science fiction and compost

Hothouse, by Brian Aldiss, is an extraordinary book. It is science fiction, set on earth in a far distant future – somewhen.

The earth has stopped turning on its axis. Human and animal life has been eclipsed by insects and plants, many of which have become large and dangerous.

‘It’s the only science-fiction novel I can think of that celebrates the process of composting. Things grow and die and rot and new things grow. Death is frequent and capricious and usually unmourned. Death and rebirth are constant.’ (Neil Gaiman introducing the Penguin edition)

Whether human or animal or insect or vegetable or any combination of the four, dying is referred to as going to the green. It’s no tragedy, it’s the Way.

It is certainly the Way in my garden.


  1. Hi Catmint~~ It sounds like an interesting read although the idea of bugs being bigger than me is a wee bit frightening. I think they're too big now! A creative author for sure.

  2. I've read some Aldiss but not that one. Science fiction and composting - what a combination!

  3. Hi Catmint,

    There is an award for you on my blog. I hope that you will accept it but I won't be offended if you don't. You may have already received it, but you have been so supportive and I wanted you to know that I really appreciate it.

  4. sure has an interesting title. Now that you mention it, composting is an awesome subject for a sci fi book.

  5. Thanks for the recommendation -- we have a few scifi fans at our house, and Christmas is coming.

  6. So it is not the pearly gates any more, going to the "green" does not sound to bad, as I am a dedicated "composter"! I enjoy your posts.

  7. Hi Catmint, Even if I don't read the book, I appreciate the sentiment that's expressed with regard to death and rebirth. Going the green sounds as though there's some compost in the garden at work! Have a great weekend! :-)

  8. Grace, yes - definitely a wee bit frightening!!!!

    Easy - Aldiss is a great writer and I think this is one of his best.

    AZ, thanks for the award.

    Wendy, Helen, Titania and Shady, what is really interesting I think in this book is the place of human beings in his world. They're not dominant like we have been over nature, they're just part of it.

    Thanks for the comments,
    Cheers, catmint


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