Saturday, November 21, 2015

Cataclysm by Don Pendleton

Cataclysm: The Day the World Died aka Cataclysm
by Don Pendleton
1969 Bee-Line Books

Don Pendleton is best known for starting the Executioner series, but he also wrote weird, conceptual science fiction.  And smutty private detectives, but I haven't found any of that yet.

The world is falling apart from social decay and natural disasters, and a handful of scientists try to find an answer for humanity's survival.

The story jumps forward a few years at a time, giving a quick page wrap up of all the disasters that happened in the meantime.  These are the scenes I wanted to see, but instead we mostly get folks talking like a 60s British sci-fi movie.

Cataclysm is not so much 70s disaster movie as it is 70s pop futurism.  There's weird pseudo-science (without society, humans physically revert down the path of evolution in one generation), and sex.  Lots of sex.  Not much actual sex scenes, but talking about sex.  The scientists are polyamorous, and survivors from the wild are treated with sex therapy to heal them.

The frustrating thing is that there is all kinds of crazy stuff going on somewhere else, over there, while we hear a bunch of scientists just kind of chat.  Near the end we actually get an action scene, as a man survives a massive earthquake while in a protective pod, but I could have used a lot more of this.

Interestingly, Joseph Rosenberger wrote some "non-fiction" about various Doomsday scenarios for Fate magazine.

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