Moderan by David R. Bunch
Trade Paperback – New York Review of Books – Sep 2018 – 330 pages
Welcome to Moderan, world of the future. Here perpetual war is waged by furious masters fighting from Strongholds well stocked with “arsenals of fear,” earth is covered with vast sheets of plastic, and humans vie to replace more and more of their own “soft parts” with steel machinery. What need is there for nature when trees and flowers can be pushed up through holes in the plastic? Who requires human companionship when new-metal mistresses can be ordered from the shop? But even a Stronghold master can doubt the catechism of Moderan. Wanderers, poets, and his own children pay visits, proving that another world is possible.
“The effect is as if Whitman and Nietzsche had collaborated,” Brian Aldiss wrote of David R. Bunch’s stories. Originally published in science-fiction magazines in the 1960s and ’70s and passionately sought by collectors, the stories have not been available in a single volume for nearly fifty years, and this new edition of Moderan will include ten previously-uncollected stories. Like Anthony Burgess in A Clockwork Orange, and borrowing from the Bible and the language of advertising, Bunch coined a mind-bending new vocabulary. His intent was not to divert readers from the horrors of modernity but to make them face it squarely.