Condition: read once.
Jour des Fourmis ©
Révolution des Fourmis
Michael Mosblech (Les Fourmis)
Michael Hofmann (Le Jour des Fourmis)
Alexandra von Reinhardt (La Révolution des Fourmis)
How shall I put it ... the meeting of human and ant,
two societies get to know each other with the help of
a mad scientist and his family, a weird engineer and
some other people.
I'm generally not a huge fan of reading about an animal
society because so far no author I've read managed to
give such a society characteristics which are decidedly
different from humans. Werber as well talks about it
a lot but in my opinion fails to do so.
Book one (Les Fourmis) reminds me of the short story
by Sydney J. Van Scyoc. Her story of a man collecting
insect populations in his basement, playing God and
being overwhelmed by a population in the end could well
be the inspiration for Werber's mad scientist who studied
ants in the very deep basement of his house ...
The second book in turn bares traces of Frank Herbert's
(of Dune-fame) "Hellstrom's Hive". The 1973
novel deals with a group of people adapting their lives
to those of social insects, much like the group of people
trapped in the basement under an ant hill in Werber's
"Le Jour des Fourmis". WHat makes Herbert's
work a likely influence is the fact that it won the
Prix Tour-Apollo Award for best science fiction novel
published in French in 1978.
Now the last book, "La Révolution des Fourmis"
reads a bit like a stack of youth fantasy, dealing with
a teenage girl who uses the mad scientist's "encyclopedia"
to start a musical revolution. Maybe he is into Pink
Floyd and the whole hippie-spiel, I don't know. What
makes the third book extremely difficult to take serious
is the fact that it's so dated. It's almost pre-internet
and that's very distracting. Having read the german
issue, published in 2010, I had to check the original
publication date: 1996. Ok, then. WHo would have thought
what the internet world would be like ... Still. Other
authors managed to deal with the subject in a more timeless
Werber's way of mixing story with hard facts (via the
"encyclopedia") is promising but 1400 pages
of it is just too much for me. Especially if the story
is not too gripping. A German newspaper called him a
"Stephen Kind with biological expertise".
Um, ja. Maybe.
In my opinion, Werber simply fails to develop preexisting
ideas any further. Therefore: No surprises.