Thursday, 25 October 2012

The Night of the Long Knives by Fritz Leiber

Official Blurb

"I was one hundred miles from Nowhere—and I mean that literally—when I spotted this girl out of the corner of my eye. I'd been keeping an extra lookout because I still expected the other undead bugger left over from the murder party at Nowhere to be stalking me." In a Post apocalyptic world, the few people left must be strong. And must not hesitate to kill. Of course, killing another Deathlander was one of the chief pleasures and urges of all the solitary wanders in this vast wasteland. Kill and kill again. But this other was a girl and that brought up the second great urge: sex. Which was it to be today? Perhaps both?

My Review

This is a short Sci Fi story in the classic style.  It's suprised me.  Next to nothing really happens and yet I found myself hooked.

The whole story is more or less a monologue with the odd bit of conversation thrown in. The protagonist lays out the events and the describes everything as the story goes along, all from the first person perspective, and I found it absorbing from the outset.  Radioactive dust clouds, murdering people for a living and living on the edge of survival all make for a quite unusual playground.

Now I said that next to nothing happens, physically that is.  The characters talk, and the protagonist "thinks" to us, and boy does he think a lot of things.  We get to understand the dangers motivations and drives of the lead character as he considers almost every option or possible meaning behinds everyone's smallest actions.

If you want a lot of action in your Sci Fi, this book isn't for you, if you're happy to hear what the protagonist is thinking in great detail you'll like this.  As to the reader, he comes at the book in an upbeat almost jovial style. During the first chapter I found that a little jarring, the upbeat tones versus the rather gritty content, but I soon got over that and enjoyed the book.

Reading 2/3
Production 2/3
Story 2/3

Total Score 6/9

Download it from the Librivox
Listen to the first part