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HARM
     

HARM

by Brian W. Aldiss
 

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From one of science fiction’s greatest living writers comes an unforgettable near-future novel in the hortatory tradition of Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451, Orwell’s 1984, and Dick’s A Scanner Darkly. Both a searing indictment of a fear-drenched political climate and a visionary allegory that shines a piercing light on timeless human verities, HARM

Overview

From one of science fiction’s greatest living writers comes an unforgettable near-future novel in the hortatory tradition of Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451, Orwell’s 1984, and Dick’s A Scanner Darkly. Both a searing indictment of a fear-drenched political climate and a visionary allegory that shines a piercing light on timeless human verities, HARM is a powerfully compact masterwork that is sure to be one of the most passionately discussed books of the year.

The time is today or tomorrow–or perhaps the day after tomorrow. Paul Fadhil Abbas Ali, a young British citizen of Muslim descent, has written a satirical novel in which two characters joke about the assassination of the prime minister. Arrested by agents of HARM–the Hostile Activities Research Ministry–Paul is thrown into a nameless Abu Ghraib-like prison, possibly located in Syria, where he is held incommunicado and brutally interrogated by jailers to whom his Muslim heritage is itself a crime meriting the harshest punishment. Under this sadistic regime, Paul’s personality begins to show signs of radical fragmentation. . . .

On the remote planet of Stygia, a man named Fremant, haunted by memories of torture that seem drawn from Paul’s mind, is one of a small group of colonists struggling for survival on a harsh but weirdly beautiful world whose dominant life-forms are insects. The sole humanoid race on the planet has been hunted to extinction by the human settlers, whose long journey to Stygia has left them unable to understand their own history and technology.

Thrown back to a more primitive state, they seem destined to repeat all the sins of the world they fled to Stygia to escape.

Is Paul dreaming Fremant as a way of escaping the horrors of his imprisonment? Or is there a stronger–and far stranger–connection between the two men, whose very different circumstances begin to take on uncanny parallels?

As aspects of their identities blur and, finally, merge, astonishing answers take shape–and profound new questions arise.


From the Hardcover edition.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780345500373
Publisher:
Random House Publishing Group
Publication date:
05/29/2007
Sold by:
Random House
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
240
Sales rank:
68,383
File size:
327 KB

Meet the Author

Brian W. Aldiss served in the Royal Signal Corps between 1943 and 1947, then worked as a bookseller and as the literary editor of the Oxford Mail before turning to writing full-time. He is the author of the autobiography Bury My Heart at W. H. Smith’s, and his many prize-winning novels include Hothouse, which won the Hugo Award, The Saliva Tree, which received the Nebula Award, and Helliconia Spring and its sequels. Several of his books and stories, including Frankenstein Unbound and Brothers of the Head, have been adapted for the screen. His story “Supertoys Last All Summer Long” was adapted into Artificial Intelligence, a film initially conceived by Stanley Kubrick and ultimately directed by Steven Spielberg.


From the Hardcover edition.

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