Who is Ward Moore? and why is he this week’s Fiction Friday? Well, Lucy, that takes a bit of ‘asplanin. First of all, Fiction Friday is going to be taking a trip in the Way Back Machine for the next few installments; a journey of discovery for our younger participants into the beginnings of modern SF, authors you might not have heard of, books you might have overlooked or never seen.
Also to every owner of an e-reader who says 99 cents is too much money: there is a plethora of free books available for the asking/wanting. Project Gutenberg is one of the most all-encompassing repositories of free e-books in multi-format DRM free. As I was exploring this vast library, I came across a sub collection of Golden Age Science Fiction, short stories, and novels. With a current collection numbering well over 100,000 e-books, their Sci Fi collection had me drooling, which brings me to Ward Moore.
Ward Moore was born in 1903. During his life he wore much that was considered Sci Fi or “Speculative Fiction”. I present to you today his second novel, Greener Than You Think. Its the story of a man, his dream, a superfertilizer and the havoc created by personal and corporate greed. Written in 1947, this novel is a grim forecaster of the crop manipulation and seed gene splicing that currently goes on…to what end?
A brief excerpt from the beginning:
I always knew I should write a book. Something to help tired minds lay aside the cares of the day. But I always say you never can tell what’s around the corner till you turn it, and everyone has become so accustomed to fantastic occurrences in the last twenty one years that the inspiring and relaxing novel I used to dream about would be today as unreal as Atlantis. Instead, I find I must write of the things which have happened to me in that time. It all began with the word itself. “Grass. Gramina. The family Gramineae. Grasses.” “Oh,” I responded doubtfully. The picture in my mind was only of a vague area in parks edged with benches for the idle. Anyway, I was far too resentful to pay strict attention. I had set out in good faith, not for the first time in my career as a salesman, to answer an ad offering “$50 or more daily to top producers,” naturally expecting the searching onceover of an alert salesmanager, back to the light, behind a shinytopped desk. When youve handled as many products as I had an ad like that has the right sound. But the world is full of crackpots and some of the most pernicious are those who hoodwink unsuspecting canvassers into anticipating a sizzling deal where there is actually only a warm hope. No genuinely highclass proposition ever came from a layout without aggressiveness enough to put on some kind of front; working out of an office, for instance, not an outdated, rundown apartment in the wrong part of Hollywood. “It’s only a temporary drawback, Weener, which restricts the Metamorphizer’s efficacy to grasses.” The wheeling syllables, coming in a deep voice from the middleaged woman, emphasized the absurdity of the whole business. The snuffy apartment, the unhomelike livingroom–dust and books its only furniture–the unbelievable kitchen, looking like a pictured warning to housewives, were only guffaws before the final buffoonery of discovering the J S Francis who’d inserted that promising ad to be Josephine Spencer Francis. Wrong location, wrong atmosphere, wrong gender.
This is Dome, sayin’: The entire book can be read on-line or downloaded copyright free in many formats here. Enjoy.