Cabbages and... conveyor belts
February 11, 2011 12:12 PM   Subscribe

Help me figure out what this YA science fiction novel was! It had very deep cities, an escape having something to do with cabbages, and some kind of rural life outside. Maybe.

I read this book when I was a kid, so I assume it's young adult or even kid fiction, but I cannot remember what it was called or who it was by. I am also afraid that I'm conflating it with several other books I've read.

The protagonist is a young boy (possibly a girl) who lives in a very deep (or very tall, but probably deep) future city that only has windows at the very top. Nobody is allowed outside. I think that the richest or in some other way most privileged people live on the top floor, and I have some sense of the people on lower floors being miserable.

I want to say that the boy, and maybe his sister or friend, escape the city in a shipment of cabbages. I have a vague memory of something to do with climbing hills and finding a village of other people who have left the cities.

There might have been something about bugs, and the cover might have had a picture of a conveyor belt with boxes of cabbages. Or something like that.

Help? I have searched on this, and I have guessed at authors, but I have had no luck.
posted by hought20 to Media & Arts (9 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Oh, and at some point, I think the protagonist visits the top floor of the city, but he doesn't normally live there.
posted by hought20 at 12:14 PM on February 11, 2011

This sounds like a Monica Hughes book. Devil on My Back, maybe?
posted by Zozo at 12:25 PM on February 11, 2011

...maybe? I would have sworn the kid was from the underclass, though. Augh.

Oh, and for reference, this would have to be before 1986 or so.
posted by hought20 at 12:33 PM on February 11, 2011

This Time of Darkness, by H.M. Hoover?
posted by adipocere at 12:35 PM on February 11, 2011 [1 favorite]

I've been wondering about this book for years! This Time of Darkness sure sounds like the one I've been looking for. I think we read this in 6th grade.
posted by munichmaiden at 12:38 PM on February 11, 2011

Holy crap, I think This Time of Darkness is it.

Thank you!
posted by hought20 at 12:42 PM on February 11, 2011

It sounds very similar in concept to Devil on my back, but in that book the protagonist is a privileged lordling who is thrown out of the city by accident down a garbage chute, by rebelling slaves.

I'm glad to hear of another book on this theme -- I will check it out.
posted by jb at 9:01 PM on February 11, 2011

I think there was a sequel, too.
posted by mdiskin at 7:33 PM on February 12, 2011

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