7

This novel dates from early 90s and has the following elements.

  1. The USA is surrounded by an energy field that cannot be penetrated or turned off. The world is hi-tech, but post-apocalyptic
  2. The hero has some kind of implant in his chest that runs on the emotion of rage.
  3. Intelligent dolphins run a city in Texas and are dictators.
  4. The hero travels with a cult that preaches a sort of "suicide is glorious" dogma. One of them commits suicide by having his hands and feet cut off. I believe they may eat him as well.
  5. The cult uses genetically-engineered human hands the size of horses to pull heavy loads across the wasteland. The hands eat through beaks like a squid.
  6. Book had a red/orange colored cover.

Any thoughts?

8

Transmaniacon

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This novel by John Shirley, published in 1980, is one of the craziest sci-fi novels ever written.

I only have the Italian version to work with, so the translated quotes may not be quite exact.

  1. The USA is surrounded by an energy field that cannot be penetrated or turned off. The world is hi-tech, but post-apocalyptic.

    Yes, there is a barrier:

    "There remained many real scientists. Those of Detroit, and Fallon either do not know where the projector is that raised the barrier , or do not want to say. Sooner or later, the mechanism holding up the barrier, whatever it is, it will break and the the world will penetrate this continent. Perhaps then the city states will have to unite once more...."

  2. The hero has some kind of implant in his chest that runs on the emotion of rage.

    This probably refers to the titular Transmaniacon!

    "I thought" - said the rasping voice - "if you tell the truth or not. I thought that your curiosity would not be stilled so long as you did not have the answer, and that no doubt you would have tried to open the subject to know the secrets, if I had kept you in ignorance of the thing, and this could have disastrous consequences. So I decided to tell the truth. It is a device to increase and strengthen the telepathic transfer of obsessive manias, of paranoia, various insane things. The so-called Transmaniacon.... Properly mounted, it pulls out the strongest and most negative passions of humanity, and increases them to their maximum. The Transmaniacon can transform a street fight into a furious riot, a misunderstanding between neighbors into a no-holds-barred war. I planned many ways to use it. But I warn you of do not try to use it, when you put your hands over it. You will have appropriate opportunity to use in conditions subject to control, in the future. For the moment consider the Transmaniacon lethal, and do not try to understand how it works.

  3. Intelligent dolphins run a city in Texas and are dictators.

    Yes, dolphins control the city of Houston.

    "Dolphins control Houston?" Fuller said, desperately trying to understand. "Explain a bit more ..."

    "You heard me right. Before the panic there was a Naval research center where they had a device for the interpretation of the language of dolphins. They taught the dolphins to communicate, or vice versa, and it turned out that the dolphins were a lot smarter than previously thought. After that things were precipitated, while Houston was now all on fire, a group of scientists went to the dolphins to seek advice. The dolphins told us what we had to do to keep the situation under control, and the plan worked. The planners resumed their place the city, established martial law, disguised under other name, and everyone began to depend more and more on dolphins. Dolphins maneuvered skillfully to achieve key social positions. They seemed to have a special ability to manipulate humanity. They built machines that worked under sound waves, that is, with their sharp squeaks. These machines were connected to computers who ran the auto-city cops. One day the dolphins killed all the council of scientist. They took power. And now it is they who govern Houston, and men are their slaves. Some say it's the most scientifically advanced city-state ... As a boy, I always said that dolphins are good natured. But they are ruthless ... Let's see, what else is there to say, in this geography lesson? Atlanta is a city of bandits, mostly pirates scurrying in helicopters. Theirs is an organized hierarchy of thieves, which exploits the logistical operations among the city-state ..."

  4. The hero travels with a cult that preaches a sort of "suicide is glorious" dogma. One of them commits suicide by having his hands and feet cut off. I believe they may eat him as well.

    This is to be able to enter again the Sacred Labyrinth of Non- existing. Commonly known by the name of death. For worshippers of Dis the supreme act of devotion is suicide. I know them well. I worked in the Suicide Salons of San Francisco. It was one of my many cover-up jobs.

  5. The cult uses genetically-engineered human hands the size of horses to pull heavy loads across the wasteland. The hands eat through beaks like a squid.

    They were in fact huge hands, with fingers as long as a meter, palms in proportion and short wrists that ended abruptly; They looked like the hands of giant severed at the wrists. Each had large calluses on the fingertips at the points where they walked on the ground: they had no nails, but the calloused phalanges resembled very much those of a human hand.

    "It looks like human skin!" exclaimed Gloria

  6. See the picture above.

  • That is it. Thx – Vicpylon Jun 27 '16 at 23:09

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