(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 entire section is 508 words.)