Help Identifying a SF Novel

Discussion in 'Book Search' started by natterjack, Mar 3, 2012.

  1.  
    natterjack

    natterjack New Member

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    Hi,

    Hope someone out there can help...

    Way back in the 90's a friend lent me a SF novel and I'm trying to remember the author and title. All I can go on is that: the genre was slightly psychological / surreal - a little like Philip K Dick but not Philip K Dick; the protagonist was a middle aged (maybe even elderly) and overweight man and there's a scene in the novel where he evades pursuit and capture by using the fact that green and purple are complementary colours as the basis of camouflaging himself in a garden (he has a green cape and there are many purple flowers in the garden, or some such 'hack' of the visual system).

    Those are the only particulars of the novel I can remember, and I've been going slowly mad over about a decade trying to recall the title.

    I know it's not a lot to go on, but does my description ring a bell with anyone out there?

    Thanks in advance for any clues...
  2.  
    The Judge

    The Judge Truth. Order. Moderation. Staff Member

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    Can't help you myself, but I'll take this over to Book Search and with luck someone there will be able to point you in the right direction.
  3.  
    natterjack

    natterjack New Member

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    Thanks Judge, very kind of you.
  4.  
    jojajihisc

    jojajihisc vast and cool

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    Do you remember anything about who was trying to capture the man (other humans, aliens etc.)? Or anything about the cover art?
  5.  
    natterjack

    natterjack New Member

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    Thanks jojajihisc, those are excellent questions...

    Let's see... His pursuers are human. They're authority figures, but not policemen. Maybe agents of a secretive and malign arm of government?

    Our hero is a subversive, not a crook, and I think he's on an errand to assist or divert attention from some younger and less wise subverts. His relationship with them is avuncular.

    The setting of the tale is intergalactic, I think, but I can't say if it's set on Earth or not.

    The overall tone of the book is counter-culturish. Tones of Philip K Dick or AE Van Vogt, but I don't think authored by them. It's also a little whimsical, if I recall, and interested in what were probably interesting developments in cognitive psychology at the time (hence the 'brain hack' with purple and green).

    The cover may have had a stylised image of a tree. Maybe in the vein of a banyan tree. The cover might have been predominantly white with tones of orange and brown.

    Thanks again. Like I say, excellent questions!
  6.  
    natterjack

    natterjack New Member

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    Also, the protagonist is similar in style, character and energy to Ubik's Glen Runciter. So much so that when I first read Ubik a few years ago I thought I'd stumbled across my long lost mystery book.
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    TheDustyZebra

    TheDustyZebra Ninja agent Staff Member

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    I have a lousy memory and don't remember all of the books, so I'm going to throw this out there as a possibility. It sounds like something that could happen in one of the Stainless Steel Rat books by Harry Harrison. I've read them all, but most of them are lost to the sands of time as far as my memory goes.
  8.  
    jojajihisc

    jojajihisc vast and cool

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    One more question and if this doesn't help me I'm probably not going to find it. About what year do you think it was published?
  9.  
    natterjack

    natterjack New Member

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    Thanks both,

    Dusty Zebra, not slippery Jim DiGriz, I'm afraid.

    Jojajihisc - I read the novel in the late eighties / early nineties but I'd guess from genre and content that it was published in the late sixties / early seventies. If it helps, the main protagonist was very like Ubik's Glen Runciter (i.e. older than the norm, egocentric, flamboyant) and the tone of the book is not unlike Ubik too, i.e. somewhat surreal but also whimsical in a way.

    Thanks again

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