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Stand On Zanzibar [Paperback]

John Brunner
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
RRP: 8.99
Price: 6.29 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

12 Aug 1999
There are seven billion-plus humans crowding the surface of 21st century Earth. It is an age of intelligent computers, mass-market psychedelic drugs, politics conducted by assassination, scientists who burn incense to appease volcanoes ... all the hysteria of a dangerously overcrowded world, portrayed in a dazzlingly inventive style.

Frequently Bought Together

Stand On Zanzibar + The Demolished Man (S.F. MASTERWORKS) + Gateway (S.F. MASTERWORKS)
Price For All Three: 18.17

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Product details

  • Paperback: 672 pages
  • Publisher: Gollancz; S.F. Masterworks edition (12 Aug 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1857988361
  • ISBN-13: 978-1857988369
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 110,199 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Amazon Review

Thirty-year old predictions have a habit of going stale, but not John Brunner's startling panoramic view of the year 2010. Even where he got the future we almost inhabit wrong, he understood where things were oing--"Conincidence You weren't paying attention to the other half of what was going on"--and his world of Artificial Intelligence, gene-engineering, psychedelics, government-sponsored murder and brainwashing is frighteningly enough like our own. Constantly panning from a few individuals and their stories to the chatter of the media and sudden chunks of crucial text, Stand on Zanzibar was a ground-breaking novel in which Brunner broke wide open the stylistic and narrative conventions of SF, and set the agenda for the next decades. Packed with memorable characters--the computer Shalmaneser, the incestuous racist Clodard family, Presidents and newscasters--and sudden flashes of insight from rebel sociologist Chad Mulligan. "Rumour Believe all you hear. Your world may not be a better one than the one the blocks live in but it'll be a sight more vivid." Stand on Zanzibar is a masterpiece of speculative sociological SF, which some have described as a nightmare vision and others as a possible world better than what we are likely to get. --Roz Kaveney

Book Description

Employing a dazzling range of literary techniques, John Brunner has created a future world as real as this morning's newspaper . . . moving, sensory, impressionistic, as jagged as the times it portrays, this book is a real mind stretcher - and yet beautifully orchestrated to give a vivid picture of the whole.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
30 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stand on Zanzibar - totally worth the effort. 16 Oct 2002
Format:Hardcover
This has to be one of the all time classics of the sci-fi genre, and has certainly earned its place in the Masterworks collection, though it is perhaps not as well known as other classics like The War of The Worlds or The Chrysalids. There is a reason for this of course, Stand On Zanzibar is not an 'easy' book. It's very easy to read the first few pages and give up - in fact, this is what I did the first time my father recommended it to me. All the same, I now consider it to be high up in my top ten books of all time.
The thing that deters one is that Brunner's style here is like no other you have ever encounted, although one can trace its influence to modern science-fiction works like Otherland. Brunner is painting for us the picture of an entire society - a complete and vibrant vision of the future, and to do so he weaves together the complex threads of individual unconnected lives; the messages sent out by the media; greater world plot; and insightful comments on how people are effected by living in such a society given through the guise of Chad C. Mulligan - an eminent and enigmatic socioligist in the book.
Like many visions of the future created decades ago one can find fault with predictions that have not happened, and easily declaire that this will not be the way of the world in 2010; however, the truth is, some of those predictions are surprisingly accurate, and even if the situation has not gone as far yet as Brunner predicted, one can see evidence of it heading that way. His discussion of the pressures imposed on man by over-population, and the progress, or lack thereof, in the developing world is interesting, and his comments on the effect of our genetics on social prejudice must be relivant today.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A dark future prophecy 15 Mar 2005
Format:Paperback
Over-population threatens Earth, political struggles and conspiracy movements sprout, people are turning into terrorists out of pure boredom... TV does its best to keep people alienated in an artificial reality...
Written in Brunner's characteristic style, the book is witty, sarcastic and really really bitter.
If you're into dark humor and pessimistic bitter views of reality (as I am) this is the book to read.
One of the (undeservedly) forgotten great classics of SF.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A truly important piece of Science Fiction 26 July 2002
Format:Paperback
In "Stand on Zanzibar" John Brunner explores the social human condition in an entertaining and thought provoking way. The book is a cross section view of life in the early part of the 21 Century, with several sub-plots and fictional news bulletins lending insights into different aspects of everyday existence and the sort of problems people encounter. As the narrative proceeds, two main characters and their stories emerge and we get to accompany them on their journey to try and make sense of the society they live in. It is amazing to witness the way that Brunner ties all the seemingly separate sequences of events together to give us a comprehensive insight into a fictional future world, though different in many details, alarmingly similar in essence to our present world and where we appear to be heading. The manner in which the book is written is also in itself very "modern" and seems to be a product more of our own time than when it was written, with its quick pace and bombardment of information from all directions. I couldn't agree more with Joe Haldeman's statement on the cover: that it's time for a new generation to read it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just some comments on the Kindle edition 21 July 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
At long last out in Kindle format, SoZ is one of the pinnacles of SF and I don't intend to comment on the writing here, other than to give the deserved 5 stars. I do want to say something about the adaptation to Kindle - which has worked very well. The original paper book is quite heavily formatted, with a number of sections in double columns, for example. SF Gateway evidently spent a lot of time getting the formatting to work as an electronic book, and they have done a great job. Many Kindle books are sloppily formatted, with footnotes and even tables of contents not working, this is not the case here and this is an example of the care that should be taken. Well done SF Gateway - an example to many other publishers.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
By KJ44
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I'm re-reading Stand on Zanzibar because I'd suddenly remembered is was set in this year, 2010. It's something I've always been fascinated by, comparing the predictions of SF with the present as it arrives, the most famous example for many being Arthur C Clarke's 2001 nine years ago. Anyway, now we're seeing 2010 from the viewpoint of 1968, so of course the technology is all wrong, but John Brunner transcends that. Give it a go, it's called a classic for good reason.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Too Many Rats in a Cage 4 Sep 2003
Format:Paperback
There was a brief period from the late sixties to the early seventies that saw a veritable explosion of new ideas and new methods of painting those ideas on the reader’s consciousness within the SF field. This book is one of the finer examples of both of those items, winning (quite appropriately) the Hugo award for 1969 (though I thought that Samuel Delany’s Nova was just as deserving that year).
Stylistically, this book is a mosaic, a patchwork of cross-cutting images, scenes, advertisements, headlines, interviews, scientific paper excerpts, startlingly different from almost everything else published up till then. It takes a little bit to get used to this style, to let the world picture build into something coherent in your mind. But once you do, it lends a verisimilitude and a sense of frenetic pace that is perfectly suited to this dystopian vision of a world staggering under severe over-population pressure, driven by mega-corporations and military influence, forced genetic regulation, socialism and severe pressure to conform. From the Mr. and Mrs. Everyman that has become a daily part of everyone’s daily video viewing to the ‘muckers’ so prophetically envisioned (just see today’s headlines), this is an expose of just what happens when there really are too many people crowded onto too small a planet.
Some portions of this are a little dated, mainly in those areas where Brunner used straight-line extrapolations of trends that were present at the time of writing, such as the liquid-nitrogen cooled mega-computer (rather than any vision of today’s internet) or the portrayed ‘integration’ of blacks in the society. But these items do not seriously detract from the power and depth of the themes that tackled here.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars How 1968 saw 2010
Amazingly prophetic novel in its predictions of technology, but its complex style needs concentration to remain interested. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Kindle Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Worryingly prescient
I first read this novel some 40 years ago and was struck by both its literary style and the way the author focussed on what were then embryonic environmental and political... Read more
Published 2 months ago by J. D. Fergusson
5.0 out of 5 stars How many other SF works start with a quote from Marshall McLuhan?
This truly deserves the accolade of its reissue in the “SF Masterworks” series. Time has tested this work as we are several years past what was then its 42 years into the future... Read more
Published 4 months ago by P. J. Dunn
4.0 out of 5 stars Pretty good
This book has dated considerably since its release in late 60s/early 70s. However, much of the sociopolitical commentary is spot on.
Published 7 months ago by George P. Salter
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning
As the back cover states: 'Brunner was an angry Man!' Not half. This huge book is a tirade about the reckless use of technology and science, the human proclivity to ceaselessly... Read more
Published 22 months ago by Mr. Omnibus Biscuit
4.0 out of 5 stars Massively Brilliant
This book is a perfect example of how very good science fiction can remain relevant, even when the 'future' it is set in has passed us by. Read more
Published on 2 Sep 2011 by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars A vision of the future.
In Stand on Zanzibar Brunner explores the effects of overpopulation, supercomputers and genetic manipulation of humans, without going over the top. Read more
Published on 23 Oct 2010 by HeecheeRendezvous
3.0 out of 5 stars Hilarious now, but in the 60's this was taken seriously.
This book is worth reading for anyone interested in the attitudes and expectations of the late 1960s. Read more
Published on 12 Sep 2010 by J. Stephens
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant service again!
This was a serendipity purchase in that I had read the book 40 years ago and I took the risk that it would be worth investing my time and money in a second read. Read more
Published on 10 Jan 2010 by David R. Wood
5.0 out of 5 stars a masterpiece
What more can one say about this novel? Science Fiction at it's finest and not to be missed.
Published on 28 Dec 2009 by Mr. Stephen Parkin
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