Planet of the Supreme Predatory Octopus
I had a very difficult time understanding this book. Was it a satirical commentary on our ambitious cutthroat society? An enlightened vision of a higher power? Was the author on drugs? The majority of the text is so riddled with spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors it is hard to follow – but the style is so disjointed and disheveled that I really couldn’t be sure that wasn’t a purposeful decision. At any rate the overall impression is alien.
Which, interestingly enough (but not comfortably), does work for the book. A man is relating his ‘visions’ that have come from some outer, upper source that is eternal and omnipresent; not a god-figure, just some much more advanced alien. The visions are of a different alien race, the Calamaris, who are octopuses. The book tells all about this octopus civilization: their technology, their cultural institutions, government, family associations, commerce. These octopus frequently cannibalize each other, and their children, the latter because there is a government moratorium against multiple children. Is this some commentary on our society’s lack of care for each other? I couldn’t really tell. Suddenly, toward the end, the text breaks into an extremely clear, lucid account of the author’s (rather off-putting) experiments on chick embryos and his ideas about physics and FTL travel. Then it dives back into the weird alien grammar. It is intelligible, barely, but almost incomprehensible, and very difficult to read. I feel like I have been wandering in a strange, alien mind. Perhaps that is the point.
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