THX 1138. Ben Bova (based on screenplay by George Lucas & Walter Murch)

THX 1138.
Ben Bova (based on screenplay by George Lucas & Walter Murch)
Warner: 1978

Reissued after the success of Star Wars, this book is sort of a dumbed-down version of 1984. Overall, it is quite good, and Ben Bova keeps us moving along at a fair clip.

The world of THX 1138 is living underground in vast, overcrowded cities, everyone takes mood pills to stay sedated (not taking drugs is a crime), sex is illegal, and everyone is constantly being monitored by cameras and police robots.

THX falls in love with LUH, a sex-born woman who secretly isn’t taking her pills. Plot is obvious from here with minor exception being that LUH turns out to be pregnant. She’s killed by the state while THX is in jail, but they save her fetus, renaming it LUH – it being more economical to save the name than think up a new one. THX is able to change the record on the fetus from sex-born to “natural” (meaning artificial), thus ensuring his baby a “normal” life.

THX escapes to edenic surface of the earth and vows to return to retrieve his daughter.