- 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)
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Captive Universe Mass Market Paperback – May 5, 1955
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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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...
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.
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Back in the day I loved sci fi and read many authors of the 50s and 60s. I didn't remember anything by Henry Harrison and decided to relive my youth by trying out this novel. Read morePublished on February 11, 2013 by Amazon Customer
Most of the other reviews here have covered the basic elements of this book. What has n't been mentioned is the allegorical dimension that this book includes. Read morePublished on August 29, 2011 by Tim Nafziger