This novel begins with a world that has recently become very cloudy - there is constant greyish twilight at the ground level. Some kinds of plants are dying off, though IIRC people are growing more mushrooms so famine isn't imminent. The bad guy is a rich fat man who has discovered that in absolutely perfect conditions humans will metamorphose into flying creatures; I think they were more like giant moths than angels or something. "Perfect conditions" meant getting enormously fat to have enough reserves to survive the metamorphosis, then living in a big bath tub filled with mineral water. In the end of the book the main character finds the bad guy in this state, in a building so tall it is above the cloud level, and normally only rich people and their servants can go up into the building. (Not the Clouded World series, if anyone was going to suggest that.)

  • Sounds interesting. I'd love to know the answer. That mushroom stuff reminds me "City of Saint and Madmen" by Jeff Vandermeer a little. – Kao Sep 1 '14 at 7:24

Murray Leinster

I only saw references to The Mad Planet, they included hazy, cloudy skies and near extinction and eventual evolution of the species, but it did not refer to metamorphosis into flying beings.

  • I added links to the Project Gutenberg etexts. – user14111 Dec 18 '14 at 18:43
  • These stories don't seem to fit the description very well. I haven't actually read them, but it sppears that: the climate catastrophe is not recent, but thousands of years in the past; no buildings or rich fat men, just savages; and the only references to metamorphosis I could find had to do with giant insects, not men. – user14111 Dec 18 '14 at 18:55
  • It should be noted that Leinster wrote the Burl series over a span of several decades, and at the end he changed the basic concept and rewrote the earlier stories to fit. Originally, Burl's adventures took place on Earth in the far future, long after some kind of climate catastrophe; later, they were on a distant planet, which had been colonized from Earth in a strange way. I don't believe this is the story the OP is looking for. – user14111 Dec 18 '14 at 19:13

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