10

A novel I read probably in the late 50s, a man in London was working when a disaster occurred and he was accidentally frozen. A long time later after significant world destruction he was awakened in London in a society utilizing androids for almost all services, while the humans were mainly ornamental. A early scene occurs on Hounslow Heath and naturally the androids are plotting rebellion.

Does anyone recognize this novel?

7

A novel I read probably in the late 50s,

Deadly Image aka The Uncertain Midnight by Edmund Cooper, first published in 1958.

a man in London

Katy turned away and disappeared. Presently she returned with two steaming mugs of coffee. The ghost said thank you and told her that his name was John Markham, that he was twenty-two years old, that he had lived in London for only a few months, that his home was in Yorkshire, that he liked Beethoven and Gershwin, and chess and musical comedies. And he told her that one day he would ship out to the moon.

when a disaster occurred and he was accidentally frozen. A long time later after significant world destruction he was awakened in London

There was a question exploding in Markham's numbed brain. "How long?" he murmured with an edge of fear in his voice. "How long was I—was I out?"

"Before they found you?"

"Yes. For God's sake, how long?"

Bressing smiled. "Hold on tight," he said. "It's going to shake you. . . . About a hundred and fifty years—plus or minus. Do you remember the year you were trapped?"

It took all the strength he had to answer without screaming: "Nineteen sixty-seven."

"Then you've been in S.A. for a hundred and forty-six years; this is twenty-one thirteen A.D."

He tried to imagine the decades of frozen stillness, the tomb-like immobility, the remote and relentless passage of time while he lay stiff and lifeless yet not quite dead in K Chamber. A hundred and forty-six years!

[. . . .]

During and after the atomic war—the Nine Days Tranquilizer—that had been responsible for Markham's predicament, the populations of most of the industrialized countries throughout the world had been reduced to fractional percentages of their former numbers. But those who died as a direct result of atomic warfare were overshadowed numerically by the incredibly high mortalities from disease, pestilence and famine during the next ten years.

in a society utilizing androids for almost all services, while the humans were mainly ornamental.

It was no longer necessary for a man to do anything productive since, whatever his task, it could be safely left to an appropriately programmed android. Thus, in the world of the twenty-second century leisure did not belong only to a privileged class but was the natural birthright of all human beings. A man was free to make what he wished of his life—he was even free to work if he really wanted to. But few men did, since work had become unfashionable.

A early scene occurs on Hounslow Heath and naturally the androids are plotting rebellion.

Skimming through the book, I don't see any mention of Hounslow Heath. Is Hampstead Heath close enough?

Down below was Hampstead Heath—incredibly unchanged.

"Circle," he said to Marion-A in a voice that was hoarse and indistinct. "Circle slowly, and take it low. . . . Hampstead. I—I used to . . . I want to have a look."

Here is the back cover blurb from the 1958 Ballantine Books edition:

HE WAS AN ANACHRONISM . . .

He was a twentieth century man who, by a freak of nature, survived to an age in which working had become a social disgrace; an age in which culture and the arts reigned supreme; an age of mannered ladies and gentlemen, perfectly waited on and cared for by androids—the man-like creations of their own genius. The higher grade androids were doctors, engineers, politicians and personal "companions" to each and every human being. And in whatever they did, they were perfect. No one had to worry about them. For the first time in history, man had completely freed himself from the problems of living:

EXCEPT . . .

When perfect machines, with perfect performance, are made to perfectly resemble man—who needs man?

  • Thank you so much, that was precisely the one I was looking for. I had almost given up ever finding it. – Shay Jul 22 '13 at 13:08
  • 2
    Shay, should you return, you can accept the answer by clicking on the checkmark. – FuzzyBoots Jan 30 '15 at 13:02

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for?Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.