One reviewer has compared Lighthouse Island to Terry Gilliam’s Brazil. I like it, I’ll go for it. Also the labels ‘retro-futurism’ and ‘sci-fi noir’.
I could watch Gilliam’s Time Bandits several times a week.
A fun book tour to San Antonio and Houston and Katy (which is a suburb of Houston, although Houston’s suburbs have now spread beyond imagination). My escort, the charming and helpful Mary Ann Knoweth said ‘I tell people that this out here was once all farmland and they look at me as if I were crazy or I were 200 years old’. The cities spread and spread and spread.
It was farmland — ricelands, grazing lands. Now all subdivisions and big-box stores, corporate headquarters for BP and Exxon etc. etc. Far away on the shores of the Gulf of Mexico, there are one or two lighthouses.
The also kind and also helpful publicity guy at Harper-Collins, Ben Bruton, booked me into places that would take pets so Rita got to come with me. She was in pet heaven.
This is one of the classics of post-apocalypse novels, published in 1952 and despite the truly horrible cover art, it is a great read. It has an unsympathetic main character, and that is also unusual for the time and also because it works. Unsympathetic in terms of ‘hardbitten’ and looking out for Number One first last and always. It’s an action narrative, and speeds along without a pause for internal dialogue or flashbacks. You never even find out where the guy is from.
Many of the old post-apocalypse novels are also fascinating because they describe contemporary life (from the 50’s, 60’s, 70’s) in detail. Amazing how things have changed. None of them anticipate cell phones or the Internet. Exception being Jack Vance.