3 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Hilarious now, but in the 60's this was taken seriously.,
This review is from: Stand On Zanzibar (Paperback)
This book is worth reading for anyone interested in the attitudes and expectations of the late 1960s.
It is not the easiest read, not least because it is full of cloyingly 'hip' sixties' jargon and attempts by the author to make up new words so as the reader knows he is in "the future" (like 'codder' and 'shiggy' for man and woman/girlfriend). These neologisms very quickly become wearying and stale and sadly serve to date the book irrecoverably to the 1960s.
A full work at over 500 pages, it is competently written with some wonderfully descriptive passages, but is more concerned with painting a word-picture of a dystopian future than it is in telling a coherent, plot-led story. So, whilst it is diverting at times with it's bleak outlook of a compromised future, there is no real sense of narrative flow and direction.
The work is best known as a prediction of the dystopian future of 2010. I see some other reviewers here are marvelling at the exactitude of Brunner's novel, but you notice how weak and paltry their examples of its prophetic powers actually are. The fact of it is that this novel - and let's not pussyfoot around this - is laughable in its predictive powers. New York is not under a dome, and is in far better shape than it was when the story was written. Wealthy businessman are not reduced to sharing a small flat just to find somewhere to live - in fact, the vast majority of people don't have to share their dwelling. Food is not in short supply. Et cetera, et cetera.
In short, then, worth reading as an insight into the preoccupations of a bygone time, but as a novel, mediocre, and as a prophetic piece of work, risible.
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Initial post: 31 May 2013 08:11:21 BDT
M. Kaldezar says:
Your review is typical of someone who vehemently denies "climate change" and the problems we have with our food chain , over population etc......horse meat anyone? Apart from that a well written review
In reply to an earlier post on 22 Jul 2013 13:35:42 BDT
Last edited by the author on 23 Jul 2013 16:30:33 BDT
Amazon Customer says:
SF writers don't predict the future (ACC aside), they suggest possible futures based on extrapolations from current trends. When SoZ was written, people - even politicians - took the environment and over-population seriously (Richard Nixon, of all people, set up a raft of environmental legislation in the US, for example). This was the era of "Silent Spring" and the Club of Rome report. It also was just before the impact of the green revolution, developed by Norman Borlaug and others, transformed agricultural production. However, these problems didn't go away, and are now very pertinent.
As for the writing. Well, form is temporary, but class is permanent - SoZ is class - a brilliantly structured way of looking a complex, fragile, world. It is of its time, of course. Maybe the original reviewer should read the "Dangerous Visions" anthologies for some context?
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