Futuretrack 5 by Robert Westall Kestrel Books, 1983 Price I paid: none
Henry Kitson makes his first mistake when he scores a hundred per cent in his exams. Not for him therefore the glamorous cushy career pattern of most of his contemporaries. Promoted to Tech, he is equipped with a white coat and a clipboard and becomes one of that small body who keep the country’s computerized living systems going.
His second mistake is going on the razzle. In London, where survival depends on skill and daring and the population is controlled by fear and sensationalism, Kitson becomes pinball champion and meets blond, leather-clad Keri, London’s bike-racing champion of Futuretrack 5.
Together they go north in an uneasy partnership. And what they learn as they go, they don’t like, for this is Britain of the twenty-first century and if you question the system too much you come to regret it. But who does know the answers? And what is Kitson’s destined role? As a fortune teller predicts, “You’ll regret what you’ll do for the rest of your born days. And you’ll have plenty of time to regret it.”
In this major new novel, Robert Westall has brilliantly created a future world which is all too plausible.
The Day of the Triffids by John Wyndham Audible, 2009 (audiobook version) RosettaBooks, 2000 (eBook version) Originally published by Michael Joseph, 1951 Price I paid: $2.99 (audiobook), I don’t remember (ebook)
Bill Masen, bandages over his wounded eyes, misses the most spectacular meteorite shower England has ever seen. Removing his bandages the next morning, he finds masses of sightless people wandering the city. He soon meets Josella, another lucky person who has retained her sight, and together they leave the city, aware that the safe, familiar world they knew a mere 24 hours before is gone forever. But to survive in this post-apocalyptic world, one must survive the Triffids, strange plants that years before began appearing all over the world. The Triffids can grow to over seven feet tall, pull their roots from the ground to walk, and kill a man with one quick lash of their poisonous stingers. With society in shambles, they are now poised to prey on humankind. Wyndham chillingly anticipates bio-warfare and mass destruction, 50 years before their realization, in this prescient account of Cold War paranoia.
The Overman Culture by Edmund Cooper Berkley Medallion, 1972 Price I paid: 25¢
“A REAL SPINNER!…Michael is a ‘fragile’ boy—one of a seemingly small number of children who grow tired when they run, who bleed when they are hurt, who can’t take off their heads….As the fragile children discover each other, probe in the moldering ruins of London, and try to interpret what they find, they come to the conclusion that they have been created by some super-scientist, as guinea pigs for an experiment.
“And what happens if the guinea pigs turn on their creator—on the Overman of the legend they all know? They may be destroyed. They may be set free. They may escape. And who or what are the others, the ‘drybones’ who do not bleed, who can take off their heads? Edmund Cooper has secrets he can hide as well from you as from the fragiles…”
The Diabols by R.W. Mackelworth
Paperback Library, 1969
Originally published as Firemantle, Robert Hale, 1968
Price I paid: 75¢
Their bodies were colored lights; their voices were music. But whatever they touched was incinerated!
For a moment in time their destructive powers were limited to a small portion of Earth. Yet they were determined to burn the whole planet to a crisp.
Was there no hope for man’s survival?
As a last resort Boraston is projected into a future where the Diabols have almost won. Only a few humans remain, struggling to stay alive by holding the Diabols off with skirmishes and holding actions.
Can Boraston devise a method to destroy them?
If he succeeds, Earth can plan to save itself from the Diabols.
If he fails, Earth was doomed to become nothing more than a charred and blackened cinder in the galaxy!