Can anyone remember this book?
February 25, 2007 4:26 AM   Subscribe

Lost childrens book! I'm trying to find this sci-fi book I read in 1978 but don't remember enough details to turn up anything useful on a web search.

I keep coming back to "the city underground" as the title, but it's not bringing me any results in web searches. The story is about an underground city (not Logan's Run) in which the residents are bald. The main characters are 2 kids who go off exploring and find an air shaft that brings them a glimpse of the outside world. They emerge in the woods of Canada or upstate New York area (don't ask why I think this). It's something to that effect anyway. I know this description sucks but honestly, in my head I can't help but merge all of the details with Logans Run. It was a 5th grade book so maybe 50-75 pages of large type. Not part of a short stories collection either. I'd love to find it for my son but I'm drawing blanks.

I read this book in 1978 and my older brother had read it 5 years or so before me so it's probably a late 60's or early 70's publication. I want to say it was for environmental reasons that the underground habitat came to pass but I am at a sheer loss for specifics. Surely someone else can at least recall the title or some detail of significance? I think if the right detail trigger is brought up I might remember more - I'm probably way off in my description as 30 years have washed away the details from my memory.

Help me hive mind, you're my only hope!
posted by jtoth to Writing & Language (8 answers total)
Sounds similar to City of Ember, but that was published in 2003. The closest I could find to a similar storyline was "Time of the Great Freeze" by Robert Silverberg:

Kirkus Reviews /* Starred Review */ A terrestial dust cloud had lowered the temperature of the sun's rays enough to bring on the second Ice Age and the world population had moved underground as city states burrowed in layers under the ice. Generations later, in 23,000 A.D., 17-year-old Jim Barnes, his father and colleagues were arrested for high treason. Only one rime in sub-ice New York city state was more serious than breach of the population control (each family is limited to one child) and that is to attempt contact with another city state. Jim's father and his friends had discovered that the temperature was rising-- the ice is going to start rolling back. In attempting to check their findings with another part of the world, they reach London by radio. Fear of change, fear of the unknown, distrust of a sky they've never seen, drives the senile city council to exile the group. A plug is bored out of the ice, and Jim along with a fully equipped party is set out into daylight to survive a trek across the frozen Atlantic to an equally fearful London by solar-powered sledge. Food, the weather and some abominable Ice Age men, who never went under, keep it a properly chilly story about the unification of a thawing world. You might call it an easy reader in science fiction. It has no invented planets, creatures or special language-- just an invented situation with possibilities that the dialogue doesn't consistently live up to, but that's just a small rough patch in the ice.
posted by icontemplate at 4:49 AM on February 25, 2007

Is it possibly the tripod series? It features baldness and air shafts and enclosed cities, and they were written in the late 60's. They were also famously serialized in Boys' Life, so anyone in boy scouts or cubs scouts in the late 70's / early 80's would be familiar with the story.
posted by ulotrichous at 6:15 AM on February 25, 2007

This Time of Darkness by HM Hoover?
posted by Lazlo Hollyfeld at 7:14 AM on February 25, 2007

you're my only hope!

Actually, if AskMe doesn't do it, the Fiction-L list is full of librarians who answer this sort of question all the time. It's free, too; just subscribe, ask your question and then unsubscribe when you're done.
posted by mediareport at 9:05 AM on February 25, 2007

It's "The City Under Ground" by Suzanne Martel. Loved that book when I was a kid.
posted by muhonnin at 9:13 AM on February 25, 2007

The City Under Ground" was originally published as Surreal 3000 in French.

Or so I assume.
posted by Seamus at 11:35 AM on February 25, 2007

Thank you Muhonnin, I knew I wasn't cracking up! I used "underground" as a single word, maybe thats why it didn't turn up anything.

Thanks to all for the insight on ways to locate lost books. The old memory isn't what it used to be and there are some books I need to rediscover yet.
posted by jtoth at 1:33 PM on February 25, 2007

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