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Short Book Review – John Boyd – The Pollinators of Eden

So coming from a mild infatuation with one of John Boyd’s other books “The Last Starship from Earth”, read many years ago, having named parts of an old album based on concepts and characters from that book, and still more or less vivid in my mind… I found that “Pollinators Of Eden” followed a template found in the other – the book was amusing enough and the plot unexpected towards the end.

The story is set 200 years into the future, the main protagonist is a department head at NASA’s biological department.. Her fiancé sends tulips from another planet for her to study. The majority of the book is interoffice/department politics – turning at the end into a play of 60s counterculture flower power symbols including the frigid protagonist being institutionalized and labelled a nympho maniac after visiting the planet the tulips came from. The book an amusing couple of hours, is almost entirely apart from entertainment a waste of time. Being written in the 60’s, I can imagine that the times influenced the book, and I guess the main point is that even a “Straight” suit type can be turned into a hip grinding nympho hippie, with exposure to “Plants”.

This is a cute book, meant purely for entertainment, perhaps the initial office politics serve some purpose into how government / agencies function on an interpersonal level with people positioning themselves into hierarchical power plays… but there does not seem to be any hidden messages, unlike “The Last Starship from Earth”, although I may hold too much affection for that book.. Making an impact on me around some tough life occurrences, and my own infatuation with a lovely lady at the time.. much like the hero of that story. Simply put it may have felt at the time that I had a lot in common, with the main character in that book.

Would I recommend reading “the Pollinators or Eden”, sure if you are after an escape into a well told story for a few hours, if you are looking for intellectual content, I would avoid it and look for something a little more though provoking like “Starship troopers” from the same decade. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed the read but was hoping for some intellectual stimulation, which I did not find in this book.

Until the next book 🙂

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