The Plot

(Critical Survey of Science Fiction and Fantasy)

T. J. Bass’s Half Past Human and The Godwhale tell the story of humanitys struggle to survive in a world controlled by the regimented Big Earth Society, known as the Big ES or the Hive. The citizens of the Big ES are the weak descendants of humanity, known as Nebishes. Most of these beings cannot stand exposure to the sun and must live in underground cities. In both novels, a group of people who are genetically closer to humanity than the Nebishes rebel against the structured society of the Big ES. The rebels engage in a desperate struggle for survival and eventually succeed in gaining their independence. Half Past Human concludes with the humans who have rebelled being transported to a new world on a ship controlled by a computer known as Olga. In The Godwhale, the rebels succeed in taking control of the ocean and force the Hive to negotiate with them in order to ensure its continued survival.

Half Past Human begins with the discovery of Toothpick, a small robot known as a cyber, by Moon and Dan, an ancient man and dog, in the mountains. Moon agrees to take Toothpick with him when the cyber promises that it will help him and Dan find new teeth. Moon, Dan, and Toothpick eventually take shelter with a group of human outcasts, known as buckeyes, in the mountain village of Mount Tabulum.

Meanwhile, in the Hive, a Nebish who is a mechanical expert, Tinker, receives an order from the Big ES that he should mate. He meets a woman named Mu Ren, and they eventually have a child. Their son is declared to be an unauthorized child because of a prior miscarriage. Because the child is unauthorized, the Big ES eventually will put him to death. The threat to their child causes Tinker and Mu Ren to flee the Hive and take their chances in the hostile environment of the surface. Tinker and his family also find shelter in Mount Tabulum.

The Big ES begins a concentrated effort to eliminate the buckeyes and hunt down those who escaped the Hive. During the attempts to kill the buckeyes, one of the Nebishes, Moses Eppendorff, rebels...

(The entire section is 856 words.)