Read Un miliardo di giorni terrestri by Doris Piserchia Free Online
Book Title: Un miliardo di giorni terrestri|
The size of the: 17.16 MB
Date of issue: October 1978
ISBN: No data
ISBN 13: No data
The author of the book: Doris Piserchia
Format files: PDF
Read full description of the books:This is the first work by Ms Piserchia I've read, and it will certainly not be the last. A Billion Days of Earth is a profoundly strange work; this is always a plus for me, but if its not your cup of tea you'd do better to stear clear.
It is not the prose itself that is so strange; it is rather the structure and characters, and in a way, the priorities of the work, that make it such an odd and ultimately intriguing work.
It won't spoil anything to explain a little bit about the setting and characters, as the major "hook" elements of it are covered in the first few pages. We are on Earth, approximately 3 million years from the present. Societies of "human" men and women exist in a manner largely cognate to 20th century America. However, these men and women are not humans as we know them, but rather the descendants of rats, purposefully mutated at some point in the past to closely resemble humans-as-we-know-them, with the exception of their hands: these must be supplemented with cybernetic manipulators slipped over top their clawed paws, which have evidently resisted shaping. Several other self-aware, language-using races of animals exist, in a kind of limbo between beast and human, perhaps the legacy of other, less successful uplift projects.
The closest thing to a direct descendant of humankind are the "Gods," beings of such advanced technological development (both in tools and in the shaping and nature of their bodies) that they lead a strange, aloof, and (to the "humans") ineffable sybaritic existence, rarely interacting with their presumed progeny who recapitulate human history before them.
Into this milieu comes Sheen, a completely mysterious creature of unknown motive or provenance, who by means of perfect telepathy and persuasion ensnares the minds and wills of intelligent beings. It is in effect a living, cognizant Land of the Lotus Eaters, and it is one by one convincing the creatures of Earth to surrender to it.
All of this makes for an interesting setting, but the novel itself is less interested in the hows and whys of its setting and characters than in using them as avenues to explore philosophy and politics. Of course, much (if not most) SF, especially in the 60s and 70s, does precisely this, but in A Billion Days of Earth Ms. Persichia does it so well and so vividly that it stands out as a particularly deft exploration of things such as free will, desire and need, identity both personal and social, and existentialism.
In the "About the Author" blurb in the back of my '70s paperback edition, it says that Ms Piserchia first discovered science fiction literature in her adulthood as a graduate student, which made her approach make much more sense to me: rather than feel any sentimental attachment to the "gee whiz" element that can so enthrall a young SF reader, she instead feels free to jump right into the deep end, utilizing the setting and narrative freedom of the genre without feeling the need to "gee whiz" so much.
A Billion Days of Earth certainly isn't for everyone, but if your bag is philosophical science fiction (or philosophical fiction of any stripe, for that matter), there is a great deal to chew on and enjoy.
Read information about the authorAlso wrote under the psudonym Curt Selby.
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