11

Ok, I'm am really stuck on this one.

I Cannot recall the title, or author if this book, but it strikes me as in the mid-to-late 70s? Perhaps early 80s? And for the life of me the Internet has given me no leads.

The gist of the story is:

  • Colonists on alien planet are trying to terraform it, while living in these massive bio domes.
  • Things are not working too well, everyone getting sick, going insane.
  • The main character (who is also a rapist as we learn from the opening scene), takes off on a future-bike and crashes into an alien swamp. After breathing the air (spending a huge amount of time hallucinating himself as a God, running around naked and insane), he goes back - forcibly rounds up anyone that believes they'll live if they step out of the bio-domes and murders the unbelievers / sick ones.
  • It ends in a fairly grisly manner with the survivors being dubbed 'The First Gods'.
  • I recall a good deal of focus on Celtic or Norse gods.
  • The idea of trusting the natural world to sort out the "adaptation" issue was big in this.

What is the name of this book?

4

This isn't an exact match, but there are so many points in common I thought I'd mention it: Bedlam Planet by John Brunner.

The hero isn't a rapist, I don't think. And the colonists don't live in bio domes. The air is breathable; it's just that locally produced food is believed to be poison.

Everything else is a pretty close match: the hero goes away from camp, eats local food, has hallucinations similar to what you describe, recovers and goes back. There is also a lot of focus on Gods; the initial side-effects of eating local food is religious insanity and the colonists are multi-ethnic so once they start eating it they hallucinate about a varied list of Gods. The main character is Irish which would explain Celtic gods.

There is also a postscript saying that those who initially ate the local food are not exactly worshiped as gods by their descendants, but sort of.

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