April 10, 2020

Radix by A. A. Attanasio

Radix is an un-discovered gem. Set on Earth in an alluded to future, it covers a vision of a transformed mankind. Concepts and ideas are foreshadowed rather than brought to full bare, such as the “Wind that blows from the belly of the swayback lion” being the radiation escaping from the constellation Leo that has transmorgafied mankind and brought the alien vistors known as the Voors. Broad in scope, it rivals Dune or Lord of the Rings in that it creates a complete, fleshed out alternate world. The focus for that world is Sumner Kagan, a disaffected youth who lashes out at his enemies as the Sugrat. As a white card, he is allowed to breed at will, but is eventually captured and forced through a transfiguration by brute force. Along this backdrop are the mysterious Voors, an alien race persecuted by man with their own arcane interests. Sumner mates with one of them and produces a messiah like off spring (sound familiar?). Radix is also one of those rare books that merit a second read. I think I read it at least three times as a teenager. Again, it doesn’t hit the reader over the head with an idea, unlike a lot of whats’ out there today; some sophistication is assumed. I would be interested to hear some of the exact interpretations others have walked away with. One caveat; the ending is rather convoluted and dense; its best to take your time with this book and digest it in small pieces. This book was also nominated for a Locus award in 1982.
In closing, if you are a Science Fiction die hard who is looking for something unknown and off the beaten track, I wholly recommend Radix to you!


  1. [...] retro review. Mr. Attanasio is also the author of another all-time Sci-Fi favorite of ours, Radix. Apparently, he has yet to write a bad novel, as evinced by this 80’s work of the distant future. [...]

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