BONUS AUDIO: In an exclusive introduction, evolutionary biologist and best-selling author Richard Dawkins explains why, "of all the novels I have ever read, this is, perhaps, the one that I find myself describing to others more often than any other".
©1961 Daniel F. Galouye; (P)2009 Audible, Inc.
I like Jack Reacher style characters regardless of setting. Put them in outer space, in modern America, in a military setting, on an alien planet... no worries. Book has non moralistic vigilante-justice? Sign me up! (oh, I read urban fantasy, soft and hard sci-fi, trashy vampire and zombie novels too)
Not only is this a very well imagined world where nobody can see - it is a world where humans have lost any understanding of sight; even the verb "to see" is lost to language.
While the premise might be a bit on the edge of believability (how many generations, really, would it take for humans to forget they ever could see?), the author is very consistent - there are no "slip ups" in referencing any aspect of sight.
The book has a philosophical look at light versus darkness (in both a literal sense and in a spiritual one) and this is also quite well-done: it doesn't feel at all patronizing or moralizing.
The story is perhaps a bit "dry" and involves a lot of rushing around, and the interpersonal relationships seem a bit contrived, but is very interesting in the different perspective it provides, more than for its storyline.
The narration is very good. (I skipped the ~7 minute introduction by Dawkins, however, because it was rather boring and not very well spoken.)
Although written in the 60s this book has a plausible branch of truth to it. The book was not the usual dribble of easily guessable plot twists and held my attention for the most part. I rate it 4 for the content and a 3 for ease of reading (I was bored on occasion).
I wouldn't have even finished this book if it weren't for Richard Dawkins' recommendation. It's from 1961 and reads like one of those pulp sci-fi novels of that era where the writer thinks up a good gimmick (in this case, a world without light) and then inhabits it with cardboard characters, slight sense of place and regular action that has no tension. Gimmicky, that's the word that comes to mind - with silly uses of language that hammer us over the head - people curse with the word "Radiation!" and whenever one of us might shout "Oh God!", the characters instead say "Oh Light!" There are so many interesting things that could've been done with the mechanics of a world without light but the author doesn't even explain how they get their vitamin D and what the livestock live on. No one ever goes to the bathroom in the entire book -- yet they live in enclosed caves where the stench from open pit latrines would be overwhelming. Even the novel's, last sentence is weak. The concept that so intrigued Dawkins is not fleshed out and could've been better told in a short story. The previous reviewer said he was bored at times but gave it four stars. I was bored most of the time, except at the end when (not a spoiler) there's discussion of how people adjust to encountering light. One star.
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