Book Reviews of Beasts

Author: John Crowley
ISBN-13: 9780553111026
ISBN-10: 0553111027
Publication Date: 1978
  • Currently 5/5 Stars.

5 stars, based on 1 rating
Publisher: Bantam Books
Book Type: Paperback
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2 Book Reviews submitted by our Members...sorted by voted most helpful

reviewed Beasts on
Half-human outlaws of a savage future.

America has been destroyed by civil was. Violent bands of barbarians and anarchists battle agents from the Union for Social Engineering, who plan to sieze total control. But they are all united by their fierce hatred of the leos.

Every hand is raised against the half-human, half-animal mutants who roam the desolate frontior.

The lost, predatory creatures men call BEASTS
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Lions and foxes and humans - Oh my!
This is an early effort by Crowley and is quite entertaining. Quite obviously set in a post some catastrophe in North America, Crowley pits the genetically mixed species + "good guys" against the Union for Social Engineering.

That's probably all you need to know about the antagonists. The story is somewhat predictable but is told simply and compassionately. This is recommended for collectors of Crowley and others that like forerunners (1976) of many of today's popular themes.

Aesop rides again.
Crowley proposes a strange universe to develop a new Aesopian world.

USA has disintegrated in a bunch of minor Autonomies and City States competing one with each other in an endless struggle. There is a feeble nominal Federal Government and a new emerging Union for Social Engineering trying to gain political control. In some earlier stage, scientists had done some bio-engineering experiments producing some hybrid new species: the Leos grown from the improbable combination of human and lion cells. There are also other strange specimens: a fox-man, a dog with some undetected talents and, of course, lots of human characters, with their own goals and needs.

Combining all these elements, Crowley structures a very interesting novel. The Beasts traits, (fox's cunning, lion's braveness and endurance, dog's fidelity and self sacrifice) are potentiated by the mixture with human traits. Humans in their turn had been subject to over stressing situations in a changing background. So the interactions between different characters are always open to collisions due to so different natures and interests, the power shifting from one group to the other. At the same time all of them are also approaching to each other, seducing and being seduced, in a continuous dance in a spiral course.

There are some reminiscences and resonance from Aesop fables and his wise animals proposing intelligent lessons to humankind.
This is a book to be tasted as a rare dish by sophisticated readers.
Reviewed by Max Yofre.
Werid look at future furries
The 20th century's idle genetic experiments have created a hostile second race - human/lion hybrids known as 'leos' (cleche, but it works ^_^). And in the wake of civil wars, the American government has collasped, leaving its successor the Union for Social Engineering - a fanatical group struggling to bring together the splintered shards of government and bring the leos back under man's dominion. A very hard book to understand, with both its futrisitic feel and, ironically, laughable scenes that flaunt their datedness. Records? TV stations that sign off? Reynard, the sole human/fox hybrid in the story, having a clone that is EXACTLY the same as him (Then again, they were naive back then). However, the story does have some good adventure scenes and fasinating characters, from Painter the leo to Sweets, the dog with human intelligence. :-)
A shocking vision of the future involving half human,half lion mutants,one of them, Painter,is one of the main characters in this novel.