Ladies from Hellby Keith Roberts
A collection of stories.
Keith Roberts is one of Britain's most distinguished science fiction writers, author of such novels as Pavane, The Furies and The Chalk Giants. Nowhere are his talents better displayed, however, than in his short fiction, and we are delighted to welcome him to the Gollancz list with this collection.
Ladies From Hell contains five long stories. "The Shack at Great Cross Halt" describes a Britain dominated by motorways, juggernauts and a tyranny, in which the unfortunates of society eke out a miserable existence scavenging items which fall off lorries. "The Ministry of Children" shows comprehensive schools having become terrifying battlegrounds dominated by vicious gangs. "The Big Fans" concerns an experiment in wind-powered electricity which accidentally unleashes an apocalyptic storm of effects. "Our Lady of Desperation" ironically depicts a future in which a Stalinist British government taxes 'non-productive' people (i.e. artists) at over 100% and assigns them individual Overseers to regulate their work. And "Missa Privata" shows an opera singer in a communist-dominated Britain making a defiant individual gesture which will bring about her own ruin.
These are not stories of spaceships and alien worlds; rather they are studies of imminent social change, written out of passionate concern about the directions in which our society may be heading — stories, in fact, in the great Orwellian tradition. Most importantly, they are stories about people: believable, defiant individuals struggling against oppressive forces.
Details updated August 18, 2022