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Limbo Paperback – January 1, 1951


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Paperback, January 1, 1951
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 413 pages
  • Publisher: Acee Books, Inc.; 1st printing stated edition (1951)
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B002SFV25C
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 4.1 x 1 inches
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 7, 1998
Format: Paperback
This novel of a post-apocalyptic world seemed very real to me when I first read it in 1966 as a junior in high school. I had read 1984 a year earlier and this book had a realism of a nightmare future in ways more compelling than Orwell's. Set in the mid 1970's the story tells the adventures of one man who leaves his solitude on an Indian Ocean island and travels to what's left of the United States. Bernard Wolf's characters and themes in this book are delightfully twisted and filled with a macabre humor. I only read this book once, but it has haunted the back of my mind all these years. Growing up in the thick of the cold war this book was all my nuclear nighmares come true. Please read the book with this perspective and you will not be disappointed!
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By DOC BARHAM on January 1, 2003
Format: Paperback
David Pringle's 100 Best Science-Fiction Novels is a decent resource and shopping list for well-read SF fans. I was rounding out my classic post-apocalyptic & distopian future books part of the list (i.e. 1984, Brave New World, We, Canticle For Leibowitz, etc.) when I came across Limbo. The fact that I'd never heard of Limbo or it's author, Bernard Wolfe, and that it was, apparently, the only SF novel he ever wrote, intrigued me. I wasn't disappointed.
This is a wonderful 50's era cautionary tale, Swiftian in many ways, all dressed up as science fiction. Wolfe writes quite well and with a depth not encountered in much of SF. It makes for a great read not to mention a great recommendation to friends because it is so little known. Though the book seems quaintly dated at some points, the various themes all regard fundamental questions of the human condition that are timeless and universal.
It is essentially a commentary on Cold War era America through the device of future projection. In the spirit of great satire, Wolfe extrapolates an extreme and ludicrous version of the present moment and places it far into the future. The statement is simple: This is what we're going to be like if we keep going this way. It's all there - WWIII, nuclear devastation, rebuilding what's left with the few that are left, but here's the kicker: since we obviously will never learn to control ourselves and to prevent future destruction, everyone will lay down their arms and legs, literally, via amputation, and replace them with nuclear powered, auto-controlled limbs. Absolutely absurd and that's precisely the point.
I don't want to give away any more specifics. I'm sure you can find more elsewhere if you need to. As far as SF goes, I'm a pretty harsh critic. To this day Limbo remains one of my favorites, and IMO, may be the best American contribution to the distopian novel genre. It's a great ride that'll have you aching for your own brand new set of nuclear powered limbs by the end.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By D_Bowie_Fan on March 19, 2010
Format: Paperback
Bernard Wolfe`s 1952 masterpiece "LIMBO" is some of the finest and most intellectually stimulating dystopian literature written in the 20th century.All but forgotten by the mainstream reading audience and with only limited,small-run reprintings(1987,and ?)"LIMBO" is most likely the single most esoteric work of dystopian fiction authored in modern times.For comparison:Aldous Huxley`s "Brave New World" was written in 1931(pub.1932),George Orwell`s "1984" was written in 1949 and Bernard Wolfe`s "LIMBO" in 1952.Even devoted followers of dystopian fiction are largely unfamiliar with Wolfe`s seminal work in this genre.In my humble opinion "LIMBO" should be ranked alongside those other two classics of modern dystopian literature:"1984" and "Brave New World".This would be,in my opinion,the Holy Trinity of Modern Dystopian Literature.

A brief synopsis of the novel(w/out spoilers)taken from [...]:

Martine returns from self-imposed exile after the end of a World War to find that his cynical and satirical musings about society in his diary have been used as a blueprint for the rebuilt society.
Disarmament has been taken literally with men volunteering to have one or more limbs amputated.
This movement has split into two factions: one which remains helpless - paraded in baby carridges by their wives or mothers; another that replaces me missing limbs with more powerful artificial limbs.
Martime finds himself the hero and founder of a society he finds despicable, and one which is restarting the Cold war that led up to the last one, with each side trying to use him for its own ends."Immob"(imobilised/imobilization),"Volamp"(voluntary amputation/voluntary amputee),"Dodge the Steamroller"---some of the language/concepts from Wolfe`s stimulating and satirical book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Kawika on March 26, 2010
Format: Paperback
Dodge the steamroller! I loved this book, although there were a few long boring dialog scenes, for the most part, this book had me hooked from start to finish. There is a little bit of everything in here. I can see to a certain extent how this forgotten gem would have slipped through the cracks, the language and erotic content was probably ahead of its time. At least in popular acceptance. Another rumor I've heard about this novel is that it inspired JG Ballard to become a writer, and I think I can see why. I also liked the humor, a lot of books can get really tacky on the humor side, but i found myself laughing out loud a few times with this one. Good stuff, very different, and worth tracking down. Is there a Kindle suggestion list? If so, this book needs to be on it.
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