Half Past Human - T.J. Bass

I began reading this and quickly gave it up; so fair warning, anything I say below may be unfair, as it's based on 70-odd pages at the beginning and end of the book.

This book is written as a protest against the hyper-organization and hyper-regulation of "civilization"; at the end, one character says fervently that even if it was necessary for survival, civilization would be too high a price to pay. The entire Earth has been turned into an underground Hive-society, run by "the Big ES", which keeps its three-toed citizens' soft, sun-sensitive bodies sheltered, in return dictating their activities, thoughts, and reproduction; the surface is all gardens, inhabited by robots and by five-toed "evolutionary throwbacks" (plenty of misunderstood genetics in this story) who live a "neolithic" life and are bloodily hunted. The one possible originality of this story, which has otherwise been done over and over by science fiction writers of the 50s, 60s, and 70s, is firstly the prominence given to pregnancy and birth (though not well-written), and secondly the fact that it is stated that one way the Big ES keeps Hive people tame is for them to be neuter, and they are not really aware of their surroundings until they are made reproductively active by being "polarized" with hormones, which makes them more enterprising (at least the males).

The book is written in short sentences, with few embellishments except for throwing in 2-dollar words the author doesn't always use correctly. It cuts quickly from scene to scene, switching between characters; but actually there aren't characters so much as what I might call "Representative Social Components" (which sounds like Hive-speak). This goes double for any females, who are little more than sexual attractants and wombs. All in all, the concept is so-so, the plot is passable, and the writing is pretty ham-handed.