2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
The best of SF?,
This review is from: The Space Merchants (S.F. MASTERWORKS) (Paperback)
I am not usually a reader of science fiction, but I was persuaded to read this book because it was described as one of the best of its kind. The story is set in the far future where large advertising agencies dominate society, including governments, and the rest of the population (the `consumers') have their needs `invented' and then catered for by a elite group who work for the agencies. Mitch Courtney is a copywriter and member of the Board of one of the two biggest agencies. He is given the task of heading a new project to colonise Venus, with the aim of turning it into a gigantic consumer-driven economy, and at the same time to provide raw materials for Earth. Along the way, a rival executive, Runstead, who also wanted to head the project, kidnaps him. Mitch is shipped off to South America as an indentured labourer. There he meets consies; members of an environmental resistance group, and sees how actual consumers live. He manages to get posted back to New York and makes contact with Kathy, a doctor he had hoped to marry, although she has dropped him. There follow a series of adventures (including attempts to kill him by a rival agency who want to take over the Venus project) involving various characters, some of whom, including Kathy, and even Runstead, turn out to be dedicated consies. Gradually he `sees the light' and realizes the harm the agencies have done. It ends with him fleeing from arrest, and re-united with Kathy, they board a space ship to start a new colony on Venus with a couple of hundred other concies, whose places on the ship have been organised by Runstead.
Readers of SF obviously have to take a lot of things on trust. For example, we are not told how Mitch got from the glacier where he was mugged to a ship en route for South America. Neither are we told how the idealistic consies are expected to survive on Venus and re-create their Garden of Eden. Leaving that aside, the story (remarkably relevant today, given that it was written fifty years ago) is not bad, although with a predictable ending, and the writing is acceptable. But if this is really the best of SF novels, I am rather disappointed. It is not something to stretch your imagination, but something to read on a long journey.
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Initial post: 5 Sep 2013 19:04:41 BDT
Mr. W. Norman says:
Yes , thanks for revealing the whole story in your review. How very thoughtful of you
In reply to an earlier post on 5 Sep 2013 20:52:38 BDT
Brian R. Martin says:
I am pleased to have been of help.
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