Best 1969 YA & YYA Lit (6)
January 23, 2019
One in a series of 10 posts identifying Josh Glenn’s favorite 1969 YA & YYA adventure novels. Happy 50th anniversary!
John Christopher’s YA sci-fi adventure The Lotus Caves.
One hundred years in the future, two teenage boys (Marty and Steve) hot-wire a lunar vehicle and explore the Moon’s surface — beyond the proscribed boundaries of “The Bubble,” their colony’s protected habitat. Following the trail of Andrew Thurgood, an early lunar settler who’d vanished 70 years earlier, Marty and Steve stumble upon a series of underground caverns populated by fluorescent plants — all of which turn out to be controlled by (and aspects of) an alien life form. So far, we’re in the realm of an old Robert Heinlein “juvenile,” like Red Planet, say — but things quickly get psychedelic. The alien being possesses the power to enthrall its captives, and maintain them in a blissed-out, timeless state for — well, forever. Can Marty and Steve escape the Lotus Caves — the book’s title refers to the land of the Lotus-eaters, which we read about in The Odyssey — and even if they can, why would they want to return to their boring, restricted lives inside the Bubble?
Fun facts: Published between Christopher’s (Sam Youd) two great YA sci-fi series, the Tripods trilogy (1967–1968), and the Sword of the Spirits trilogy (1971–1972). Adapted as a freaky, campy Syfy TV pilot — High Moon — in 2014, by Bryan Fuller.
BEST SIXTIES YA & YYA: [Best YA & YYA Lit 1963] | Best YA & YYA Lit 1964 | Best YA & YYA Lit 1965 | Best YA & YYA Lit 1966 | Best YA & YYA Lit 1967 | Best YA & YYA Lit 1968 | Best YA & YYA Lit 1969 | Best YA & YYA Lit 1970 | Best YA & YYA Lit 1971 | Best YA & YYA Lit 1972 | Best YA & YYA Lit 1973. ALSO: Best YA Sci-Fi.
JOSH GLENN’S *BEST ADVENTURES* LISTS: BEST 250 ADVENTURES OF THE 20TH CENTURY | 100 BEST OUGHTS ADVENTURES | 100 BEST RADIUM AGE (PROTO-)SCI-FI ADVENTURES | 100 BEST TEENS ADVENTURES | 100 BEST TWENTIES ADVENTURES | 100 BEST THIRTIES ADVENTURES | 75 BEST GOLDEN AGE SCI-FI ADVENTURES | 100 BEST FORTIES ADVENTURES | 100 BEST FIFTIES ADVENTURES | 100 BEST SIXTIES ADVENTURES | 75 BEST NEW WAVE SCI FI ADVENTURES | 100 BEST SEVENTIES ADVENTURES | 100 BEST EIGHTIES ADVENTURES | 75 BEST DIAMOND AGE SCI-FI ADVENTURES | 100 BEST NINETIES ADVENTURES (in progress) | 1994 | 1995 | 1996 | 1997 | 1998 | 1999 | 2000 | 2001 | 2002 | 2003 | NOTES ON 21st-CENTURY ADVENTURES.