Logan’s Run by William F Nolan and George Clayton Johnson
Published: 1967 (my copy printed 1976, with the movie poster as the cover!)
Publisher: Bantam Books
Time to completion: I don’t even know. I was reading it at the same time as ten other books. 3 days. Completely made up number.
Rating: 7.5 red flowers out of ten
Logan’s Run is a science fiction novel set in the 23rd century that takes on one of the most popular problems in sci fi: population control. The short version is it was decided post-revolution that in order to make sure there was enough to go around, that it was fair, and that things didn’t get to insane, everyone gets to live to the ripe old age of…21! When you’re a mini you get a crystal flower implanted in your hand (it’s red) and when it starts blinking, you’re on Lastday, and then when it turns black you turn yourself into a Sleep Center, and well, die. If you don’t turn yourself in, then you get chased. And it isn’t pleasant.
Logan is a Sandman- he works for the DS (Deep Sleep) center. He chases Runners and is a fine, upstanding citizen all in all. But, he’s getting on in age, and any day now he’s going to be on Lastday. So as he gets there, he decides that to be even more of an upstanding citizen, he’s going to chase after Sanctuary and try to bring it down. Every population control sci fi book has a Sanctuary equivalent- where the outcasts or renegades go to buck the system. To find Sanctuary in this version, one must go through all this crazy to find your way there. I can’t really say more because that’s like…the book.
I liked this one! I mean, it was a really typical 1960s sci fi in that Logan is pretty he-man like and our lady love is pretty featureless, but it isn’t really about her, it’s about Logan, so forgiven/forgotten. I really like books that explain the “why” of the world, and this one hits closer to home because the revolution that caused this new social system was brought on by young people fed up with the shit being to them by their elders, and one night young people under the age of 18 set Washington D.C. on fire and brought down the government. I’m not saying violent revolution is the way to go, but a youth rebellion (a successful one) is an interesting thought. Minus points because it the writing was sometimes a tad too much disjointed for me, but it is clearly the style of the book, so I can’t fault it too much. It was slightly creepy to read about a society where I’d be dead already. Normally when I put myself in the book, I get to live. (I mean, of course I always make it so that I live, but I try to do it by the rules- I almost always win because I’m young and female, and that’s always needed at some point in a sci fi book, but there’s no getting around that stupid black crystal flower! I’d definitely be dead already.)
This one was recommended to me by a friend, and I tracked it down but had to give it to the roomie to hold until the semester was over- worth the wait! I’m glad I read it, and you should go read it too!
At 9.3o P.M. Common Standard Time, on Tuesday, March 3, in the year 2000, a seventeen-year-old from Charleston, Missouri, named Tommy Lee Congdon, was holding forth outside the Sheraton Bar. With firebrand intensity he called upon his youthful listeners to follow him in a march on the White House.
“If you wanta march, why don’t you damn fool kids march home to bed?” demanded a paunchy, middle-aged heckler whose name is unrecorded.
It was the wrong place, the wrong time and the wrong mode of expression. Words and blows were heatedly exchanged. The Little War had begun. By morning, half of Washington was in flames.
Note: there’s a movie! I’m going to watch it. It’s probably going to be awful and I’ll love every moment. Also, there are two sequels and a novelette that was published as an e-book according to Wikipedia. Also, there’s supposed to be a remake of the movie! But it’s been in the works for 20 years, no joke. Currently Ryan Gosling is attached to it. And that would be awesome.
Holy cow! I almost forgot to mention my favorite part: the dedication. I honestly cried when I read it, and while it’s too long to reproduce in its entirety right here, it’s worth a highlights reel. So here it is.
TO ALL THE WILD FRIENDS WE GREW UP WITH- and who were with us when we wrote this book:
To Frankenstein and Mickey Mouse
To The Iliad and the Odyssey, Superman and The Green Hornet
To Mr. Hyde and The Phantom of The Opera
To Rhett Butler and Jiminy Cricket
To The Man in the Iron Mask
To Flash Gordon, Prince Valiant, Krazy Kat, and The Dance of the Dead
To the Unicorn in the Garden
To Beauty and the Beast
To The Beanstalk
To The Day the Earth Stood Still
To The Hound of the Baskervilles and The Ship of Ishtar
To Astounding, Amazing, Fantastic, Startling, Unknown, Galaxy, Weird Tales, Planet Stories, Black Mask, and The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction
To Rhysling, Blind Singer of the Spaceways
AND, WITH LOVE
To The Green Hills of Earth
[AMC: there are way more, but these are my favs, for one reason or another. I hope you understand all the references, especially the last two. If you’re foggy on those, let me know and I will lead you out of the darkness and into the light. Those were really what made me cry.]