We’re continuing with our look at the extraordinary 40-year career of Tanith Lee, who passed away on May 24th. So far I’ve focused on her highly regarded series work, but I don’t want to neglect her standalone novels.
Today I’d like to briefly highlight Days of Grass, subtitled After the Fall of Humanity, one of the first Tanith Lee novels I ever bought. I wish I could tell you I was drawn by her reputation, but truthfully it was Michael Whelan’s gorgeous cover that seduced me. Click on the image at right for a bigger version — and be sure to note the man hiding in the rocks, and the alien striding machine rounding the cliffs on the far left.
Days of Grass might do better today than it did when it was first published. It’s a postapocalyptic dystopia with a strong female protagonist, and the world didn’t know how to treat a book like that in 1985. As it is, it has never been reprinted, and has now been out of print for 30 years. Copies are available online for not much more than the original cover price.
The free humans lived underground, secretive, like rats. Above, the world was a fearsome place for them – the open sky a terror, the night so black, and the striding machines from space so laser-flame deadly.
Esther dared the open; she saw the sky; she saw the Enemy. And she was taken – captive – to the vast alien empty city. Surrounded by marvels of science not born on earth, Esther did not know what they wanted of her. There was mystery in the city, dread in the heavens, and magic in the handsome alien man who came to her.