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Captive Universe Mass Market Paperback – May 5, 1955

4.2 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Ace (December 1, 1984)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0441091423
  • ISBN-13: 978-0441091423
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 1 x 5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,451,244 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
A used book store was having a sale, offering all the paperbacks you could stuff into a plastic grocery bag for 25 cents. I loaded up my bag, plunked down a quarter, and went home to sift through my haul.

Among the musty paperbacks was this book, "Captive Universe," by Harry Harrison. Previously the only other Harrison book I had read was his "Make Room! Make Room!" which became the movie "Soylent Green." Anyway, I was expecting that, you know, pulp fiction "B Novel"experience, but as the pages turned, I realized that here was book of more depth and intelligence, and masterfully crafted.

I can't give away a primary element of the book and thus spoil the premise, but it involves a troubled young Aztec boy, Chimal, who is aliented from his society. He has the terrible feeling something is wrong with life in the ancient Aztec world. Yes, it's ruled be despotic rulers, there are monsters and superstition, but something more insidious is amiss. Our hero attempts an escape from his valley to find answers and a better life -- and what he finds is mind boggling.

When Chimal uncovers the truth, well, what we have is just amazing science fiction fun.

I wish more of today's books were tightly written like this compact novel. My old paperback is 160 pages of tiny print. It's a 1969 copyright edition issued by Berkley Publishing. It seems that today's publishers are trying to sell books by the pound. They think that if a person is going to cough up $9 for a paperback, they want something with 700 pages, with some heft to it. But the result is a lot of egregiously overwritten books filled with dead weight print, pages that one can skim and still pick up enough of the flow to get through the book.
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By A Customer on November 3, 2000
Format: Hardcover
When my dad used to read to us kids 'way back then', I remember Captive Universe as one of the more graphically vivid stories. Years later, I started looking for it in bookshops here and there -- no where to be found. I finally found an old paperback in a used book store. Just as fun as I remembered! For every nerdy kid (or adult) who felt the powers in charge were slow and didn't understand, we could see ourselves in the frustrations of the hero. Can't describe the story without giving away too much.
For years I could imagine Captive Universe as a great movie. I sometimes wish it were made into a movie, but after what they did to Starship Troopers, maybe not...
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I read this novel some years ago, and I though it was wonderfull, the best Harrison novel I have read so far. Not to spoil it, I should not mention too much of the plot, but it' s hard science fiction set in an aztec universe and things are not quite as they seem, as it becomes more and more obvious from the first page. This review makes no justice to the book, but it' s too good a book to be forgotten, I hope that any review is better than no review.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
I originally read this book over 20 years ago while I was in high school. Despite the time that has passed and the thousands of books I have read since then, I still remembered the plot and memorable elements from this book. I recently found it again on Amazon.com although I had to purchase it used since it was out of print. Needless to say I very much enjoyed rereading it.
Although written as an exciting sci-fi adventure, the book examines in the role of religion, intelligence and culture in regulating human life. The book follows a life of Chimal a boy born a genius amongst a civilization of below average intelligence Aztecs. The boy continually questions the cultural traditions and sometimes barbaric religious rules that his village has followed without question for hundreds of years. To his elevated intelligence some of those rules make no sense at all.
Needless to say his questioning gets him into trouble and on a series of adventures which reveal the true nature of the world in which he lives.
I find great parallels between Chimal's situation and those in the world today. Entire populations are being led by the teachings of religions. Many follow blindly while others question, some in secret in fear of their life. How many of us really know the reality of the world and universe out there.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I read this book a few years ago and enjoyed the premise of a race of genetically engineered primitives inhabiting the hollowed out interior of an asteroid on a multigenerational voyage to another star. The primitives are divided into two races who must not interbreed until the star is nearly reached at which point the interbreeding allows them to regain normal human intelligence. But, as you might expect, one couple pairs off resulting in the birth of a prematurely intelligent man who then has enough wit to discover the full story of this remarkable space craft.

Having read the paragraph above, you now know just about all there is to know about the novel. At least that was the experience of my daughter who also read this book after my explanations of it. "Dad, after you explained it to me, I thought the book would have a lot more to it, but basically there wasn't much more there." Sigh. And that's the flaw of this book and also the flaw of most Sci Fi. Interesting ideas to spark pondering. But the books themselves tend to be threadbare when it comes to characterization, motivation, and insight.
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