"A novel by Anthony Burgess, the author of A Clockwork Orange".

It says so right on the front cover, see?

The Wanting Seed is an elaborate and painful reminder of how boring Burgess is when he's writing anything other than A Clockwork Orange. It's a "satire"1 on modern civilization, or something. It seems that we've lost touch with the founts of our biology and we need to get back in touch with... Life! Life with a Capital 'L'! We must farm, and breed!

The story begins in an allegorical (but not convincing) future England where homosexuality is officially encouraged and heterosexuality is considered perverse, all for reasons of population control. This was written in 1962, when Thinking People worried a lot about the Population Explosion. Nowadays, Thinking People seem to have moved on to other concerns, mostly dumber ones. Burgess isn't concerned about overpopulation; he's just using it as a gimmick to set up a dystopia that says Important Things About Modern Man. So this is really just another smug whack at what Eliot already covered adequately well in The Waste Land.

The story kicks into motion when the whole dystopia cracks apart, and the culture swings very far the other way, with fertility rituals and so on.

All the characters have frightfully clever allegorical and/or literarily referential names. It's that kind of a book. Allegory's all very well, but didn't somebody say that if Moby Dick didn't work first and foremost as a whale, he didn't work as anything at all? Well, that's true. A little allegory never did anybody any harm, but it's frosting at best. You need a real cake in there. This is not a story about people; ironically, it's got the same out-of-touch-with-life problem that Burgess seems to think he's complaining about. It's an "intellectual" (so-called) cartoon. It's bullshit.

1 There's a thin line between satire and caricature.

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