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The Long Afternoon of Earth

3.65  ·  Rating details ·  3,279 Ratings  ·  266 Reviews
The Sun Is Going Nova...

And in the boughs of the huge banyan tree that covers one face of the Earth, millions of years hence, the last remnant of humanity battle for survival with huge carnivorous plants and grotesque insect life...

That steaming infernal forest and its fantastic denizens are powerfully visualised. It is a work of genuine creative imagination - Kingsley Ami
Paperback, 192 pages
Published January 1962 by Signet
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Dan Schwent
Apr 27, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015
Millions of years into the future, the Earth is tidally locked with the sun and the sunny side is dominated by a banyan tree of mind-boggling size. Mile-wide plant spiders crawl from the Earth to the moon on vast webs. As for man, he is now a foot and a half high, green, and running scared all the time...

I got this from Netgalley.

I was pretty conflicted about this book. On one hand, I love the setting. Come on! A far-future earth dominated by colossal plants with giant spiders crawling from the
A FAR-FUTURE Earth where PLANTS are at the TOP of the FOOD CHAIN, HUMANS are MEALS and GIANT, SPIDER-LIKE PLANTS travel on webs between the MOON and EARTH...that is not just COOL....that's BLACK DYNAMITE COOL!!
4.5 to 5.0 stars. This book is all about WORLD-BUILDING and Brian Aldiss has created a TRIPtastically SUPERB vision of a “far future” Earth unlike anything I have ever read. In the distant future, evolution has decided to BOOT the “Animal Kingdon” square in the nether-regions…
…and pla
I seldom reread books because there are too many interesting unread books in the world to catch up with but some books just haunt me, demanding to be reread because I have forgotten too many details. I was walking around in a lush garden and I was reminded of this book and felt the need to reread it. This book is set on a far future Earth near the end of its existence, the sun is imminently going nova, human society and civilization have crumbled long ago. Plants and vegetable reign supreme, and ...more
Michael Fierce

After reaching the halfway mark, I threw this book down (you can read later why) only to pick it up again because 1) I think it unfair when someone rates/reviews a book they haven't finished, as I have never felt that was a fair way to judge a book, potentially destroying an author's chance to reach an audience, perhaps even ruining their career, and 2) This was a HUGO AWARD WINNING BOOK and I strongly believed there must have been a good reason why!

But, I didn't follow my own rules of doing th
I was surprised how much I liked this riot of imagination of post-humans clinging to survival in a world where plants have taken over. Millions of years from now when the sun has gotten hotter and the earth’s rotation is locked to keep one side always in its rays, the kingdom of plants has outcompeted animals for all the niches, evolving carnivorous and motile forms of seeming infinite variety. Humans have adapted to short brutish lives as small green creatures amid the jungle canopy.

The danger
I'm really impressed with this 1962 classic. I was fully prepared to assume it would be outdated and skimpy on the characters, but what I actually got was a thought-provoking tale that was so heavy on the worldbuilding that the worldbuilding was more like three or four characters in its own right.

I mean, you know its some serious science fiction if we're transported a billion years in the future, where men and women are a fifth our current size, where the earth and the moon are locked to constan
Hothouse: Plant creatures gone wild! Human characters wooden
Originally posted at Fantasy Literature

Yeah, Hothouse (1962) was definitely written with some chemical assistance. Maybe some LSD-spiked vegetable juice? It may have been written as a set of five short stories in 1961, but it’s a timeless and bizarre story of a million years in the future when the plants have completely taken over the planet, which has stopped rotating, and humans are little green creatures hustling to avoid becoming pl
Nov 07, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi, a-hugo
Although I can’t say this one is a favorite of mine, like Helliconia Trilogy, it sure left a strong impression on me.

Millions of years in the future, Earth stopped spinning and it’s tidally locked with the Sun, which is in its last days, before turning into a supernova and burn itself and its surroundings out. Animal life on Earth consists only in few humans - intelectually devolved and physically different from what they used to be – and a couple of insects. Vegetation covers the whole planet,
There is a trick to beginning reviews, and it's a pity that I've never learnt it.

My early impression reading this 1960 science fiction novel set on Earth in a far future, when our plant's rotation has stalled and weird, dynamic forms of vegetable life are dominant, leaving the rest - tiny humans, wasps, termites and a few others to battle on as best they can was to feel the similarities with J G Ballard's The Drowned World. Both imagine a future world that in some ways is more similar to the pre
Henry Avila
Jan 13, 2012 rated it liked it
In the far distant future with the dying Sun above, all the Earth has been overrun by vegetation.Old Sol stays in the same position in the sky.Shining on half the Earth. The other part is a frozen wasteland ,in perpetual darkness...It's a plant world for sure.The few humans left, have returned to the trees,(there is just one,a Banyan, in reality), and turned green, the humans I mean.A "Hothouse" (the name of the novel originally), in fact Terra has become.These people are primitive.Living high a ...more
Hallucinatory 60s novel, possibly written on drugs, which depicts a far-future Earth in which humans have evolved into tiny creatures who live in a giant forest that covers the globe. Oh, and there are spider-webs that stretch up to the moon... a sort of biological space elevator. Read the book to find out what the deal is with the fungi. None of it makes sense, but the images are striking.
Althea Ann
Apr 30, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition

It's not just pulp fiction - it's vegetable-pulp fiction!

Long aeons in Earth's future, an Age of Plants has risen. Dangerous, carnivorous plants are everywhere - some species are even mobile hunters! The remaining humans are a dwarfed, shrunken species. With greatly reduced intelligence and a simple, tribal lifestyle, they struggle to stay alive long enough to maintain their population.

It's an interesting premise... sadly, the execution is, quite frankly, terrible. The writing is clunky. The plo
Ivana Books Are Magic
This book might give you a tan, if you’re the suggestive type. I mean if you really imagine yourself being in this hot, hot, hot world. I’m only kidding, but really I don’t know, maybe it is even plausible, people do it with self-hypnosis, don’t they? When I was in high school, I read mostly SF (when it came to books of my own selection). We had to read a lot of classic for school (our state school curriculum is such) so I guess that a part of me was looking for something different. But it could ...more
Jul 25, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: scifi
If you put aside the shoddy science and employ your suspension of disbelief to the fullest, than this is a blast of a story. A distant future where humans are hunted by evolved plants and giant insects in a world that resembles a giant rainforest. I had so much fun reading about the setting that I didn't even care that the plot was flimsy. This is a fun tour through a very imaginative landscape.
Sara J. (kefuwa)
May 15, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
One of my first memories of childhood was a trip to the planetarium at Jodrell Bank and the ending sequence of the 'presentation' was where they showed the theorised last stages of our Sun's life as a star with it's eventual supernova and decline into a red dwarf before inevitably dying out. That, for some strange reason, fascinated me terribly in an almost nightmarish way for weeks on end... all life on earth wiped out by a supernova - expanding sun swallows up the nearby planets! But the incre ...more
Nov 06, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I remember enjoying reading this novel way back in high school. Recently when it was given to me as a present, I had a chance to reread it- and I really liked it again.

Hothouse is set in far, far future. The sun has grown enormous as it approaches its end, and the life on Earth (that has stopped rotating around the sun btw)is mostly plant life engaged in a crazy frenzy of eating and being eaten, speedy growth and decay, something like a tropical forest on steroids. Human beings are small and me
Dec 04, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Written in 1962, Brian Aldiss' Hothouse is similar to works like Jack Vance's "Dying Earth" series and Gene Wolfe's Book of the New Sun. In most novels of this dying earth genre, the world is gasping under the weight of civilization; a million years of customs and artifacts, countless empires risen and fallen, cities piled upon cities. In Hothouse, it's nature, not culture which dominates the last days of Man.

Far in the future, under a swollen red sun, the Earth and Moon have long since dragged
Stephen Curran
As the dying sun blasts out immense levels of radiation, plant life has taken undeniable supremacy of the earth. The land is dominated by a single banyan tree that grows as high as the skyline, while the coast is populated with giant, battling seaweed. Above it all, a spider-like breed of traversers sling webs back and forth to the immobile moon: 'vegetable astronaughts huge and insensible'.


Reading Hothouse is like experiencing one of those all-too-occasional vivid dreams that are so richly
Nov 29, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One of the best novels I have read this year. In fact I think it is the best novel I read in 2010. Brian Aldiss' second SF novel, less intricate in terms of plot than many of his other books, but packed full of highly original ideas and very strange situations. The main character, Gren, embarks on a journey in a far-future version of Earth where the sun has grown vast in the sky and carnivorous plants have come to dominate the food-chain. Imagine The Day of the Triffids on a truly global scale w ...more
Jamie Rose
I found this really hard to rate. It is extremely odd and not so much a story with characters as much as a fantastical travelogue. Some of the more comic scenes reminded me of Candide (recently read, fresh in the memory!) in the 'buffoons in an allegory' stakes, but Hothouse is also in turn violent and nightmarish, hallucinatory in the extreme (an accidental astral journey through the cosmos via a psychic building anyone?), hugely inventive and quite often really gross. Science fiction is I gues ...more
A.N. Mignan
How bizarre.

Part 1. The scenery of the deep green, of Gaia on LSD, is beautiful. The "gross vegetable equivalent of a spider, the first vegetable astronaut" that wanders between the Earth and the Moon was one of my favourite specimens in a flora that could only have been imagined while in a bad trip or during a fever nightmare. Another was the Nomansland tree that had reinvented gunpowder: "They had discovered charcoal, they had drawn up sulphur, they had mined potassium nitrate. In their knotty
Mar 12, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Tens of thousands of years into the future, the Earth's rotation has locked, with one face locked on a dying sun, the other side locked in orbit with a moon now encrusted with plant life. Due to high doses of solar radiation, life on Earth has devolved and mutated. Humans now occupy the lowest rank on the totem pole, shriveled and out-classed by the remaining insect life and the numerous forms of flora. For the plant world has evolved and gained sentience---it is the age of the vegetable, and hu ...more

I have to admit I had trouble connecting to Hothouse.

First, the characters. I was not a fan of the whole Tarzan vibe, although I understand it. There isn't much to these semi-savage humans but trying to survive, so it's natural that, with such a decreased intelligence, abilities would wither, and myth and tabu would rule their lives. I just did not appreciate much people dying so easily or getting separated, and it is no big deal because it is the way. So
Sep 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ci-fi
Reconozco que tuve un percance con Aldiss en mis años mozos, cuando por azar cayó en mis manos Drácula desencadenado . El caso es que me dejó frío y casi de inmediato olvidé la trama, lo que me disuadió de seguir probando con otros libros suyos. Precipitación adolescente. Tras conocer la noticia de su fallecimiento y estar expuesto al (escaso) bombardeo que le siguió, decidí probar suerte con La nave estelar . Me lo pasé realmente bien leyéndolo, fascinado por su planteamiento y atrapado por e ...more
Aug 14, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: own
Not Aldiss' strongest for sure. The pacing was definitely not what I come to expect from him; at some points frenetic, and other times sluggish. I also expect more of a vibrancy in his choice of words. Aldiss usually has a way of making his words dance across the page for me. But everything was pretty plain here. I have a penchant for the "plants taking over the world" subgenre so all the lifeforms talked about in the novel were fascinating to me. It definitely kept me interested from page to pa ...more
Aug 28, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: softcover
A unique far future story of devolution. If distinctions need be made, this is structured more as fantasy than scifi: A long journey through the woods.

It is filled with wild characters and imaginative creatures, most of them sentient and sometimes carnivorous vegetation. Human beings by this time have devolved into little rodents-like creatures.

My favourite and perhaps most complex character is fungus.

A very engaging adventure tale that can be enjoyed on many levels.
Valentina "TinchyB"
I read this book, for a first time,a long time ago.
I remember that there wasn't any sense in plot,but whole story was so halucigenic that I couldn't put the damn thing away!
There was cyberplants,and crazy mutant insects,and elevator to moon...
I felt like bad acid trip...
Jun 30, 2009 rated it really liked it
It's probably been close to a decade since I've read this book and the image of the earth and the moon shrouded together by gigantic spiderwebs still sticks with me.
Classic SF. Is this where Devo got the idea for de-evolution?
Fungus Gnat
“Hothouse” was the name collectively applied to a series of stories by Brian Aldiss appearing in 1961. When in the following year the stories were melded together into a novel, the name was retained in Britain but in the United States it was sold under the name “The Long Afternoon of Earth.” In 2009, it was reissued by IDW Publishing of San Diego as a trade paperback under the original title.

The story takes place in the far future, when the sun has grown brighter and plant growth has increased
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Pseudonyms: Jael Cracken, Peter Pica, John Runciman, C.C. Shackleton, Arch Mendicant, & "Doc" Peristyle.

Brian Wilson Aldiss was one of the most important voices in science fiction writing today. He wrote his first novel while working as a bookseller in Oxford. Shortly afterwards he wrote his first work of science fiction and soon gained international recognition. Adored for his innovative lite
“The misfortune of a young man who returns to his native land after years away is that he finds his native land foreign; whereas the lands he left behind remain for ever like a mirage in his mind.
However, misfortune can itself sow seeds of creativity.

---- Afterword to "Hothouse" Brian Aldiss”
“This shall be home, where danger was my cradle, and all we have learned will guard us!” 2 likes
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