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The Genocides

3.67  ·  Rating details ·  916 Ratings  ·  90 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, 208 pages
Published September 1st 1979 by Pocket (first published 1965)
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Mar 31, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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
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

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.
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
May 09, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 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 rated it it was amazing  ·  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
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  ·  review of another edition
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
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  ·  review of another edition
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
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  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
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 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
Whoa, what a little gem. Didn't wimp out on a happy ending.
Sep 18, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
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.
Aug 30, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
In this, Thomas Disch's first novel, he examines the human will to survive, no matter what. The Earth has been seeded with enormous Plants that over the course of several years out-compete terrestrial flora and fauna and are establishing a monoculture over the planet. Vestiges of a small town in northern Minnesota survive through the somewhat obsessed will of farmer and strongman Anderson and his two sons. There are memories of rioting and the human violence common in popular post-apocalypic sto ...more
Austin Gaines
I finished The Genocides by Thomas Disch the other day. Old post apocalyptic Eco disaster thing about giant plants taking over the world. Kind of like a day of the triffids aftermath thing. Pretty good but basically turns into a horror story for the last third with CHUDs crawling through hollow plant roots in the dark for months and committing various atrocities. I may read some more stuff by this guy one day.
David Allen
Disch's first novel is said to have been influential, even if it's grim slog. A dystopia in which humanity is living within the roots of alien plants, it's a kind of despairing, claustrophobic "Journey to the Center of the Earth."
Nov 27, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Characters are scum. Either stupid or malicious or both. Looks like roaches will be the last to go.
Jul 11, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One of those doomsday-books that were s0 popular at that time.
But quite original. Short, pessimistic, good.
Mar 20, 2017 rated it liked it
Somewhat raw, but some nice wording.
Mar 20, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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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.” 17 likes
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