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Word Count: 532
I first read The Chrysalids when I was 16 would have done so a lot sooner given the chance but my mother would not let me up till then She thought it might be too old for me Well it was an unforgettable treat for me when I did That is the strange thing about certain kinds of science fiction - and I do not by that mean the spaghetti gung-ho kind of read I mean the ones which speculate most about where human beings are going Certain kinds of SF seem to address certain areas of interest of mine so keenly it is almost as if the writer were directly addressing a fellow Chrysalid Cuckoo or a Chocky Other writers whom I admire for similar reasons include Philip K Dick Phyliss Gottlieb JG Ballard Robert Silverberg and Michael Moorcock to name just a few There is the pessimism about where technology is heading the fascination of following a world whilst futuristic has been rendered archaic by its desruction of an inadequate race gone insane as the Sealand character so eloquently puts it as she views a ruined Northern Hemisphere from the safety of her cockpit The way Uncle Axel depicts the horror of the Badlands where genetic mutations in a poisoned world have gone wild is particularly evocative Brian Aldiss would no doubt sympathise it is all pretty gothic He did something similar in his own novel Greybeard of course I should think that current concerns about the prosecution of anything different is all too topical currently too human nature does not change that much after all as any child with either physical or mental handicaps can surely testify through ensuing generations of bullying at school Did Wyndham have a close relative with Asgergers for example But The Chrysalids can also work nicely as Gnostic parable too it could be read as a handbook of rebellion for all those
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