Another Keith Roberts post while I work on new stuff.
Raw Feed (2004): The Furies, Keith Roberts, 1966.
A merely ok disaster novel.
I mostly got the feeling that, with the invasion of the aliens who take the form of giant wasps, I was reading some obscure (a quality that often shows up in regard to Roberts) metaphor about industrialism.
I don’t think it really worked to combine two disasters: huge earthquakes as the result of nuclear weapons testing (though I never got the feeling Roberts was doing a critique of nuclear testing — it mostly just seemed a convenient device) and an alien invasion. Nor did Roberts ever really deal much with depicting (apart from a good scene where a man is murdered when he tries to stop an escape from the wasp camp) the drama of social breakdown a la John Christopher.
I thought the part with the guerilla war against the wasps went on too long.
While I did like that the narrator Bill Sampson was never reunited with Jane Felicity Beddoes-Smythe (indeed her fate is unresolved), I felt that his taking up with guilt-stricken Cockney girl Pete was trying to impart some life lesson to us which I didn’t really get. (I note that the almost outright statements of sexual interest, eventually, of Sampson towards sixteen year old Felicity may raise more eyebrows now than in 1966 though it’s perfectly normal — and historically common — that a vivacious sixteen year old would sexually attract an adult man.)
I sensed that Roberts heart really wasn’t in this book though it was his first. Or, perhaps, he was just floundering and discovering his style since his later books are much different in subject and style.