Another book title search.
February 11, 2011 7:24 AM   Subscribe

Science Fiction identification: In high school (the 80s) I read a scifi book in which (I believe) a fat despondent boy's family is wiped out, and he is sent to either a school or a prison. Someone there makes him run around the perimeter for a long time, until he's in great shape. He goes from fat and soft, to lean and hard. He may subsequently become a soldier. That's all I remember. Can you help me find the name of the book?
posted by OmieWise to Media & Arts (10 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Decent but imperfect match to "Fat Farm" by OS Card. Not a family that's wiped out, but a rich dude leading a massively hedonistic lifestyle who periodically gets a new clone body. Hoe-ing potatoes instead of running the perimeter. Eventually becomes an assassin.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 7:34 AM on February 11, 2011

Best answer: The first thing I thought of was Radix, which has a training montage sequence which, looking at Wikipedia, is clearly the only thing about the book I remember. The bit that stuck with me most was the description of the trainer basically giving the kid a foot massage to break down all the adhesions so they could re-form in stronger ways.
posted by restless_nomad at 7:39 AM on February 11, 2011

It sounds a little like William Sleator's (very good) book House of Stairs.

It isn't exactly the same, but fat despondent orphan put in a weird prison where he gets strong and then is expected to be a soldier -- no perimeter to run around, though -- is a reasonableish description of the book.
posted by jeather at 7:56 AM on February 11, 2011

I've read it and I remembered another thing about it that might help someone else identify it. At the start the fat kid writes graffiti everywhere pretending to be some mysterious dissident/rebel who the govt are frightened of. After he gets super-tough in the prison the comes back and now he can live up to the name he pretended to be. Is that the one you were thinking of?

The name escapes me though.
posted by communicator at 7:59 AM on February 11, 2011

It sounds much more like Radix to me then that piece-a-shit House of Stairs. But the description given doesn't sound like near as good a story as Radix is.
posted by Rash at 8:33 AM on February 11, 2011

Reminds me of Radix too. Really trippy book.
posted by adamrice at 10:07 AM on February 11, 2011

Definitely Radix. The graffiti name is Sugarat or Sugar Rat. Good book.
posted by lumpenprole at 10:13 AM on February 11, 2011

Yyyyeah, I think it's probably Radix too now.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 11:56 AM on February 11, 2011

Response by poster: It's not Fat Farm, and it's not House of Stairs, but thanks for the suggestions. I'll look into Radix. As I recall, I didn't really like the book (which may have been because I was kind of disturbed by it), and may not have finished it, but that part has always stuck with me.
posted by OmieWise at 12:06 PM on February 11, 2011

Response by poster: I read the first few pages of Radix, and it's almost certainly the book I was thinking of.
posted by OmieWise at 4:05 PM on February 11, 2011

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