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Biased and superficial Science Fiction reviews

A Rose For Armageddon

Copyright 1982 by Hilbert Schenck

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SOJALS rating:     
one SOJALS point one SOJALS point no SOJALS point no SOJALS point no SOJALS point    Mediocre (2/5)

I first read this in 1984.

Dr Elsa Adams and Dr Jake Stinson, professors of archaeology and computer science, have developed a new discipline they've called morphological archaeology. It is proving powerful and insightful. They've applied its disciplines on-site at Hawkins Island, off the coast of New England. They intend to reveal - in incredible detail - the history of ex-slave Jonas Hawkins who once made himself a rich man upon that island.

Dr Elsa Adams is an unattractive, dumpy, overly-strict spinster in her sixties. On the outside she is a harridan, a terror to the students and fellow faculty, but inside she's passionate woman, obsessed with her oddly-unclear recall of when she lost her virginity.

Sadly, in the world outside morphological archaeology, all is far from well. Something like a hostility virus is sweeping the world. Even in the quiet New England university, professors on picket lines are fighting with police. People are consumed with the urge to let everyone know just how they really feel about them. Politeness vaporises and civilisation is evaporating alongside it.

A memorable story, emotionally rich but lightweight on the science, It is still a surprisingly enjoyable read. It's one of those classic SF end-of-the-world ghost stories. I'm not quite sure that all the story threads are neatly ravelled, but it ends with a pretty satisfying denouement.

Loaded on the 6th July 2009.
Cover of A Rose For Armageddon