Download Half Past Human Study Guide

Subscribe Now

Half Past Human Analysis

(Critical Survey of Science Fiction and Fantasy)

As of 1995, Half Past Human and The Godwhale were T. J. Bass’s only novels in the field of science fiction. Both received generally favorable reviews from critics. These two novels present a dark future in which the descendants of humanity live in a society that controls every aspect of their lives. There is little individual freedom, and anyone who attempts to deviate from the strictures of the Big ES must either be destroyed or flee to the outside world. In the midst of this dark future, Bass shows that there is hope; some individuals rebel and break free of the Big ES. These humans are willing to depend on their own abilities rather than on machines in their efforts to be free of a repressive society.

Bass’s presentation of the Big Earth Society is a devastating condemnation of civilizations that attempt to stifle individual freedom. There appear to be certain benefits for citizens who live in the Big ES, such as having all their needs met, from living quarters to food. Under this pleasant surface, Bass reveals a hideous society. The Big ES destroys children for being born at the wrong time or because they may be deformed. There is no individual freedom because the Big ES does not allow its citizens to leave their regimented roles. It attempts to destroy those who rebel against its control. Furthermore, in this apparently perfect society, suicide and drug use are rampant, as seen in Half Past Human. Those conditions and the overcrowding evident in The Godwhale reveal the Big ESs hideous nature.

Along with his condemnation of this regimented society, Bass uses his novels to show the importance of individual freedom to human civilization. The society of the Big ES is stagnant and will never grow beyond its regimented form. There will be few, if any, new discoveries or attempts to explore space. Certain individuals refuse to live under this repressive regime. The efforts of Tinker, Mu Ren, Moses Eppendorff, Big Har, ARNOLD, and...

(The entire section is 508 words.)