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Monday, March 11, 2019

Logan's Run (Science Fiction)

by William F. Nolan & George Clayton Johnson. (Foreword by Daniel H. Johnson)

Publisher:  Vintage; reprint (July 14, 2015)

Softcover, 168 pages 

“And he was twenty-one. Suddenly, twenty-one! And his palmflower was blinking and he was high in the threemile complex, hanging by one hand from the ledge, with Lilith laughing above him and he was in Arcade on the table with the scalpels slicing down on him and he was in the narrow corridor with Doc charging, popsicle raised, and he was on the age warped platform under Cathedral with the cubs, a blurred bee-drone, rushing in and the drugpad shimmering at his face and he was in brined submarine darkness in the heart of Molly as the walls quaked…”
I have to begin with this, the book and the film of Logan’s Run are two totally different animals. In fact they are barely similar in any way whatsoever. It’s incredible to believe how a film with such classic and iconic visuals and ideas, came from source material that had none of them and was a pretty tepid and nearly forgettable sci-fi thriller. I was going to try and stay away from discussing the film and focus on the book, but I’m finding that impossible because, even as crazy as it was, the film had almost a logical progression behind it. As Logan ran, he learned the truth behind his world that he had never questioned before, and you learned with him. Not so much here as the character learns very little.
Sequel novel to Logan's Run 

So I will give a brief way in which the two versions of Logan’s Run are different. First of all, the setting is not inside a giant self-contained bubble city run by a computer. It is the entire country, possibly the whole world, run by the computer. It’s as if the computer revolution happened and mankind lost, but is unaware of being the loser. In the film, they have no sense of history and no idea why things are as they are. In the book, history is well known and still celebrated. It was simply that there were too many people so they began to voluntarily put themselves to “sleep”. The entire world is connected by a series of underground high-speed tubes and underwater cities.
In the novel, a person is able to live until they are twenty one and then they must voluntarily step up for euthanasia. This is briefly touched on as being due to a population explosion. The author assumed the baby boomers would keep up the trend and so would their children, making a cutoff age necessary. And again, this is across the entire world controlled by a computer in North Dakota called the Thinker. There is no false hope of “renewal” as in the film, where a fake attempt at gaining more life was dangled to people to help them accept their fate. People just stepped up and did what they were told.
Which makes me wonder, without a fake, almost religious hope, why wouldn’t everybody run? That’s what happens with Logan. He isn’t sent on some secret mission by the Thinker. He reaches his Lastday and says, “I’m outta here!” He stumbles on the idea of sanctuary through the normal course of his duties and heads for it in a series of short and dull adventures.
1980s comic based on the sequel

While the old man dwelling in the ruins of America’s capital surrounded by cats technically similar. The old man here is far from senile and the cats are vicious Bengal tigers. It then all ends with a revelation of space flight and some quick growth in Logan’s character, none of which is pops up earlier. The entire book feels like it was written in three days and tossed out to see if someone would bite.
The book itself is a dull affair. Part of what I like in science fiction is the exploration of a new world. In this novel, we get the bare bones scraps of a setting and a series of antagonists who appear too briefly to make any impression. They’re here, Logan defeats them somehow and then they’re gone. The minimalist writing approach does not make for an interesting read. I simply just wanted to watch the film again and see a better variation of what I was reading.
For more readings, try books by Rex Hurst. 

For more readings, try books by Rex Hurst. 

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