All in the desert fighting a war against mutants with bicycles.
December 17, 2012 8:39 AM   Subscribe

There is some insane YA trilogy that no one can seem to track down. Anyone here have a clue?

I'm asking for someone else, but here's the info I have:

It's a trilogy that he read around 2003. It's YA science fiction, but set on Earth. According to him:

The first book cover had a really graphic picture of a fish person (I think there were two) and the third book had a cover of a mutant dude with burnt skin and a bicycle helmet fused to his head. And the second book just had a picture of an open water tank in the middle of a desert with a bunch of other water tanks.

Also there was a guy in a wheelchair and the main character I think goes blind at the end of the second book because he spends the whole book in a cave and when he goes outside he looks at the sun. And in the first book he’s just a kid living in his parents’ house and then by the third book his wheelchair friend has his legs cut off so he can walk on his hands faster, his other friend has like 80% of her body completely burnt. They are all in the desert fighting a war against mutants with bicycles. It escalates quickly.

First book, some kind of weird fish girls moved in next door and I think they burned the main character’s house down. Like they were scaly people and their eyes were kind of buggy and large like an anglerfish. Like if an anglerfish was a person. But I think when they first meet them they look like people, all regular and such. No spaceships, just weirdness.

This seems to actually exist as someone else asked about it on

Things it is not:

The Toxic Avenger
Midnight Bay trilogy (Koontz)
Heroes Die (Stover)
Plato's Cave allegory
Anything by Lovecraft
Tomorrow, When the War Began (Marsden)
Eva (Dickenson)
Fist of the North Star manga
Graceling (Cashore)
The Tripods trilogy (Christopher)
War With the Newts (Capek)
The Windmill trilogy (Crew)
Dark Piper (Norton)
Magic Time (Zicree and Hambly)
The Amber series (Zelazney)
The Giver trilogy (Lowry)
The Stand (King)
Anything by Piers Anthony
Remnants series (Applegate)
The Uplift series (Brin)
Interstellar Pig (Sleator)
The Mall of Cthulhu (Cooper)
The episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer where the swim team turns into fish boys
Lethe (Sullivan)
The Exile Waiting (McIntyre)
Dragonsong (McCaffrey)
The Book of Ember series (DuPrau)
House of Stairs (Sleator)
The Llandor trilogy (Lawrence)
Legion of Time (Williamson)
The Gone series (Grant)

Everyone on Ravelry is going nuts trying to figure this out. Google reveals nothing. Thoughts?
posted by cereselle to Media & Arts (8 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
The 'emerges from a cave and is blinded' part sounds like 'Journey Outside' by Steele but the other details don't match. Children's librarian friend queried her office and they suggest possibly this is a merging of two books.

Does anything in this LibraryThing thread help?
posted by cobaltnine at 9:39 AM on December 17, 2012

It's a really long shot, but this makes me think of Tank Girl.
posted by hought20 at 10:46 AM on December 17, 2012 [1 favorite]

This sounds similar to but totally different from Dan Simmons' Hyperion Cantos.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 1:07 PM on December 17, 2012

I've read Tank Girl and the Hyperion series, and they are definitely not this. Thanks for the LibraryThing thread: they're using it as another jumping-off point.
posted by cereselle at 2:11 PM on December 17, 2012

Spent most of the afternoon googling, and two options are Children of the Dust by Louise Lawrence (post apocalyptic desert society with mutants/people with strange skin) and I Feel Like the Morning Star by Gregory Maguire (underground society with a boy in a wheelchair). Neither is quite right though. Will continue googling.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 2:29 PM on December 17, 2012

It doesn't sound like Children of the Dust to me - that was your standard nuclear war story for two thirds of the book, and the last third had the post-apocalyptic society with people who grew white fur to protect themselves from the sun. No wheelchair, no fish people etc.

But I seem to recall reading a book about scaly people and people living in a cave. Was it a pretty new book at the time? The one I'm thinking of was new-ish when I read it in about 1996-7. Racking my brains to remember the name.
posted by indienial at 3:54 PM on December 17, 2012

Oh my God, someone tracked it down on the somethingawful forums.

It's the Swampland Trilogy by S. R. Martin. Our long nightmare is over.
posted by cereselle at 8:24 AM on December 18, 2012

wow! would love to know how they found it.
posted by Sassyfras at 6:04 PM on December 19, 2012

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