Read prophets of the ghost ants by Clark Thomas Carlton Online


Both familiar and fantastic, Clark T. Carlton’s Prophets of the Ghost Ants explores a world in which food, weapons, clothing, art—even religious beliefs—are derived from Humankind’s profound intertwining with the insect world. In a savage landscape where humans have evolved to the size of insects, they cannot hope to dominate. Ceaselessly, humans are stalked by night waspsBoth familiar and fantastic, Clark T. Carlton’s Prophets of the Ghost Ants explores a world in which food, weapons, clothing, art—even religious beliefs—are derived from Humankind’s profound intertwining with the insect world. In a savage landscape where humans have evolved to the size of insects, they cannot hope to dominate. Ceaselessly, humans are stalked by night wasps, lair spiders, and marauder fleas. And just as sinister, men are still men. Corrupt elites ruthlessly enforce a rigid caste system. Duplicitous clergymen and power-mongering royalty wage pointless wars for their own glory. Fantasies of a better life and a better world serve only to torment those who dare to dream. One so tormented is a half-breed slave named Anand, a dung-collector who has known nothing but squalor and abuse. Anand wants to lead his people against a genocidal army who fight atop fearsome, translucent Ghost Ants. But to his horror, Anand learns this merciless enemy is led by someone from his own family: a religious zealot bent on the conversion of all non-believers . . . or their extermination.A mix of Adrian Tchaikovsky’s Shadow of the Apt, Katherine Addison’s The Goblin Emperor, and Phillip Pullman’s Golden Compass, this is a powerful new addition to the genre. ...

Title : prophets of the ghost ants
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 33015187
Format Type : Kindle Edition
Number of Pages : 384 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

prophets of the ghost ants Reviews

  • Dan Schwent
    2019-04-02 21:35

    In a world where tiny humans live in symbiosis with insects, Anand is a half-breed of the lowest caste. When a new colony is to be formed, Anand is delighted at the prospect but soon finds himself living with a different clan and a new outlook. When the Ghost Ants attack his new home, Anand has a chance to change the world...This was on my radar for a long time and I couldn't resist when it popped up on Netgalley. I was not disappointed.While I'm not a fan of today's extruded fantasy product, originally scores big points with me and Prophets of the Ghost Ants has originality to spare. After a great cataclysm, the Earth is nearly destroyed and humans gradually evolve into being insect-sized for survival. Humans live in symbiosis with their gargantuan insect brethren and largely live in a caste system.You don't normally read a fantasy novel where insects play a prominent role and the main character is in charge of emptying the chamber pots of nobles. I really liked the use of the caste system, somewhat emulating the hierarchy of ants. I also liked that each clan lived in symbiosis with different insects, like roaches, different varieties of ants, and termites.Since it was a fantasy novel, you pretty much knew Anand was going to turn things upside down but I was surprised at the magnitude. It reminded me of Michael Moorcock's Elric books, only without so much genocide and melancholy. It was also very well thought out. There were no logical holes in the setting of the "Why don't they fly to Mordor on a giant eagle and drop the ring in the volcano" variety.It was a fun journey, watching Anand go from being a shit-scraper to the founder of a nation. The violence was harsh and there was a fair bit of smut in it, all the things I look for in a fantasy saga. Four out of five stars.

  • Mitticus
    2019-04-19 20:35

    +Digital copy gently provided by Netgalley in exchange for an honest review+{Note: If you are squeamish about bugs and eating bugs, this is so not your book ;P}Este es uno de esos libros que resulta algo dificil de encasillar dentro de un sólo género, parte diciendo que un meteorito cayó en la tierra y desaparecio la civilización, dejando sólo bichos gigantes y los humanos se achicaron. No. No es broma. Ahora si dejamos de lado la parte en que hay que creer que todos los mamiferos desaparecieron dejando solamente seres humanos ... es bastante entretenido. Por eso es que a algunas personas les parece que esto tal vez tendria mayor sentido si fuera en un planeta ajeno a la tierra. Y claro, después en lo que avanza la historia nos encontramos con una fantasía heroica en la que sólo esta ausente la magia.Bueno, los diminutos humanos han sobrevivido atando sus vidas a los grandes insectos organizados. Relación simbiótica, domesticación, parasitismo todo ello cabe aqui. Los humanos han establecido todo un panteon de dioses: hormiga, abeja, cucaracha, mantis, langosta, termita, etc. Su cultura esta entrelazada y basado en sus vidas, y una estratificación social rígida con reinas , sacerdotes, soldados y esclavos. No hay tecnologia, y la sociedad es una suerte de despotismo/hierocracia . La casta alta son de piel 'clara y amarilla'.Anand , el protagonista, es un muchacho de la casta más baja dentro de los Slopeites, y es fácil identificarlo con la casta de los intocables que continua cargando excrementos hoy en dia. Esta 'contaminado' y , horror, su piel es oscura. Su cultura adora a la Reina Hormiga de los cortadores de hojas.Anand no tiene super poder ni nada parecido, pero cuenta con una visión diferente del mundo del resto de su casta porque su madre es una Britasyte, la gente de las cucarachas (que son una especie de gitanos vagabundos que actuan como mercaderes ), quien le ha enseñado habilidades diferentes a agachar la cabeza mientras recoge excremento y desmembra cadaveres. Él esta esperando cumplir 16 para dejar de pertenecer a los Slopeites e irse con los Brytasites.---“Boy of Two Tribes, do you know why you were named ‘Anand’?”Anand looked at his mother. “No,” he said. “Anand means ‘worker’ in the Slopeish tongue.”“But in our old tongue it means something else,” said Zedral. “It means ‘spanner,’ a link between two worlds, like the bridge that runs through the Tar Marsh to the Dustlands.” ---Pero cuando es parte de los obligados a partir para formar una nueva colonia en el norte, es cuando se expande aun más su vision del mundo al encontrarse con una cultura totalmente diferente: los Dranverites (a quien sigo pensando como 'Colores de Benatton'), que son una especie de utopia democrática. Mientras tanto, desde el sur los Hulkrites (adoradores de Hulkro, dios Termita) han decidido expander su santa palabra contra los infieles. Ellos me recuerdan a esos tipos de la última pelicula Mad Max, incluso se pintan de blanco.¿¿Que hara ahora Anand con todo lo aprendido?? (view spoiler)[ No se porque, pero en muchos momentos me recuerda al protagonista de No Caigan las Tinieblas, tratando por todos los medios que las cosas salgan a su modo, mientras que el resto 'se arranca con los tarros', y actua en contra de lo que el esta tratando de hacer para mejorar sus vidas. Arrastrar a toda una sociedad esclavizada a hacer algo contrario a todo lo que han creido toda su vida es mucho más dificil de lo que vive este muchacho que aun no llega a los 21 segun mis cuentas.(hide spoiler)]Sr. Carlton: ¿¿DÓNDE ESTA LA SEGUNDA PARTE DE ESTE LIBRO??Pese a que este llega a una conclusion, se ve claramente que queda muuucho por hacer, a la par de varias cosas pendientes cofPlekoocof.--“You’ll need to make your own red ink,” said Dwan, “and add a couple of drops of your own blood.” “Blood? Why?” Anand asked. “Because our history is a bloody one.” --------------------------------------------------- I stay up until 5 am for two days just to keep reading this book.This is one of those books that is difficult to classify within a single genre, part saying that a meteorite fell on the earth and civilization disappeared, leaving only giant bugs and humans shrank. No, it's not a joke. Now if we put aside the part where we have to believe that all the mammals disappeared leaving only human beings ... it is quite entertaining. That is why some people think that this might make more sense if it were on a planet outside the earth. And of course, later as advances the story we find aheroic fantasyin which only the magic is absent.Well, the tiny humans have survived tying their lives to the big organized bugs. Symbiotic relationship, domestication, parasitism all fit here.Humans have established a whole pantheon of gods: ant, bee, cockroach, mantis, lobster, termite, etc. Their culture is intertwined and based on their lives, and there is a rigid social stratification with queens, priests, soldiers and slaves. There is no technology, and society is a kind of despotism/hierocracy. The higher caste have skin 'fair and yellow'.Anand, the protagonist, is a boy of the lowest caste within the Slopeites (and it is easy to identify him with the caste of the untouchables that continues to carry excrement today). He is 'polluted' and, horror, his skin isdark . Their culture adores the Queen Ant of leaf cutters.Anand has no superpower or anything like that, but he has a different view of the world from the rest of his caste because his mother is a Britasyte, the roach people (who are some sort of vagrant gypsies who act as merchants), who has taught him different abilities -as hunting- to duck his head while collecting excrement and dismembering corpses. He is hoping to turn 16 y.o. to stop belonging to the Slopeites and leave with the Brytasites.But when he became part of the people forced to start a new colony in the north, it is when it expands even more his vision of the world when encountering a totally different culture: the Dranverites (whom I still think of as 'United Colors of Benetton') , which are a kind of democratic utopia.Meanwhile, from the south the Hulkrites (worshipers of Hulkro, god Termite) have decided to expander their holy word against the infidels. They remind me of those guys from the last movie Mad Max, they even paint them in white.What will Anand do now with all that he has learned? (view spoiler)[ I do not know why, but at times it reminds me of the protagonist of Lest Darkness Fall, trying by all means that things go his way, while the rest ignored it, and acts against he is trying to do to improve. To drag an entire enslaved society to do something contrary to everything they have believed their whole life is much more difficult than what this boy -that still does not reach 20 according to my accounts- is experimenting(hide spoiler)]Mr. Carlton: WHERE IS THE SECOND PART OF THIS BOOK ??Although this comes to a conclusion, it is clear that much remains to be done, along with several outstanding things coughPlekoocough.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>

  • Gertie
    2019-04-11 01:23

    I think we can all agree that authors are creative, technically speaking. Writing is creative by its nature, but it isn't always that... adventurous. When most people use the word creative they mean something more akin to unique/original/unusual, and this book definitely lands in that category. Many times while reading it I'd find myself thinking "Whaaa? how does he come up with this shit??" (That's good shit, not bad shit, folks.)I honestly wasn't quite sure what to expect when I began it, and at 31% in I had one of those "oh god, I have THAT much left to read??" moments, but then I forged ahead and became more engrossed in the world as I got further into the book.The whole idea of humans being tiny, like... the size of one of these letters, was really intriguing. Plus of course, having their world being so intertwined with the world of the insects was fascinating. I think the author did a great job of creating a highly detailed, unique, memorable world. Here's where we get to the part I'm torn about. The world in this book is very brutal. That's one of the things I didn't like about it, although that's like saying I don't like that water is clear. It is what it is, because the brutality is part of that world and required for the story. Some folks love to read about wars and fighting; I'm just not one of them. (I do like the occasional battles between smaller groups though.) The brutality and harshness of the characters made them a little harder to connect to. But again, for them to be different, it would have changed the whole flavor of the world. They've been fighting for their survival for centuries and have apparently by necessity regressed to some behavior and perspectives that humans would like to outgrow. Now they're struggle is to regain some of the compassion, justice, and equality that was lost over the ages. That's where Anand comes in...Anand was pretty cool. I didn't always buy his character (I didn't always understand why he was so different from everyone else) but I enjoyed following him around. He was the primary character, although some time was spent describing what was happening with other pivotal characters occasionally. Anand was key though - and fortunately he is a pretty respectable guy (although like I said before, still had some of that brutality going on).Oh, and this book was absolutely DISGUSTING! Which I kind of loved. :-P Seriously, the things these people ate, oh my god... truly pukeworthy. It would make a really interesting movie, but I would have to close my eyes a lot. :-P This is a very "visual" book. There are so many curious creatures and objects and interactions that you can't get through a page without an interesting picture show up in your mind. I'd just love to see some illustrations from this book.One more thing, if you read this, don't be a dumbass like me and completely overlook the fact that there is a map included; it could come in handy. It could also use a glossary, which it doesn't have. Usually when I pick up a book and it has those things I think "oh oh" and am tempted to put it away. But, this was a pretty complex world, between the different cities, types of ants and insects, religions, etc. It becomes difficult to track after a while. Still, even with the confusion, I enjoyed this book once I got settled into this intriguing new world.Footnote addition 6 months after reading:Memorability Factor 9/10 (My memory sucks but I remember this one better than most!)Follow this author? Probably. I don't know if I want more of this particular story, but would be interested to see what other things this author might cook up.

  • H.M. Ada
    2019-04-04 17:47

    It's often said that a story is "larger than life." Here, by shrinking humans down to one ten thousandth of their current size, that statement is literally true.The world in this book is gigantic, and so are the (insect) monsters that inhabit it, the human empires that attempt to control it, and the mystery. From the very beginning, I liked and empathized with Anand, and even though you know from the description that he will rise from the bottom caste of society to heroically lead his people, you can't help but feel for him and root for him every step of the way. He and the other characters are all believable, and I especially enjoyed the political intrigue between the royals. As the story develops, there is a very interesting religious component. It's a commentary on organized religion that draws parallels to our own world, and makes the reader think and question without telling you what to think. I loved the symbolism of the Dranverites smashing their idols and the description of their "Loose Doctrine."If there was one thing that I didn't like, it's that through most of the book, the main character seems almost too perfect. He is brave and outspoken, almost always knows what to do, attractive - and women always want to sleep with him and end up being very satisfied. I was bothered a little bit by the fact that he seemed to enjoy some of the last part a little too much, especially given the fact that women in this world had very little power and some were forced to sleep with him (and he with them for the sake of "the mission.") I saw this as a deeper flaw that wasn't really addressed in the book. Maybe other readers won't judge him as harshly though. Also, the very last page of the book cut back a little bit on him being a perfect hero, in a very interesting way. I wouldn't necessarily call it a plot twist, but it definitely added some more complexity to his character and the story, and made me think. There's violence and a little gore in the story, but it's necessary, because this is a story about a harsh world. Also, the final battle is nothing short of epic. Overall, I loved this story and really got lost in it. Something else to note, when I picked up this copy, it wasn't possible to buy it new, I could only buy used. There is a new illustrated version though, which covers the first fourth of this book. I reviewed that version here:

  • Clark Carlton
    2019-04-06 00:19

    Selected as a Best of 2011 by Kirkus Reviews.Available as a paperback at and as an e-book for Kindle, Nook, iBook and at Smashwords and Lulu.I wrote the novel I always wanted to read. Hope you love it too. Here is the review from Kirkus: "In this postapocalyptic science-fiction allegory, diminutive tribal humans share the world, and a deeply intertwined society, with hordes of insects.Anand, the despised young lower-caste protagonist of Carlton’s innovative novel, knows perfectly well how his life will unfold. He slaves in the filthy middens of his human colony, marked by skin color, scent and even body posture as inferior to the higher classes of humans who run the colony and serve the queen. In this postapocalyptic version of human society, where humans have evolved to the size of insects in response to the planet’s diminshing resources, someone like Anand has no hope of rising above his station or changing his life. His only hope is to grow old working in peace rather than be killed by the myriad insectoid menaces that stalk his world. (The author expertly shifts his narrative pacing for violent scenes that crop up frequently in the novel and are intensely memorable.) But when word comes that his colony is splitting up, sending a queen and a host of workers to found a new colony, fate offers Anand a chance to become more than he’s ever dreamed. “The history of our land is always written in blood,” one character tells him, but in addition to blood there’s doctrine here—Carlton has a surprising amount to say about organized religion and its heresies (the so-called Loose Doctrine of Dranveria plays a major role in the book), and approaches his commentary with drama and intelligence. Anand becomes something of a firebrand, insisting “No idol, book, word, place or relic should ever be held sacred…Only human life is sacred.” The complications he faces in his rise to power make for a gripping read.The wobbly science of its premise notwithstanding, this is a fascinating, enjoyable sci-fi yarn." Perry Crowe, Kirkus Reviews

  • Faye, la Patata
    2019-04-10 18:21

    Okay, here goes.I first saw this title in the Goodreads group Apocalypse Whenever when it was in their bookshelf. I thought the title was very unique and intriguing so that pushed me to look it up on Amazon and buy myself a copy. I do admit that I wasn't expecting a lot... I mean, ants? I didn't think anybody could possibly make a good story out of those insects... but after reading the introduction, I knew I was in for a roller coaster ride.I don't want to spoil the story and summarize the novel, so I'll make this quick and brief. The setting was very original. I haven't yet read any book where humans and ants are of the same size and where the latter is used as tools for everyday life (foraging, riding, warfare), so it was very refreshing. Oftentimes, a lot of authors don't pull it off successfully, so I give the author of this book an applause for being able to write a good novel of such a setting. Story-wise, it's something you've seen before - a rags to riches kind of plot. We're introduced to a boy who is seen as an outcast because of his mother who was from a tribe of roaches, and with his good heart, courage, and determination, was able to squirm out of his misery and became someone far greater and revered by all. While that itself is not original, it's not something that's dragging thanks to the unique setting of this book. If there was one thing I didn't like about him, it was that he was too likable!! haha, if that makes sense. I didn't find any real flaw, and while that's not bad, oftentimes, it makes the character one dimensional and boring. Fortunately, that wasn't the case in this book, and for that I'm glad. I was also happy that while there was romance, the story didn't revolve around it. Writing-wise, the author did an excellent job. Chapters were nice, some long but are not dragging, some short but they don't feel like they "lack" something. All were substantial chapters and nothing felt like a filler. I loved the fact that there was no abuse of details. In these kind of books, authors tend to drag on and on describing everything. Thankfully, the author knew better and it makes the book a more fulfilling and meaningful read. There are just enough that the readers are able to catch up and understand the new terms and technicalities. The writing also was very well done to the point that it successfully makes you feel empathy to the main character and the obstacles that he goes through. He embarrasses a royal and you go "Yay! You go, hero!" and when he gets into hot water, you go, "Nooo!" All in all, a good read and I can't wait to read the second book!!!

  • Lisa Reads & Reviews
    2019-04-05 00:29

    I was strangely compelled to read this novel. The cover, the title, the premise of humans evolving down to the size of insects and learning to use each to their advantage - appeared all very creative and amazing. And it was. I was thoroughly immersed in a world of ants, termites, wasps, locusts, and tiny humans. Very cool. The description of life, clothing, food, and social structure was rich, fascinating and well told. The major conflict was important, and close to my heart - moral reaction against the enslavement of people through a caste system with all the complexities of attempting to free minds and hearts that have been downtrodden and starved. The story addresses the lies and ploys of those in power to stay in power. It doesn't flinch at aggression, cruelty nor fear, neither human nor insect. Truly, the novel has fantastic potential for future adventures. Now for the elements I felt took some luster off the gem, and these are only my personal tastes. I'm fine with an Alexander The Great -type hero, who at a tender age is able to conquer more experienced leaders and nations - mainly because people get set in their ways and don't listen to new ideas, or youth. My distaste was for the hero's juvenile approach to women, sex, and romantic relationships. Now I might sound like a feminist, but really, I'm speaking from a female point of view when I say I don't admire a mythic hero, on his way to becoming viewed as a prophet when he freely murders from anger, rapes victims (even if he does apologize), and belly laughs after impregnating a queen who is horrified to discover who he is - even if she deserves it. The hero is a mixed bag of honor and vindictiveness, with more than a touch of young male recklessness and rationalization. At times I was annoyed with him. At others, I cheered him on. Nothing wrong with all that, but rape scenes starring the hero was a bit of a downer, as were the shallow and "convenient" thoughts and actions of many of the female characters(not all, just some). The writing was good, but small things, such as POV changes, sometimes mid-paragraph, would have gotten my wrists whacked. When I learned that this novel was published as a proof of concept for a film and/or graphic novel, everything made more sense. The intended audience was broader than I imagined. Also, I realized that I had visualized everything in a graphic novel sort of way. Interesting. Anyway, I do recommend this story and commend the author for the mighty amount of work put into the writing of it. I expect Anand will mature into a full fledged prophet during the remainder of the trilogy. It is a world in progress.

  • Shahrun
    2019-04-07 00:48

    I am obliged to mention that I won my copy of this book from GoodReads First Reads Giveaways. However, this review is strictly my own opinion!This book totally blew me away. I have never read anything like it before. It sucked me in from the first page. I found it very well written and easy to follow. It is a very interesting look at people, religion and society. Mr Carlton has a fantastic imagination. I really hope there is a sequel. I am most definitely keeping my copy, but I will buy some to give away as Christmas Presents!

  • Montzalee Wittmann
    2019-04-19 17:44

    Prophets of the Ghost Ants (Kindle Edition) by Clark Thomas Carlton is a fabulous book I was allowed to read from NetGalley and the book publishers. I thought it was going to be a middle grade children's book but it is an young adult/adult fantasy book. It is very detailed in it's world building. The social structure is defined in all the communities so wonderfully including the caste systems, religion, dress, food, courtship, jobs, war, etc. The bigger picture also of how the different communities interact, the world view, and all the smaller tidbits that would be overlooked it but brought to light in this amazing book. It is a time after the big boulder has struck and great famine. Man, to avoid hunger, has evolved smaller and then smaller. This is an age when man is as small as an insect and interacts in the insect world. It is totally fascinating and I can not stress enough the detailed imagination that went into this. Unfortunately, the cruelty of man did not evolve out of him. Shown in the prejudice of the caste system, the wars, the slavery, and more. But love, valor, and bravery is there also. It is a clever book, long, but full of intense wonder and creativity.

  • Kate Sherrod
    2019-04-21 17:20

    Oh man. Ever hear about a book that sounded so exactly like it was written just for you that you were almost afraid to read it because there was no possible way it was as brain-explodingly awesome as you desperately wanted it to be and so you let a whole year go by between OMG MUST BUY NOW purchase and actually starting to read it?I mean, come on, tiny, tiny humans who ride ants and locusts around like horses! Who share mounds and pheromone signatures with various species of ants! As if Edmund O. Wilson started writing science fiction! Or at least epic fantasy! I mean, who's been peeking at my Christmas list?So yeah, my expectations for this were unreasonably high going in, and I had to sort of grit my teeth and risk them being unmet to even start reading this book. The question thus becomes: were they met?More like confounded. Prophets of the Ghost Ants is one of the most unusual novels I've ever read, and may genuinely qualify as unique. Though I suppose there might be some who want to describe it as Dune with insects, that still doesn't quite capture it. For one thing, the fanatical monotheistic desert tribe are the bad guys. Though there is something very Muad'Dib-ish about our hero.Anand*, starts out life as the lowest of the low, a bottom-of-the-heap half-caste** among a vast tribe of humans-and-leafcutter ants (the humans are essentially parasitizing the ants, but no one but Anand ever wants to face up to that fact) but soon learns a bit more about his true heritage and special destiny, like so many fantasy heroes do. In this case, it's because his mother came from a tribe of roach-herders, and while this bit of interbreeding makes Anand even more revolting to the leafcutter people, the roach-herders think he's destined to improve their lot, by improving the way they get treated. He gets betrothed to a very pretty girl and just has to wait until he's sixteen to take up his exalted role in his mother's tribe.But until then, he's stuck being an ant guy. And when the human queen of the leafcutter tribe gives birth to a daughter, by tradition and necessity, the mound must fission (after the fashion of anthills), with a certain percentage of the mound's ant and human populations striking off to found a new colony elsewhere. Guess who has to go with them.Even worse: there are other populations of insects-and-people out there, also expanding their territories. And some of them don't like what leafcutters do to the landscape, no, not at all. And while some of them are secular, somewhat happy-go-lucky quasi-anarchist/demarchist types who ridicule the idea that people should be as socially stratified as ants, some others are religious fantatics, who live with and ride the titular ghost ants (though for the purposes of this book, ghost ants are all the way transparent, and don't just have see-through abdomens. Oh, and they're also huge [for ants] and aggressive as hell, so, um, yeah) and won't rest until all the humans in their world worship the termite god who originally gave them succor in the desert to which their founders were banished long ago -- a desert caused by the defoliating, despoiling ways of the leafcutter tribes. D'oh!So in the midst of its speculations about what life might be like for a humanity that is the only vertebrate land animal to survive a series of stellar disasters, and could only do so by evolving into something as small as the arthopods that are the planet's only other survivors, Prophets of the Ghost Ants is at bottom a clash of civilizations. The leafcutter tribe is top-down, its rigid social structure not dictated so very much by its coexistence with/parasitism on its ants as by a set of inherited religious beliefs enforced by a fat and lazy priestly caste; the anarchic freedom-lovers are willing to live and let live as long as no one tries to coerce anybody; the ghost ant riders are a dire threat to both. And moving among them all as a sort of triple (if not quadruple) agent is Anand, emissary to the leafcutters from the democracy, spy on the ghost ant fanatics, but really only looking to reconnect with his beloved roach tribe and his destined bride. Would I have enjoyed this without the insect angle? Probably not nearly as much, since stripped of its entomological content it would just be another bog standard fantasy plot, albeit with a welcome attention to the idea that feudalism isn't the only way to go, with a little bit of Moses of the Mandricanthites thrown in for good measure.What saved it for me was the little things, like for instance, the way that water behaves in this world, which Carlton got very, very right. At the scale of an ant, surface tension becomes much more of a force than we experience at this scale; an ant can pick up a drop of water, hold it above its head, and collapse it into its mouth.**** And this is very much in evidence in Prophets of the Ghost Ants, as when Anand, in a highly symbolic gesture, "made a show of dunking his hands in the bulging dome of water in the basin." This coupled with details about scents and pheromones, and the relish with which Anand plays on the fact that even in this world, most people have an unreasoning fear/disgust reaction to roaches, kept it fun for me.Oh, and the battle scenes. I think Carlton had the most fun cooking those up and imagining all the different military applications for, e.g., rhinocerous beetles and night wasps and locusts, oh my. Wonder if he's read Jeff Lockwood.Of course it turns out this is merely book one of a planned "Antasy" trilogy. Aren't they all. Except, well, he had me at Antasy.*This is the second time in as many books I've run into an important character seemingly named after an important disciple of the Buddha; a professor in Nexus was explicitly so named, as befits a Thai monk and teacher. Here, though, we only get sly references to the possible, er, additive qualities of such a name. Amusing coincidence, anyway.**It's one of the conceits* of Prophet of the Ghost Ants that the teeny tiny humans adopt the rigid social structures of the species with which they co-habitate, from a queen who gives birth to multiple (as in five or six) sons almost every time (daughters are rare, and have consequences) and who actually rules the mound through, in the case of Anand's leafcutter ant people, 127 castes of worker. *And this novel has many conceits, starting with the idea that humans that tiny would still be as intelligent and neurologically plastic as you and I are, though I'm not sure a brain reduced to that scale could possibly be complex enough? Anyway, this strikes me as almost as funny as the stereotypical giant human-sized insect scenario which I know for a fact is physically impossible because the muscle-to-exoskeleton ratio of creatures that big would not allow them to move at all. So what; we've rolled with Them! all this time, so I can roll with ant-sized people with human-sized intellects. And yes, this is my first footnote of a footnote. I'm turning into David Foster Wallce.***He has written some literary fiction, Anthill, but I've yet to read it.****I first learned of this from Richard P. Feynman. Yes, that Feynman. Of the diagrams and figuring out what went wrong with Challenger. He was a curious character.

  • Eric
    2019-03-27 00:26


  • Shanna
    2019-04-04 01:48

    I was very intrigued when I read the synopsis of Prophets of the Ghost Ants. Always a favorite, the underdog fights the system to free the slaves and create democracy across the Queendoms. The most compelling aspect of the novel is it's original story. Humans evolving 1/1000th of their original sizes. Red-blooded animals are extinct. Insects rule the planet alongside humans. It was very interesting to read the descriptions of this macroscopic world from a microscopic perspective. I became engrossed in the development of this new world so eloquently imagined by Clark. I found the plot very well constructed and easy to follow. That may seem like a minor compliment; however at one point, the story follows up to three different story-lines that all collide for the climax. It gets tricky. There are a lot of parallels among characters, but the hurdles they face and the choices they ultimately make force them down different paths. I would say it is easy to mix up, however, as I mentioned, Clark has written a novel that is reader-friendly.The new world created has changed my view on insects. The roles they play in coordination with humans are very important. The roles also seem like common sense after you read the novel, however I think that Clark spent some time in the dirt to study and observe their natural habits. All of the details were covered (castes systems, food, clothing, social structure, and relationships which include human:human, insect:insect, and insect:human). I'm very supportive of new authors. I believe that makes me slightly more lenient on little grammatical mistakes and writing styles. My only complaints are that occasionally (very rarely) there were a few misplaces periods, "then" was used rather than "than", and sometimes Anand was chauvinistic. I am supportive of women, but I am not a super feminist. That's why it didn't bother me when Anand had such an impersonal view of sex, when he raped victims and apologized for it later, and when he willingly engaged in sexual acts with other women other than his betrothed despite the fact that he had been smitten with Daveena since he met her. In addition, as a woman, I don't think that I would encourage my husband/fiance to sleep with someone else just to confirm him status in society. I guess I do sound like a feminist. I just think that it could be considered risky to make such a strong male character for a new author because it MIGHT limit the target audience to males-- or at least decrease the amount of female readers.Prophets of the Ghost Ants is a new generation of fantasy-science fiction novels. The story line (thankfully) leaves much room for sequels, but the story doesn't feel incomplete. Anand leaves you feeling satisfied in the end. I found a lot of parallels between the fight for democracy and the religious wars. I won't go into further details for fear of ruining the book. Overall, the novel is full of action, adventure, violence, sex, love, hate, fear, freedom, hope, and ants.

  • Heather
    2019-04-02 00:21

    Let me start by saying, I love books that are different and outside the box. If you're looking for something 'normal' this book isn't for you.Having said that, I very much enjoyed this book. I started reading this yesterday afternoon and found I absolutely couldn't put it down. The concept of the evolution of mankind fascinated me. In a world where all mammals, birds and reptiles have died from a lack of resources, the human race have ferociously clung to life by slowly shrinking to the size of ants.The story starts with a young man named Anand, whose brown skin and clipped ear mark him as the lowest caste and an outsider. Tired of being considered "Polluted" by the higher castes Anand is happy to get the chance to leave the mound. By drawing a yellow chip, Anand is chosen to leave with the young queen and her new laborers to the new mound. This journey leads to adventures Anand didn't think was possible.There's lots of twists and turns that keep you glued to the pages. Prophets of the Ghost Ants has so many intriguing details and facts without being overloaded with useless information. Its a story that's a must read and I would definitely recommend this book to others. I on the other hand, will be eagerly awaiting on the next installment.

  • Matthew Blake
    2019-04-11 21:28

    I'm not normally an impulse buyer, but when I saw a sidebar ad for this book I knew I had to grab it up. I immediately got it for my Kindle and delved in, and am so glad that I did.Mr. Carlton has created an amazingly unique and rich world, one where humans are the size of insects. Though not traditional fantasy, the small stature of the humans basically puts them in a fantasy world, one where grass can form a forest, tents can be made out of leaves, and what would be a mile for us is like the other side of the world.Though long, the book never feels long as the pacing is so good. Unlike a certain unnamed fantasy series that just seems to drag on with nothing major in the plot moving forward, Clark Thomas Carlton knows how to pace a book. Action-packed and full of drama, there is always something going on in this book.Can't wait to read the next novel in the series. I have a feeling this is going to be a huge thing, and I'm glad to be among the first group to discover this amazing book.

  • Kyliecallme
    2019-04-07 20:30

    This.... Is one of the best books I've read all year. Possibly even one of my all time favorites! The premise is a *smidge* unbelievable - That humans in the future have evolved (devolved) down to the size of insects, and actually cohabitate with them in clans separated by type. But not so unbelievable that it dragged me out of the story. FAR from it! I literally couldn't put the book down and inhaled it in less than 2 days. (I'm absolutely terrified of ALL insects & *still* I loved it. That's saying something.)Lovely, flowing prose. (Brought to mind "The Bees" and a bit of "The Golden Compass".) Themes of racism/discrimination (of COURSE tiny bug size humans discriminate based on whose "patron" insect is higher class! Lol...) I don't do spoilers so I don't want to say too much. Suffice it to say, I never wanted it to end!I HOPE the author writes the sequel soon!! Honestly, I loved it so much, I'll most likely read it again later this month. SUCH an amazing read!

  • Susan
    2019-04-05 23:30

    I received a copy of this book from the author, in exchange for a fair and honest review. This is a really somewhat unique and interesting story, I really enjoyed reading it. The integration of humans with insects and other consequences of their shared lives is really well done and draws you into the story. After a little bit of a slow start, the story really picks up and invests the reader further into wanting to know the outcome, with plenty of action and surprises, but also nicely developed characters and personal stories. I'm happy to give it a good review, and I recommend it highly. I have to wonder if there may be another in the series in the future ;)

  • Mike
    2019-04-14 22:19

    Glad I stumbled on this novel which is the work of a strange and powerful imagination. The opening page features the hero getting slobbered over by a blow fly on his daily trip to the dump. It just gets stranger and more inventive after that. This is a world where tiny humans, as small as ants, are living as the parasites of insects. It will take you far, far away to a world you have never seen yet is kinda like our own. I'm blown away. Carleton has a lot to say about race, religion, sexism and tribalism but he's also written a damn good adventure. Warning: it's not a novel for the faint-of-heart. Some of the details are grisly, much of the content is dark, and when insects are a major food source, some of the meals here are gross-outs. The hero, Anand, travels many lands, and one of them is an enlightened society where there is religious tolerance and an intolerance of racism. It's a place where women not just share power but seem to dominate the military and political institutions, a feminist utopia where the greatest aims are peace and prosperity for all and where only defensive wars are waged. Later Anand ends up in an opposite place where a warrior tribe are intent on converting the world to its fundamentalist worship of their termite/moon god (!!!) a place where women have no status except as mothers to future warriors, and where slavery and brutality are the norm. Some of that is hard to stomach but its true to Carleton's themes. His hero is a gifted teenager, but he's no paragon. He makes mistakes in his mission to change his world, compromises his own morality, and lies when it suits or amuses him (kind of like Holden Caulfield). All the way to the last page, Anand can't completely overcome his own "tribal indoctrination" and leaves one boiling pot of water to end up in a cauldron of it. I liked him, but I wanted to smack him too.Carleton is one of those all omniscient writers like Tolkien, Frank Herbert and Pratchett who likes to head hop which may turn some people off and his prose is both meaty and intricate and a little (probably intentionally) archaic -- it reminds me of certain Indian writers. And just as I was getting into the story of Anand and his adventures, the story switches to that of Queen Polexeema who is almost as important a character. I was wondering just how and when their stories were going to intersect and it doesn't happen until about 250 pages later! The world building here is complete and so vivid but the beginning does have some expositional passages to get through until the arrival of the ghost ants and the Hulkrites. After that it flies and I could only put it down for trips to the toilet. In that way it reminded me of Lord of the Rings which takes some time before the quest begins. The story really is fantastic. Looking forward to the sequel and in withdrawal until its arrival.

  • Rebecca
    2019-04-08 01:23

    I wasn't entirely sure what to expect of this book when I picked it up, it goes against the usual sci-fi giant insects and instead turns it on it's head and has evolution shrinking down the human race, who then rely on the insects populations to survive. This is made immediately obvious with Anand, the main protagonist, having his face slavered over by a fly in the first chapter (giving me horrible flashbacks to invertebrate biology lab sessions). Anand is a character who I'm not entirely sure that I like, at times I sympathise greatly with his cause and at other times I feel extremely frustrated with his choices. The justification of his war to provide the slope with a more Dranverian world view whilst he eschewed all their beliefs was possibly the most infuriating thing for me, so I was more than pleased with the letter he received at the end of the book, thus providing him with the bitter-sweet feeling that he should have at the very least had. I would like to think it may ensure the arrogance that occasionally shows through his character is kept in check in a potential second book.I think that is maybe the biggest point in this book, that Anand and his cousin Pleckoo are so alike, both justifying their depravities for the greater good, but just what are those greater goods? This book certainly pushes the darker issues with religion influencing war and culture which certainly makes the reader think whenever they get to the end of a chapter. This was most certainly the case for me after the rape chapters, which left me very uncomfortable with some actions.All in all, I really enjoyed the book and when I picked it up I invariably ended up reading for longer than I had set aside to do so. Clark Carlton has a nice and easy, readable style which is nicely balanced and not forcing too much descriptive prose onto the reader which can often be a real issue in 'alternate reality' style novels. Looking forward to the next installment.I do have to say that I received this book free through Goodreads First Reads.

  • Matt Goodman
    2019-03-31 22:35

    Prophets of the Ghost ants:As a VERY picky, lifelong fan of sci-fi & fantasy -- novels, movies and television, it gives me great joy to give a "stand up and shout" positive review of Prophets of the Ghost Ants. Where your typical sci-fi and fantasy novels tread all to familiar worlds filled with tired tropes and overtly named characters or are pulled from the worst of the Joseph Campbell school of heroes, Ghost Ants delivers not only in the fully realized world it pulls us into but also with characters that are yes, familiar, but also as fresh as the core concept itself.Set in an inconceivably far-flung future where Human beings are literally reduced ( shrunk actually, yes I know, but I got over this hitch in the concept quickly, it just works) to the bottom of the planetary ecosystem, the human societies of Ghost Ants are original in all the right places but also remind us of the rich tapestries of Herbert's Dune, Laloux's Fantastic Planet and Burroughs; John Carter of Mars series.In short, Ghost Ants is that rare gem of science-fiction -- as thought provoking and relevant as it is fantastical and entertaining. Poetic in tone, epically cinematic in scale, The heroic adventures of Annand, the simple "roach boy" who rises above his class to lead his people to freedom is just that...a revelation in well-wrought storytelling that screams for continued adventures. A sci-fi epic with a "Vedic" heart of anti-caste environmentalism, yet at its core, a rip-roaring action story filled with massive battles, "giant" monsters and the kind of castle intrigue and royal backstabbing akin to the classics, round out this rousing adventure tale.We are sure to see more of Annand and his fantastic world, the question now is... how long must we wait. I highly recommend.

  • Maxine
    2019-03-27 23:21

    Prophets of the Ghost Ants take place in a postapocalyptic world in which humans have shrunk to the size of insects. They also interact with insects - they domesticate some for food and riding, they even worship them, and too often they are killed by them.Anand is a member of the lowest caste in his colony, untouchable and unable to make a better life for himself or his family. However, when a new princess is born and the colony is splitting, by luck he is chosen to travel to the new tribe. On the way, the caravan is attacked and Anand finds himself in a new world where all men (and women) are equal, where people can worship who and what they want or nothing if they choose, where, even in war, killing is considered wrong.This is a very unique novel. Clarkson uses ant colonies to deal with such weighty issues as politics and religion and he manages to make them interesting. I should warn you, Clarkson is obviously not a fan of organized religion and its doctrines, something I have no problem with but, if you are one who takes offense at even a mild poke at religion, you might want to give this one a pass.There is also a lot of violence in this book although I didn't feel that any was gratuitous. There was also a lot of love - between Anand and his parents, between him and his friends and between him and Daveena, the woman he loves and who he must rescue from another, more warlike colony.I really liked this book - I liked the story, the characters, the action (although, honestly, I could have done with a little less of the bug feedings), its message but, most of all, I liked its intelligence. Definitely, a high recommendation from me!

  • T.K. Toppin
    2019-03-26 19:27

    This book had me up late in the night, thinking I would read 'just one more chapter...' I couldn't put it down. It is blatantly clear that the author is an avid observer of bugs - everything from their appearance to their behaviour and everything in between. The tale itself can be described as a sort of 'coming of age' story, following the life and adventures of Anand, a young teenager in a world where humans have evolved to a size smaller than ants. Humans and insects live together in colonies, much like the ants and termites and roaches they live with. The sheer imagination of Clark Thomas Carlton's work is incredible. If you are squeamish, hate bugs, cannot fathom the idea of eating roach eggs or sucking the lymph from a mites leg, then don't read this book. This book has it all, from the intricate social structure Carlton created, to the imaginative culinary delights and to the jaw-dropping military tactics that had me flipping pages! To say this was Anand's story is just a pebble dropped in a pond. This was more of an ensemble tale that touched on several character's lives and weaved together through their association with Anand. Brilliant work. I look forward to its sequel!

  • Kristin
    2019-04-22 01:19

    Loved it! This book was out of this world. Literally.Set amongst the bugs, this book will not let you down. The detailed descriptions of the social settings in each group of humans and bugs alike are fantastic and complex.Anand is perfect for a main character. He experiences hardships at the beginning and I love how it ties in to how he grows and matures throughout the story.The end lost me a little with all the action of a battle, but not to much. The ending left me wanting more...EXELLENT!

  • Erin
    2019-04-21 17:41

    I graciously received a free book from goodreads first reads.From the cover of this book, I thought it was going to be a childish, mildly humorous book. I was wrong in a good way! This book was very thought provoking and kept me engaged from beginning to end. It has caste systems, war, and love all wrapped into one book. Hoping for a sequel!I would recommend this book to anyone and everyone!

  • Annette
    2019-04-05 19:31

    This book was in my library for ever, I have no idea why I waited so long to read it. Absolutely amazing! Like a three ring circus with something for everyone, adventure, war, romance. What I liked most was the attention to detail, what the hero was wearing, what everything looked and smelled like. The book really was a treat

  • Ctgt
    2019-03-27 00:33

    Overall, I liked the book, but there were a several times throughout the story when I found myself questioning why some situations were concluded so quickly. Some threads were fleshed out while others just seemed to be glossed over. I won't spoil things but it happened more than once for me. I'm not sure that I will follow up with the rest of the series.

  • Shannon Colleary
    2019-04-05 19:37

    Clark Carlton's mind-bending never-before-seen sci-fi world blew me away. The intricate detail in which he's wrought the world of human relying on insects and their caste system reminds me of the way Tolkein created his world and J.K Rowling created hers. It's a must read for anyone who loves to mind trip.

  • Heather
    2019-04-22 22:36

    I read the preview and I found it very intriguing, so im hoping to get to read the rest of it. :-)

  • Robert Wagner
    2019-03-29 00:33

    WTF did I just read? Whatever it was, I enjoyed it a lot.

  • Lulu
    2019-04-13 21:39

    I won this book from the first reads giveaways and I am so excited to read it. Thanks.

  • Ali
    2019-04-01 00:18

    This book is awesome. I have no criticisms except that it was a bit long but that's not bad compared to all the books I rated.