A Specter is Haunting Texas

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Anticipating both the "Texasassination" of culture and politics in the United States (then and now) and the construction of low gravity orbital communities, A Specter is Haunting Texas is Fritz Leiber's 1968 novel of a dystopia both alien and terrifyingly familar.

Actor, fortune seeking and adventurer Scully Christopher Crockett La Cruz from the long isolated orbital technocratic democracies of Circumluna and the Bubbles Congeries lands in what he believes to be Canada to reclaim family mining interests only to discover that Canada is now North Texas and what is left of civilization in North America is ruled by primitive, backslapping, bigger than life anti-intellectual "good ole boys" convinced of their own moral superiority.

Alternate History Inside Storyline

In the tortured revision of history known to the hormone boosted giant, Anglo-Saxon inhabitants who rule a diminutive Mexican underclass, the original Texas, or Texas, Texas had actually secretly ruled the pre-nuclear war United States since 1845. "Of it was never given out to the general public in the states, who never had no brains or guts nohow and flustered easy, that this assumption of leadership was annexation--but it was always known to the speaker of the House and the senators who counted in Washington that secretest treaty Texas was boss...With the coming of the Third World War and the atomization of Washington, New York, San Francisco, and so forth, secrecy became unnecessary..." (p. 22) As it happens Texas escaped the nuclear destruction of the rest of the United States because of the foresight of Lyndon the First. An enormous bunker then known as the Houston Carlsbad Caverns-Denver-Kansas City-Little Rock Pentagram and now referred to simply as the Texas Bunker had saved the heartland during a war that destroyed both American coasts, Europe, Russia, China, and Africa. Texas then conquered the rest of the continent, although Hawaii and Cuba remain stubbornly "unconquered." Two projections that are spectacularly prescient of Leiber!

Enjoyable as classic science fiction in its own right, Leiber's novel is also a brilliant send-up on political and cultural pretention both in the 1960s and the 2000s.

Details

  • Fritz Leiber. 1968, 1969, 1971. A Specter is Haunting Texas. Galaxy Science Fiction, Walker, Bantam.
  • Fritz Leiber. 1978. A Specter is Haunting Texas. Daw. ISBN 0879973595.
  • Fritz Leiber. 1992. A Specter is Haunting Texas. Scribner Paper Fiction (Collier Nucleus Science Fiction Classic). ISBN 0020223471
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