Monday, June 08, 2009


By Fritz Leiber

If there’s any creature that could break down the mental barriers of a repressed, death-oriented, and relentlessly conformist society, I suppose it would be cats. That seems to be Fritz Leiber’s opinion anyway.

The Green Millennium is about Phil Gish and his America. The Bureau of Loyalty keeps the population on the straight and narrow under its dimwitted, bible-spouting president. Fun Incorporated makes sure the citizens have funless fun. America’s real business is the permanent war against its enemies.

So far you may be wondering where exactly the SF comes in since that describes the current world. When Phil meets a friendly green cat called Lucky, all of the sudden his wretched life is full of joy. All his difficulties disappear, that is until the cat scampers away. Phil is not alone in his pursuit of the cat. Lucky is being chased by a shady scientist called Dr. Romadka, a group of wrestlers, Dr. Romadka’s daughter, and the Bureau of Loyalty. There’s also the question of whether Phil’s neighbor is human from the waist down.

The opposition of an anarchic love of life to oppressive conformism is one of Leiber’s favorite motifs. The Green Millennium has that opposition in its most anarchic form. The revolution isn’t brought about by conspirators or even beatniks, but adorable space-cats. One would be forgiven for finding it all a bit too cute. The hard edges have rubber bumpers. Not that this is all bad. Sometimes a little untrammeled optimism in the face of bad news is called for.

If only we had some green cats…

-Dave Hardy

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