In a world where the human population has suffered devastating losses, a handful of survivors cling to what passes for life in a postapocalyptic, dying landscape. A world where humans wander, drugged and lulled by electronic bliss. A dying world of no children and no art, where reading is forbidden. And a strange love triangle: Spofforth, who runs the world, the most perfect machine ever created, whose only wish is to die; and Paul and Mary Lou, a man and a woman whose passion for each other is the only hope for the future of human beings on Earth.
An elegiac dystopia of mankind coming to terms with its own imminent extinction, Mockingbird was nominated for a Nebula Award for Best Novel.
©2014 Walter Tevis (P)2016 Tantor
"Mockingbird will become one of those books that coming generations will periodically rediscover with wonder and delight." (The Washington Post)
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This is a highly creative, original, and imaginative work. It kept me thoroughly engaged throughout. The only thing that bugged me a little was his use of marijuana as a mind numbing drug used to placate the populous. I don't know if Walter Tevis lived through the late 60s and early 70s, but the drug's use hardly numbed the minds of its users, rather along with LSD, it spurred revolution in the streets and an evolution of art and music. He should have done a little self experimentation if nothing else. However, other than this forgivable mistake, the story and characters will remain with me for a very long time.
This book is about a species going out not with a bang but with a whimper. With infertility, drug use, self-absorption, and obsession with inwardness.
If you took today's attitudes with their trigger warnings and the emerging right to not be offended, you could build the foundation for Tevis's future.
"overlooked apocalyptic masterpiece"
I have been an admitted Tevis fan since Man Who Fell, and Queen's Gambit (not available here yet) but Man Who Fell and Mockingbird are incredible. These 2 are so full of poetry and symbolism that I've taken extensive notes toward writing a paper on them some day in an attempt to get their recognition. Mockingbird was apparently up for a Nebula for best novel and I'm curious as to what beat it. Everything is Tevis' best here: Wasteland imagery; fertility imagery; mechanization needed for human advancement yet in conflict with survival; systems malfunctioning a bit like Pynchon; and a heavy dose of the Fahrenheit 451 loss of literacy and its value. (you could easily go to this after 451 as a type of thematic sequel) this is my 3rd time with this one (read twice and listened to once) and I keep finding new connections like all the mentions of King Kong which sound odd but if you think about it in connection with the story, it brings up some interesting ideas/questions. Tevis deserves to be taught in college, at least Man & Mockingbird, almost every page has some key image or symbol for you to ponder after the story is done.
451; Mockingbird; Canticle for L; Man Who Fell; Childhood's End all chock full of ideas and symbolism if you want to look, if not, great stories anyway.
I was on the fence for the first few chapters but at some point I don't know exactly when it sucked me in and I could stop listening. Great book and story. I hope Tevis is working on a sequel
What a surprisingly good book. It nearly seems like a sequel to "Brave New World" as to how humanity destroys itself. Highly recommend it.
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