The Wanting Seed by Anthony Burgess – Dystopian Books Review

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Review, Synopsis, and Summary of Dystopian Fiction Novel The Wanting Seed

In 1962, an English author Anthony Burgess wrote a dystopian novel titled The Wanting Seed. The novel covers topics like overpopulation, living conditions, recycling and re-use of materials in a very interesting way.

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Author: Anthony Burgess

Genre: Dystopian fiction

Pages: 288

Good reads rating: 3.72 of 5

My Ratings: 7.5 of 10

Published:  1996 (Reissue Edition)

Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company.

Language: English

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Review and Summary of Dystopian Fiction Novel The Wanting Seed

***Warning Spoilers Below This Point***

The book describes two main characters in The Wanting Seed. The first one is Tristam Foxe, who is a history teacher. Second is Beatrice-Joanna, who is the wife of Tristam and a homemaker. The couple recently experienced an incident that led to the death of their son. The first part of the novel discusses overpopulation. They show the need for re-use of resources that became scarce. Living conditions appeared tight. In this environment, it encourages homosexuality to control overpopulation and they encourage people to self-sterilize.

Tristam encounters a major conflict with his brother, Derek. He pretends he is homosexual to receive support from his employer. Beatrice-Joanna gets involved in an affair with Derek, and unfortunately, she becomes illegally pregnant. The paternity of her twins remains uncertain after she had sex with both Derek and Tristam within 24 hours. They arrest Tristam after they caught him involved in a protest.

Tristam is in jail, and societal changes happen. Religion becomes important, and people take part in fertility rituals and practice cannibalism in England. Beatrice runs away and lives in the countryside with her sister- and brother-in-law. She gave birth to twin sons and the population police take her and her babies to the city. Tristam escapes the cell with the help of a friend and tries to rejoin his wife.

The third part of the novel starts with Tristam moving to an unknown location to take part in an unknown war in Ireland. He finds out that the war is unreal and only a means of population control. Tristam escapes the event and finds a new job. Beatrice lives with Derek and implies that they are his sons. She names her twin boys as Derek and Tristam.

Final Say on Dystopian Fiction Novel The Wanting Seed

This novel offers an excellent depiction of the dystopian society who will fight for food and resources. The novel receives my rating of 7.5 out of 10 because of the excellent storyline it presents. Would I re-read this novel? No. Am I glad I read it? Yes.

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Max Atlas
Max Atlas
I am Max Atlas; my only mission is to raise awareness of Dystopian fiction and share in a collective awakening. Together we will explore not only the best Dystopian Novels ever written but also new and upcoming Authors, giving future greats a platform to share their Dystopian Worlds.