What's the Name of That Book??? discussion

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UNSOLVED: One specific book > Children's Post-Apocalypse or after man. Evolved animals. Rodents called screws. Trees became telepines (poles). Black & white illustrations inside. Cover: black trees look like telephone poles, purple with orange & white. Read in 1970s.

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Blackdaisydesignsyahoo.Co.Uk | 21 comments There may be spoilers as at this point I am trying to remember everything I can and am not sure what constitutes spoilers and what counts as plot details!

I read this book from the children's section of my library in the UK some time in the mid to late 70s. It was probably published then, but may have been very late 60s. It was a hardback with a cover in purple, white, black and orange which featured trees that looked like telephone poles.

The world was either post-apocalypse or evolved after huge industrialisation. Trees had become telepines which looked like telephone poles and carried 'wires' and fruits like the white cones you used to see on these. There were species of rodents called screws (after the woodworking item) with screw-threaded noses. There were some black and white pictures of these and others, someone's field notes. I think there were the remains of human houses and gardens all overgrown, but I'm not sure about this. There were other animals that evolved to live among super-industrialised landscapes. Possibly birds that made nests in the telepines.

Definite spoiler:

There is one man left, or maybe more than one - he lives in a shelter he's built in the earth. I'm not sure if he is the same as the scientist who made the field notes.

If anyone can help I would be very happy :) I have dredged my memory for all the details I can find but will add more if they come up.


message 2: by Rainbowheart (new)

Rainbowheart | 21140 comments Maybe something by John Christopher?


Blackdaisydesignsyahoo.Co.Uk | 21 comments Thanks for the reply. Unfortunately (for this purpose) I'm familiar with John Christopher and it's not one of his.


message 4: by Rainbowheart (new)

Rainbowheart | 21140 comments The MC was an adult man? No kids in the story despite being children's fiction?

Came across Beyond the Dark River, but not sure it fits. Monica Hughes might be a possible author, though.


Blackdaisydesignsyahoo.Co.Uk | 21 comments "The MC was an adult man? No kids in the story despite being children's fiction?" So far as I remember there weren't any main human characters at all. I was only about 7 at the time so we are going back 40 years! The story was told through the man's notes and at the end, there was a man who turned out to be alive - I think it was the same man, but I can't be 100% sure. It wasn't uncommon at the time to have an adult character - Mr Benn in the cartoon of the same name, for example :)

Thank you for the suggestion but sadly (for the purposes of this book!) it wasn't Monica Hughes either, I read some of her work a few years later, and researched her titles thanks to your suggestion :) No luck yet.


message 6: by Rainbowheart (new)

Rainbowheart | 21140 comments The Orange R mentions evolved animals, but I'm not sure how closely it fits, either.


message 7: by Ann aka Iftcan (new)

Ann aka Iftcan (iftcan) | 6965 comments Mod
Iron Cage maybe?


Blackdaisydesignsyahoo.Co.Uk | 21 comments Thank you both, I checked them but they aren't the one I am looking for - I think mine was aimed at a slightly younger age perhaps. Hmm. I'm still wracking my brains but if nothing else I've found out about some other good books to read :)

I really appreciate all the efforts to help me solve this!


message 9: by Michele (new)

Michele | 2425 comments Was there a plot, or was it more like a bestiary with information about all these weird creatures?


Blackdaisydesignsyahoo.Co.Uk | 21 comments All I can remember about the plot is in my original post. There were pictures among the text every so often with notes like "this kind of screw is more aggressive" or similar.


message 11: by Michele (new)

Michele | 2425 comments Possibly Hallelujah Anyway?


Blackdaisydesignsyahoo.Co.Uk | 21 comments Thank you both - it isn't either of those, but The Snouters looks closer to the sort of thing it was, if that makes sense!


Blackdaisydesignsyahoo.Co.Uk | 21 comments Bump bump, just in case it rings any bells with anyone new after more than a month :)


Blackdaisydesignsyahoo.Co.Uk | 21 comments bumpity bump


Blackdaisydesignsyahoo.Co.Uk | 21 comments Nudge just in case


message 17: by Rainbowheart (new)

Rainbowheart | 21140 comments Still looking?


Blackdaisydesignsyahoo.Co.Uk | 21 comments Yes, very much! But I think it may be a lost cause now :(


message 19: by Rainbowheart (new)

Rainbowheart | 21140 comments We've had books solved after a number of years. If you keep bumping, someone is sure to recognize it.


Blackdaisydesignsyahoo.Co.Uk | 21 comments Well, that's heartening to hear! Thank you :)


message 23: by Michele (new)

Michele | 2425 comments For the above two (or any of the suggestions, really) when you go to the Goodreads page for it, be sure to look at the upper right where it says "Readers also enjoyed" since this shows you other similar books. You might stumble across yours that way.


Blackdaisydesignsyahoo.Co.Uk | 21 comments Thank you! It isn't either of those, though I did own After Man in the 90s. It's very good. I will look at the "Readers also enjoyed ...", thank you for the suggestion!


message 25: by BeastySped (new)

BeastySped | 5 comments Hey, im not quite sure yet but i think we are looking for the same story, there are a few parts from your recollection that sound similar to mine, any chance?

https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/...


Blackdaisydesignsyahoo.Co.Uk | 21 comments Thank you so much for getting in touch! Unfortunately no, it doesn't sound like the book ... there wasn't any travelling through time in mine :( It sounds like a book I'd like, though, then and now :)


message 27: by BeastySped (new)

BeastySped | 5 comments Ah that's too bad! Keep on looking and good luck, I just had my book found and it really is the best feeling. Have a good day


Blackdaisydesignsyahoo.Co.Uk | 21 comments Thank you! And you too :)


message 29: by Rainbowheart (new)

Rainbowheart | 21140 comments Breed to Come kinda vaguely reminded me of your book.


Blackdaisydesignsyahoo.Co.Uk | 21 comments It wasn't that one, but thank you very much for replying! I'll keep hoping one day it will turn up :)


message 31: by Rainbowheart (new)

Rainbowheart | 21140 comments Does it sound like the same book Jim is seeking here?

https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/...


message 32: by Jim (last edited Jun 15, 2020 02:13AM) (new)

Jim Gough | 16 comments I think it might be. Now that the man making notes is mentioned it makes me remember a little more. At the end of the book the man is searching for any evidence of the gadgets/machines still being alive after whatever event took place that destroyed them. Some kind of battle between the machine animals and real animals? I'm really struggling to remember more details.


message 33: by Rainbowheart (new)

Rainbowheart | 21140 comments You're both in the UK, too.

That's a good clue. Sounds likely to be a British book.


Blackdaisydesignsyahoo.Co.Uk | 21 comments It could well be! Thanks @Rainbowheart and Jim!

I'm wracking my brain, but I read it in the 70s or very early 80s at the latest. I suppose that means we know it can't have been published later than that, which is something.

I remember that the telephone poles had been replaced by telepines (trees that looked like telephone poles, complete with little l-shaped side branches, if you've ever seen an old style phone pole). Screws were rodents that had evolved to live on a polluted Earth or one that just didn't have any natural areas left.

I can't say I really remember a battle being mentioned but it's as if I almost do? I want to say that the searcher found the remains of old houses and gardens that still had fruit trees in, but I'm not sure if that's another book.


message 35: by Jim (new)

Jim Gough | 16 comments I'm not sure about the battle, but I do remember at the end somebody searching for any of the creatures but not finding any, so something must have happened to destroy them all. I think I was wrong about the marbles, I think the screws you mentioned is what I was thinking about.


message 36: by Rainbowheart (new)

Rainbowheart | 21140 comments How many pages long do you guys think the book was?


message 37: by Blackdaisydesignsyahoo.Co.Uk (last edited Jun 16, 2020 05:16AM) (new)

Blackdaisydesignsyahoo.Co.Uk | 21 comments It was a child's book, but it was a full story - maybe about the same or a bit less than The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe? It's hard to say, I'm going back over 40 years :)

Jim that does ring a bell now ... do you remember the man living in a shelter underground? I think it's definitely the same book. The same, elusive book!


message 38: by Jim (new)

Jim Gough | 16 comments Yes, every time you mention something new it comes back to me. It's a pity neither of us can remember the author or even part of the title. I've a horrible feeling we'll never find out about it.


message 39: by SamSpayedPI (new)

SamSpayedPI | 2075 comments Just keep bumping every month or three, so fresh eyes can see the thread. This group has solved threads after ten years or more!


Blackdaisydesignsyahoo.Co.Uk | 21 comments Ten years - that's impressive!

Well, until the other day when I was notified you'd posted about the book, I didn't know anyone else who remembered it. So who knows, maybe someone else's memory will be jogged too. We can hope :) If anything else comes to me I'll be sure to add it.


message 41: by Jim (new)

Jim Gough | 16 comments I've been thinking more about this. The cylinder hoover creatures, I seem to remember they were called snorkelers or something very similar by the man who was documenting all these machine creatures, and the name of the book was something like A, B and C. those being the names of three of the machine creatures? Not really sure about that, but I thought it might ring some bells?


Blackdaisydesignsyahoo.Co.Uk | 21 comments Thanks! I did try searching for "Screws and Telepines" at one point early on (and just now, in case) but it didn't work, but maybe that does suggest it was "A, B and C" format for the title as I would have "A and B" there. Syllable Name, Syllable Name and Three-Syllable name _feels_ like the right format darnit!

Snorkelers - could it have been Snufflers maybe? I am wracking my brains, it does seem like S-something-ers rings a bell. I wish I could remember more of the creatures.

Some of the diagrams even included proposed ancestral forms, I remember that much, or courses of development so to speak - like "possible ancestral form of Common Screw" instead of shrew.

I think there were birds, I'm pretty sure there were birds that nested in the telepines.


message 43: by Jim (last edited Jun 24, 2020 02:10AM) (new)

Jim Gough | 16 comments Yeah, Snufflers does sound more like it. I think they were supposed to be the mechanical equivalent of a badger? I'm sure there was a hunter too, based loosely on a fox, but dammed if I can remember.


message 44: by Jim (new)

Jim Gough | 16 comments Any further thoughts or ideas on this Blackdaisy?


message 45: by Rainbowheart (new)

Rainbowheart | 21140 comments Bump for Jim and Blackdaisy.


message 46: by Kris (new)

Kris | 36623 comments Mod
I added a few details to the header/topic title. You can update it by clicking the small "edit" link after the header. This only works on the full Desktop website - not the Mobile website or app. (On the Mobile website, click the "Desktop version" link at the bottom of the page.)


message 47: by Ayshe (new)

Ayshe | 4327 comments I think I found it (accidentally while googling for something else): The Mysterious Greatwood The goodreads entry doesn't have reviews but I found this blogpost about the book: https://sbisson.wordpress.com/2005/05... (the 'trees' are Pinelons).


message 48: by Rainbowheart (new)

Rainbowheart | 21140 comments Woo, woo!!!

Good find, Ayshe. I hope Jim and Blackdaisy come back to see it.


message 49: by Adele (new)

Adele | 1226 comments Great find, Ayshe!


message 50: by Jim (new)

Jim Gough | 16 comments Yeay! Thanks Ayshe! Long time in the solving but we got there in the end.


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