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Ladies from Hell

Keith Roberts

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Fiction, Science fiction

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 that 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 Destruction" 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.

"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.

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