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Alongside Night Paperback – June 1, 1999
A network of beacons allows ships to travel across the Milky Way at beyond the speed of light. The beacons are built to be robust. They never fail. At least, they aren't supposed to. Learn more
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"An unabashedly polemical , libertarian novel which packages its message in a fast, effectively told action adventure." -- Publishers Weekly
"Anyone interested in freedom will find this more than readable." -- Jerry Pournelle
"Engrossing." -- Thomas S. Szasz, MD
"Here is a frightening and all too plausible picture of the near future. America is already a long way down the road that leads to it. Yet there is also a hopefulness in the story, for the author develops a philosophy, in considerable practical detail, that we could begin living by today, if we will choose to be free." -- Poul Anderson
"High Drama ... A story of high adventure, close escapes, mistaken identities, and thrilling rescues. ... A fast-moving tale of a future which is uncomfortably close at hand." -- Los Angeles Times Book Review
"I received Alongside Night at noon today. It is now eight in the evening and I just finished it. I think I am entitled to some dinner now as I had no lunch. The unputdownability of the book ensured that. It is a remarkable and original story, and the picture it presents of an inflation- crippled America on the verge of revolution is all too acceptable. I wish, and so will many novelists, that I, or they, had thought of the idea first. A thrilling novel, crisply written, that fires the imagination as effectively as it stimulates the feelings." -- Anthony Burgess
"Let me begin with a disclaimer: I don't really agree with many of J. Neil Schulman's ideas about society or politics or money. But his first book, Alongside Night, is as enjoyable piece of cautionary fiction as I have read in some years ... Like Ayn Rand and Robert A. Heinlein, Schulman can tell a good story!" -- Sunday Detroit News
"One of the most widely hailed libertarian novels since the classic works of Ayn Rand." -- Reason Magazine
"Probably the best libertarian novel since Atlas Shrugged." -- Science Fiction Review
"This is a radical novel. It pulls no punches, offers no compromises. It effectively presents a social, moral, and political point of view without polemic, without stridency. Without hysteria, it projects a bleak future for us all, but not without hope, for there's a deep affection for humanity despite its foibles underlying every sentence." -- F. Paul Wilson --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From the Publisher
The last time this novel saw print was in 1987. Finally -- from the vaults -- come the last remaining copies of the autographed first edition of J. Neil Schulman's classic novel of the last and first days of America; available once again. And perhaps this time its prophetic clarion call will be heard ... while there's still a chance.
Numbered and signed biographical sheet tipped in. Limited to 500 numbered, autographed copies of the Crown Publishers first edition. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
But that's nitpicking. I'm an AnCap and there's far too little literature out there for me to read, so stumbling across this book many years after it was written was a nice surprise for me (thanks Amazon for your excellent Similarities! Interested readers may want to check out Matthew Alexander's "Withur We" for a very recent AnCap book that would probably interest people that liked this book). The author clearly has an excellent grasp and fondness for AnCap concepts and the book shines the most when he focuses on how the people that have adopted an AnCap lifestyle function and get along.
Unfortunately, there's a couple of complaints about the book. For one, the above part that I liked was too short. In fact, the whole book is too short: nothing really has time to play out in a level of depth that satisfied me. And for a short book, too much of it was spent on things that just weren't that interesting, e.g. the entire raid on Utopia near the end of the book didn't do anything for me. What was the point of the various action scenes? A book that is trying to illustrate how different societal structures influence the resulting society doesn't need to become a Ludlum book for half of it. There really wasn't even a clear message or theme tying the raid into the rest of the book: was there a point to the fact that the raid was only partially successful? Other than perhaps trying to say "even for our 'heroes', not everything ends up exactly the way they want it", I'm not sure there was... and that point could have been in far fewer words.Read more ›
This novel reminded me a great deal of Robert Heinlein "juveniles" such as "Have Spacesuit, Will Travel." It is a bildungsroman following young Elliot Vreeland as he comes of age in New York City.
In the thirty years since J. Neil Schulman wrote the book, the dollar has been inflated more and more. The government has become larger, more corrupt, and much more like the government portrayed in the book. So, coming of age has gotten more and more difficult.
The great appeal for me in this book was its deliberate depiction of parts of society where government interference is not only gone, but actively prevented from getting involved. Free markets as part of an underground culture where people behaved without coercion had always appealed to me. In this book these markets were shown as real, vibrant, and substantial.
Nor is the future depicted any sort of utopia. There are problems in the Revolutionary Agorist Cadre with abuse of power and authority. There are problems with the government, too, which are far more pernicious. Yet, people manage their affairs and get by. Some thrive. Others suffer and die. Life's rich tapestry.
A decade ago, few would have believed that the monetisation of the government debt was threatening a hyperinflation of the dollar. Today it seems much more likely than ever. Who could have believed General Motors would be nationalised? Or Lehman Brothers and dozens of other companies would go under? Yet, today these are facts.
Alongside Night does an excellent job of showing a troubled world as a place to grow up. It also showcases agorism and individualism in ways never before or since.
One of the things that struck me as unlikely in 1989 was the telecommunications system. Wall-size screens. Interactive tools for getting information. Today, these are common. And to think the book was conceived in 1977 or so. Amazing.
General Motors plaza, in the book, is boarded up. The company is now being restructured, with the United Auto Workers pension to hold about 39% of the company. Chrysler has declared bankruptcy. The economy is not yet in the dire straits described in "Alongside Night," but it is very close. And, as in the book, Americans are responding with verve and elan.
I was delighted to be invited to a Facebook group celebrating this novel, and to learn that it is being adapted to a graphic novel and a feature film. It is high time that someone created a community for practicing agorists where we can meet, discuss, and exchange not only ideas but products and services.
Perhaps the online game being planned will feature "underground" mercantile centers like Aurora as described in the book. The technologies for dropping off the identity-controlled grid are well along. It's going to be fun!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This story is set in a possible future for the United States. The federal government has inflated the currency so much that the greenbacks are hardly pretty much worthless; you... Read morePublished 11 days ago by Amazon Customer
One of the smartest, best reading pieces of literature in its genre. Well written critique of the state and exposition of agorism. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Doug Stafford
As others have noted, the book is a cautionary and dystopian tale of a United States that is in the throes of hyper-inflation and excessive government. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Peter Venetoklis
Economics matters more than politics, in the end. Fascinating speculative fiction about inflation run wild, with a fun portrayal of an agorist community.Published 10 months ago by SW
The premise is believable (especially in today's economy and the state of our monetary system). The U.S. Read morePublished 10 months ago by William
Over the past few years, I have become a fan of fiction written from a libertarian perspective. I recently saw the author of Alongside Night interviewed about the soon to be... Read morePublished 17 months ago by Andy Wallace