Friday, July 2, 2010

A brief discussion of Brian Aldiss' novel; Hothouse

How is this for imagination, the sun is going nova and Earth and the moon are locked in a plan of gravity and no longer rotate, plants have evolved to take on characteristics of animals and giant plants, a mile long, spin their webs between Earth and the moon? These are only a few of the features which will grab your attention in Hothouse by Brian Aldiss. Some of the human characters decide to travel between these satellites by riding the traverser (giant plant – spider.) The group knows that riding on the outside of the traverser is dangerous, so they break into a tigerfly nest which has been injected into the body of the traverse. Their encounter inside the tigerfly nest could be a scene from a E. R. Burroughs or R. E. Howard tale.

"'Look out,' Band Appa Bondi cried. From the terrible dark, something launched itself at them... The tigerfly's eggs had hatched. An uncountable number of larvae with jaws as wide as a man's reach turned on the intruders, snapping in fury and fear... Even as Band Appa Bondi sliced his first attacker, another had his head off. He fell, and his companions launched themselves over him in the dark. Pressing forward, they dodged those clicking jaws." p. 68

This battle continues until the group of humans defeats all of the tigerfly larvae; "They killed unceasingly with neither hate nor mercy until they stood knee deep in slush. The larvae snapped and withered and died." p. 69

The book is full of fantastic species of plants which Aldiss has created like the giant seaweed and the gunpowder tree. "...a great mass of seaweed had threshed itself far out of the water and covered a gunpowder tree. By sheer weight, it was pulling the tree down, and a fight to the death raged about it." p. 83

Each chapter of Hothouse if full of new adventures with new plants species. Aldiss has created a mystery of adventure with his wild, imaginative variety of alien life forms and alien ecology without leaving the previously familiar setting of Earth.

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