nous suivons l'histoire d'un
Jan 19, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
«Génocides » fait parti de ces romans de SF à l’ancienne et un peu kitch (par moment) que l’on prend plaisir à découvrir avec du recul, ici les événements se déroulent en 1972 (qui se trouve être le futur pour nos personnages) et nous nous retrouvons à suivre un groupe de personnes qui feront tout pour survivre face à une invasion digne de « La guerre des mondes » dans son principe, avec une humanité en total déclin et une planète Terre envahie par « La Plante », énorme végétal recouvrant tout e ...more
Nov 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Darkly funny. In Disch's future mankind is simultaneously reduced to worms, while remaining the self-mythologizing hacks we are today. He challenges the significance of the myths and presents nature as the true prodigal.
Chris Walker
An OK book with a bad title. I can understand why it's called "The Genocides" but questions of sensitivity aside (it was published only 20 years after the Holocaust) it just doesn't seem to fit.

For a first novel, this one was pretty good. I had low expectations for it, and I was pleasantly surprised by Thomas Disch's authorial voice. There is almost something reminiscent of "The Grapes of Wrath" in the books opening chapters, both because it deals with a region that was been ecologically devast
Jul 14, 2008 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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.
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.
Jul 15, 2008 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 rated it it was amazing
Whoa, what a little gem. Didn't wimp out on a happy ending.
Sep 18, 2016 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 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
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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.” 18 likes
“He (and anyone else who survived) learned to be as unscrupulous as the heroes in the pulp adventure magazines he'd read as a boy--sometimes, as unscrupulous as the villains.” 0 likes
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