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Don’t Bite the Sun

(Four-BEE #1)

4.14  ·  Rating details ·  592 ratings  ·  42 reviews
It's jang to be wild and sexy and reckless and teen-age.
It's jang to do daredevil tricks and even get killed a few times ... you could always come alive again.
It's jang to change your body, to switch your sex, to do anything you want to keep up with the crowd.
But there comes a time when you begin to think about serious things, to want to do something valid. And that's when
Paperback, 158 pages
Published February 17th 1976 by DAW (first published 1976)
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4.14  · 
Rating details
 ·  592 ratings  ·  42 reviews

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OH, the concept. OH, the potential. OH....SHIT, another UGH inspiring BOREFEST with the potential to cause NARCOLEPTIC FUGUE. Oh, the uncompelling MEH-NESS and the HEAD SCRATCHABLY UNEXCITING ending. Oh......damn another book that is...

Seriously, great concept but a lackluster execution that left me very disappointed. As I read this I would find myself really liking an idea and then being frustrated and bored to death with how it was explored. It just isn't fair.

Before reading this, I had only
Michael Jandrok
May 31, 2019 rated it really liked it
A curious musical trend happened in the early-to-mid 1970s, primarily in England. A bevy of bands, inspired by the sexual revolution and the easing of public mores, began to stretch the boundaries of gender norms to the limit. Androgyny was the big new thing, and male rocks stars in particular took the opportunity to create stage personas that were designed to playfully shock and awe their fans and irritate the staid and conservative establishment. This musical and visual movement was to become ...more
Megan Baxter
May 28, 2016 rated it liked it
My first reaction to sitting down and writing this review was to check the publication dates of Don't Bite the Sun against The City and the Stars by Sir Arthur C. Clarke. They're actually published about twenty years apart, and certainly the way Tanith Lee is writing about society is very different, but I would seriously argue that much of the message is the same thing. It's the idea that if humanity can ever create a utopia where no one has to work, and people can live as long as they want, the ...more
Lisa (Harmonybites)
Apr 22, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone
I first read and loved this in my teens. Tanith Lee writes so lyrically with such evocative prose of this loopy dystopic utopia in a far away post-apocalyptic future. And yes, this domed city of Four Bee is both. What do you do in a hedonistic world where everything can be and is done for you by android servants? You can even change bodies and genders. Eternal vacation--or eternal childhood. The (mostly) female protagonist of this first person coming of age narrative bumps into social walls in h ...more
Raymond St.
Sep 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
So much more fun than 'Brave New World'. So much more colorful than 'The Giver'. The dangers within Four-bee are more sly than those of the Maze Runner; the challenge more subtle than any Hunger Games. Strange; because Four-Bee is a nice place, and the robots just want what is best for everyone.

The power of the ending rivals that of any dystopian tale yet told. "Stranger, do not bite the sun, for it will burn your mouth".

That's the warning in the book. Ignore it. Go ahead and bite.
Sep 17, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the most lyrically beautiful books I've ever read. Hands clasped in friendship across space and time and myth: I love this character and her pet.
May 10, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: science-fiction
I've read this a number of times over the years (it was published in 1976), and I love it just as much today as I did in previous readings. It's quite short (only 158 pages), but the world is very rich and engaging...more than some that are five times that size. The basic story addresses discontent in a society that offers every convenience and comfort. The protagonist and narrator is discontent in the superficiality of the pre-programmed world. It's thoughtful and sad.

There's a second book, "D
I'd feel kind of tosky about finishing this book, but I don't think I'm jang enough. What an interesting world Lee created to explore the ideas of identity, relationships and living a meaningful life. When you are young in 4 BEE, you change bodies regularly--I laughed when she changed back to an old body because her pet didn't recognize her (but wouldn't have done it for another human).
Roz Morris
Sep 05, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: dystopia
I read this when I was a teenager and read it again recently (an inadmissable number of years on, since you ask). Sparky, original, poignant and adorable.
Tracy Smyth
Sep 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
Interesting storyline
Aug 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book poses the question of what creates happiness. Is it being able to do what you want? Is it taking drugs? Is it sex? This book suggests it is none of these but rather a life that has meaning and connection.

The narrator of this book (predominately female) lives in a world where there are no rules if you are "Jang" teenagers. You can change bodies, take drugs, steal what you want and have love (sex) with anyone you like. The whole purpose of your existence it to experience life and pleasur
Rudi Dewilde
Jan 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Tanith Lee was a goddess, writing the weirdest tales ever to have been published. Her fantasy is all-compassing, strange but still understandable. Don't bite the sun is that sort of book you will reread just because it keeps calling out to you.
Jan 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
The writing is as strikingly gorgeous as the author herself was. Dreamlike descriptive passages abound but they are economical and potent, transporting this reader to the bizarre settings with a focus I've not experienced in a long time. Almost every word packs a punch and there are no wasted words. Nearly every paragraph harbors a zinger as enticing as the opening sentence: "My friend Hergal had killed himself again."

This is a Dystopian novel unlike others in that I'd really like to live in its
Kagama-the Literaturevixen
Apr 05, 2012 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: people who like philosophical sci-fi
This is certainly a book that has an interestung and ambitious premise.

A world where you can change your apperance and gender as easily as buying new clothes,where young people are encouraged to be irresponsible and devote themselves to extreme pleasureseeking.

This is one of those books that hard to define properly.

I am used to reading books where you get to know the world through the main characters eyes but since its already familiar to the main character we dont quite get a clear understandin
Lauren Munoz
Jan 24, 2011 rated it liked it
Like in the Silver Metal Lover, Lee's narrator presents a detached story that rarely touched me emotionally. However, despite that similar flaw, this novel is much better than Silver Metal Lover; instead of a hokey romance, here Lee writes about the angst and discontent of living in a world of perfect comfort with no demands on one's behavior or time. The sci-fi aspects are creative and incorporated seamlessly into the book. There is something I just don't like that much about Lee's writing - I ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 23, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Attlevey you soolkas, I find this book insumattly and groshingly zaradann! But it's not for everyone.
Before you buy this book, try to find it on Google Books or so and read some pages. If you like it after the first 5 pages, get it.

The story is set in some future where no one has to work anymore, everyone lives eternally by changing bodies all the time (with gender switch if wanted) and robots do all the work. It's about finding a goal in live (or at least trying) and sticking out as an individu
Nicole Lisa
Jun 07, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2015
This is a bizarre book. I don't know if I enjoyed it because of it's weirdness or in spite of it. You never know the main character's name, there isn't really a plot and between the made up slang and the science fiction elements it took me a while to figure out what was going on.

It made me wonder if MT Anderson read it and was thinking about it when he wrote Feed and if Scott Westerfeld did when he wrote the Uglies books.
Dec 12, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf, sf-mistressworks
A fairly interesting premise; that of a future, decadent society viewed through the eyes of a character becoming slowly disillusioned with it. But it just wasn't that interesting in the execution; it was just okay.

Probably the most disappointing work by this author who I've otherwise had good experiences with. It won't stop me reading more of her work.
Jan 07, 2010 rated it really liked it
In this ideal world, every time you die, you can design and insert yourself into a new body. At the time this book was probably exploring what it means to be male or female. I've seen similar themes pop up in recent years again, but the emphasis is different. Or is it?
Nov 01, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I have read this book and the sequel 'Drinking Sapphire' wine many times in the last 30+ years because it is a great book. It's scary though in that what seemed utterly fantasy the first time I read it seems to be more and more what people seek in real life these days.
Nov 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This is one of my all time favorite books. I have read it several times over the years. There is just not another story like it. Great dystopian novel.
Feb 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I adored this book and its sequel in 1982 and have read it again since. Must read it again even though I rarely read SF now! It was pretty much ALL I read in 1982 (other than Georgette Heyer!)
Emily Crow
Aug 02, 2016 rated it really liked it
How did I miss adding this one to my Good Reads shelves? It was one of my favorite books when I was in high school.
Oct 07, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: lgbtq
I read this looooong ago and thought, in retrospect, that it might have gone over my teenaged head. It might still be going over my head? The protagonist has no personality except for a sense of ennui, the Jang slang is annoying, and I'm not sure where we've ended up at the end. We'll see where book 2 goes--I have zero recollection of the sequel even though I'm pretty sure I've read both.
Feb 11, 2018 rated it it was ok
Great premise, poor execution.
Elizabeth O.
Jan 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Brilliant science fiction focusing on the inner self from a 1st person perspective. When you can die with no consequences, what does life really mean?
Bjorn Larsen
Mar 08, 2015 rated it liked it
From the shelves of my unread Sci-Fi library. Tanith Lee is an amazingly prolific British science fiction author who's been active since the 1970's. I'm not sure what led to this book getting on my shelves - it wasn't on any of that year's award lists, but was well received at the time and seems to have maintained a loyal following. The story imagines a post-apocalyptic future in which humans survive in domed cities on an unnamed desert/volcanic planet. Within the domes the humans every need is ...more
John Rapp
Feb 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A woman's search for meaning in a meaninglessly hedonistic world.
Apr 02, 2010 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to mlady_rebecca by: Katrina Strauss
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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Tanith Lee was a British writer of science fiction, horror, and fantasy. She was the author of 77 novels, 14 collections, and almost 300 short stories. She also wrote four radio plays broadcast by the BBC and two scripts for the UK, science fiction, cult television series "Blake's 7."
Before becoming a full time writer, Lee worked as a file clerk, an assistant librarian, a shop assistant, and a wai

Other books in the series

Four-BEE (2 books)
  • Drinking Sapphire Wine (Four-BEE, #2)