Norman Niblock House is a rising executive at General Technics, one of a few all-powerful corporations. His work is leading General Technics to the forefront of global domination, both in the marketplace and politically - it's about to take over a country in Africa. Donald Hogan is his roommate, a seemingly sheepish bookworm. But Hogan is a spy, and he's about to discover a breakthrough in genetic engineering that will change the world...and kill him.
These two men's lives weave through one of science-fiction's most praised novels. Written in a way that echoes John Dos Passos' U.S.A. Trilogy, Stand on Zanzibar is a cross-section of a world overpopulated by the billions and society is squeezed into hive-living madness by god-like mega computers, mass-marketed psychedelic drugs, and mundane uses of genetic engineering. Though written in 1968, it speaks of our present time and is frighteningly prescient and intensely powerful.
©1968 John Brunner (P)2011 Macmillan Audio
I'm just this guy, y'know?
In spite of the obvious places where he missed, the accuracy of some of the predictions of 2010 (written in 1968) are astounding.
I read this book about 6 times when I was in high school (1968-1972). The word "multimedia" didn't exist then, of course, and it can't apply to a print book. But this book is as close as a book can come. The way in which the plots are intercut and perspective shifts is truly amazing. But the author's future is now our (recent) past, and the degree to which the author simply extends the social and political realities of 1968 into the future is painfully obvious. The attitude toward women is painful to read now. But it has always been a great read.
this is one of the best novels I've listened to. it is less scifi to me than i would have thought, and not dated and reads more like Pynchon. while it may not be of the poetic density of Moby, this narrator coupled with this material, makes for a superb listen. Great narrator, one of the best. Wonderful slang and word play. This novel is a scattershot type structure, with multiple blasts of images and ideas--more ideas than a dozen current pop novels.
the story itself involves our near future (written in 1968 it predicts 7 billion people by 2010 and we are near that) and concerns to an extent overpopulation and corporate greed with side stories involving genetic engineering and sterilization and computer intelligence but don't get caught up in arguing whether he got all the "predictions" accurate. He's much more concerned about people existing in such a possible world and what they might go through. Poverty, drug abuse etc.
it will be helpful to know that it is structured with "rotating" sections, i took this from wiki entry:
"Continuity" – Most of the linear narrative is contained in these chapters.
"Tracking with Closeups" – These are similar to Dos Passos's "Camera" sections, and focus closely on ancillary characters before they become part of the main narrative, or simply serve to paint a picture of the state of the world.
"The Happening World" – These chapters consist of collage-like collections of short, sometimes single-sentence, descriptive passages. The intent is to capture the vibrant, noisy, and often ephemeral situations arising in the novel's world. At least one chapter of the narrative, a party where most of the characters meet and where the plot makes a significant shift in direction, is presented in this way.
"Context" – These chapters, as the name suggests, provide a setting for the novel. They consist of imaginary headlines, classified ads, and quotations from the works of the character Chad C. Mulligan, a pop sociologist who comments wryly on his surroundings and in one chapter, actual headlines from the 1960s.
a key line from opening: "A point of view can be a dangerous luxury when substituted for insight and understanding." Marshall McLuhan: The Gutenburg Galaxy
loved it. going on my list of best novels. hoping for Sheep Look Up and Shockwave Rider now, definitely interested in Brunner more.
Probably not. I first read this as a young man in the late '60s or early '70s and wanted to see how it held up, since it's set in 2010. While some of Brunner's story is fairly prescient, i.e. he predicted Viagra and other
The character development. Brunner was very good at putting you inside the heads of a wide variety of characters with different personalities and goals. I like that.
Read the novel and take some notes before starting to narrate. There were weird inflection and timing issues, i.e. something like
Christ, what an imagination I've got.
Witty and entertaining and in many aspects prophetic story of 21st century politics, science, dilemma of eugenetics and consumer lifestyle. Some of this has happened already and clash with China is certainly looming ahead. And all along tongue in cheek. Not at all aged 1968 book a delight. With amusing sidestories in interlacing chapters making easy listening in small doses. Highly recommend to SF fans but also a good example of witty science fiction for the doubtful or novice - few chapters of confusion in the beginning to a non SF reader not used to neologisms. So be warned.
In 1968 John Brunner extrapolated what he thought life would be like in 2010. It was a future that scared me back in 1968, and one I hope would not come true. Tragically it did.
Throughout the book are whole chapters of schizophrenic commercials chopped off and randomized to give the reader an impression of someone changing stations rapidly. I'm sure the author intended this to help immerse the reader in his universe, however in AUDIO book form it has the opposite effect. If you're the kind of person that mutes tv or radio commercials you will hate the Audio version of this book.
The narrator does a great job of painstakingly voice acting every commercial in the book. This is part of the problem. Imagine you're listening to any given audiobook you've already bought from audible. Now imagine that story being CONSTANTLY interrupted by 7-15 minutes worth of well voice acted radio commercials.
Stand on Zanzibar is John Brunner's 1968, Hugo award winning classic that depicted the future world in 2010. In spite of that future now being in the past, the story has aged well. Rather than a simple story, Brunner chose to relate an intersecting duo of plots regarding a small, fictional outlier African nation with a fictional Asian nation claiming to be embarking on human genetic engineering at the population level.
The greatest attribute of the novel is the uncanny accuracy regarding life in 2010. There are so many scientific, social, and political elements that Brunner nailed: cigarettes would be vilified, while marijuana is tolerated, an advanced computer like Deep Blue or Watson is an integral part of the tale. While he didn't foresee the internet, he anticipated computer assisted news aggregation and interactive television. Both China and terrorism come to dominate US interests, while Europe is united. Perhaps, the only major theme that didn't pan out was the over emphasis on global population size and the resulting social and legal developments (eugenics laws).
One additional feature that makes the book intriguing is that in addition to the main story which is the weakest part of the whole work, Brunner injects side stories, irrelevant to the main plot that serve to highlight and explore social and political developments. At the same time, he also injects snippets of pop culture in the form of commercials, advertisements, and book excerpts that provide a comprehensive overview of multiple aspects of life in 2010.
The narration is outstanding given the range of characters with global diversity as well as a range of presentation styles. For anyone who was alive in 1968 and can remember the mood of the times, 2010 as envisioned through that lens will especially appreciated this depiction.
Note: While there is a President Obomi in the story, he is president of a fictional African nation and not the president of the United States as has been erroneously reported in some internet postings. Brunner was good, but not that good.
The author is trying to be clever by having long paragraphs of random made up radio broadcasts. This almost takes up half the book, and gets boring very fast.
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