Tuesday, March 29, 2005

What the Cat Told Me: Nicholas Fisk, On the Flip Side (Harmondsworth, Mdx: Puffin, 1983)

Another by Nicholas Fisk.

Lettice can speak with animals. If she looks into their eyes she can see images that tell her things, and what they tell her is that the world is threatened by Blobs.

Fisk's On the Flip Side is a humorous horror story in which the mad scientist cracks jokes but is a genius, television produces "Rasters", waves which produce the blobs which -- first unthinkingly, then with malevolence--attack animals and humans.

What makes the story interesting--and it took me three goes to get past the first chapter--is that Lettice isn't very nice and is not in the least bit redeemed by the world's eventual realisation that she is telling the truth (she hates it in fact) and that the animals and humans eventually flee Earth for a Victorian analogue where they forget their old world almost totally.

It's an odd book--sf-horror with a rite of passage in which the moment of passage brings with it not growth but forgetfulness.


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