A science fiction novel about the grass we tread upon. When an unscrupulous salesman sprays a dying suburban Los Angeles lawn with an untested chemical spray, it is the beginning of the end of the world. The grass begins to grow uncontrollably and riotously, ten feet height, thick, tough, impenetrable, gradually engulfing Los Angeles, then California... After reading this novel, you will never view your lawn in the same way.
was probably not a Los Angeles street I hadnt covered at some time--magazines, vacuums, old gold, nearnylons--and I must have been aware of green spaces before most of the houses, but now for the first time I saw lawns. Neat, sharply confined, smoothshaven lawns. Sagging, slipping, eager-to-keep-up-appearances but fighting-a-losing-game lawns. Ragged, weedy, dissolute lawns. Halfbare, repulsively crippled, hummocky lawns. Bright lawns, insistent on former respectability and trimness; yellow and gray lawns, touched with the craziness of age, quite beyond all interest in looks, content to doze easily in the sun. If Miss Francis' mixture was on the upandup and she hadnt introduced a perfectly unreasonable condition--why, I couldnt miss.
On the other hand, I thought suddenly, I'm the salesman, not she. It was up to me as a practical man to determine where and how I could sell to the best advantage. With sudden resolution I walked over a twinkling greensward and rang the bell.
"Good afternoon, madam
One for the Luddites and Greens: This quintessential example of anti-science science fiction comes complete with mad scientist -- in this case a woman, and therefore, of course, a frump -- who lets an incompletely tested, experimental compound escape into the world with, naturally, devastating results.
While the author perhaps thought he was making an anti-nuclear statement in the wake of Hiroshima, today's reader will likely focus on the current hot-button issue, genetic modification of plants. Along with science and war, the novel also takes sardonic potshots at women, democracy, bureaucracy, journalism, the arts, religion, capitalism and modern civilization generally.
It's rather long and gets tedious in parts, but lots of it is pretty funny, if you aren't bothered by the underlying message: Man shouldn't mess with nature.
This would have been more fun had there not been endless pages of description that did not add to anything. It was a really fun idea; but too much flake.