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The Marching Morons (The Galaxy Project Book 16) [Kindle Edition]

C. M. Kornbluth
3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Published more than 60 years ago, this dark and prescient story of a future devolved to idiocy remains one of the most frightening visions to have emerged from the science fiction of that decade. Envisioning a future United States overwhelmed by a citizenry of low IQ (a consequence of the overbreeding of the stupid) Kornbluth was in fact writing of an observed present. The steady, inexorable descent of human intelligence obsessed Kornbluth, was one of his major themes and reached its truest statement in this novelette. The secret masters of Kornbluth’s future are a small population of the intelligent who in subterranean fashion run the country but the “marching morons” overwhelm them and they summon a cynical entrepreneur from the past to help them deal with the dilemma. Weak on technology (a time machine is employed scoop the entrepreneur into their present) the novelette is deadly accurate in its portrait of a society sunk in stupid television, ornate, worthless automobiles and catchphrases which substitute for thought. The denouement is absolutely uncompromising and its utter bleakness is refractory not of a speculative future (which it may well be) but a present which Kornbluth found omnipresent and unbearable. In terms of social statement and extrapolation THE MARCHING MORONS stands with Orwell’s 1984 or Forster’s THE MACHINE STOPS as shattering anatomization of an inevitable future.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Cyril Kornbluth (1924-1958) was the youngest and perhaps the most brilliant of that great group of satirists (Frederik Pohl, Robert Sheckley, Damon Knight, William Tenn) whom Horace Gold drafted to become the characteristic voice of his magazine. Kornbluth was a child prodigy (writing at 16 stories which became classics of the field) and auto-didact, first-generation fan and newspaperman (a Chicago-based wire service) whose heart and health were wrecked by active combat duty at the Battle of the Bulge and other venues; after the war he became a fully committed science fiction writer who moved from journalism in Chicago to a career in the New York area. In collaboration with Frederik Pohl he wrote THE SPACE MERCHANTS (1952) for GALAXY which became the classic satirical novel of advertising and GLADIATOR-AT-LAW which brought the same satirical force to the housing industry. There were several other novels, science fiction and mainstream, written with Pohl, two with Judith Merril and several (TAKEOFF, NOT THIS AUGUST) written alone. He struggled for years with health, economic and familial obligations (he was married to a sculptress and had two young sons) and died suddenly on a train platform, sprinting for a New York bound train in March 1958. A recent (2009) biography by Mark Rich gives much detail about his painful life and brilliant career.

ABOUT THE SERIES

Horace Gold led GALAXY magazine from its first issue dated October 1950 to science fiction’s most admired, widely circulated and influential magazine throughout its initial decade. Its legendary importance came from publication of full length novels, novellas and novelettes. GALAXY published nearly every giant in the science fiction field.

The Galaxy Project is a selection of the best of GALAXY with new forewords by some of today’s best science fiction writers. The initial selections in alphabetical order include work by Ray Bradbury, Frederic Brown, Lester del Rey, Robert A. Heinlein, Damon Knight, C. M. Kornbluth, Walter M. Miller, Jr., Frederik Pohl, Robert Scheckley, Robert Silverberg, William Tenn (Phillip Klass) and Kurt Vonnegut with new Forewords by Paul di Filippo, David Drake, John Lutz, Barry Malzberg and Robert Silverberg. The Galaxy Project is committed to publishing new work in the spirit GALAXY magazine and its founding editor Horace Gold.


Product Details

  • File Size: 171 KB
  • Print Length: 158 pages
  • Publisher: RosettaBooks (October 1, 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00COO98US
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #58,434 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
25 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars it's coming true... August 8, 2005
By Steve G
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Written around 1951, this is a story about the future (from their standpoint) and how those of lesser intelligence bred like rabbits, while the smarter people refrained, and how this led to the population having an average IQ of 40.

I read this as a teenager & never have forgotten it; it's an all-time classic. A great read if you can find a copy (check [...], which of course would make it a 'listen' rather than a read).

And damned if it isn't coming true.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Masterpiece June 15, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition
A masterpiece of prophesy and satire that has come all too true. Much science fiction of this era has become dated. Kornbluth keeps his punch. 'Tis even better than THE SPACE MERCHANTS or GLADIATOR AT LAW, two products of his teamup with Pohl. No one writes like this now, I suspect, because it is hard to satirize the a world so absurd that you can't write of anything more moronic. Kornbluth died too early. One wonders if his wit would have grown and maybe soured. But that's fine. Sour wit is better than none at all. There isn't a bad story in this collection and the title story is one you'll never forget. Frankly, rereading it, I don't know whether to laugh or cry. Thank you Galaxy for giving him to us, but you're gone too. It isn't a matter of the good old days. They weren't better. It was just that our stupidity hadn't caught up with us yet. Even Kornbluth couldn't save us now. But reading him will make us laugh as we sink into oblivion. If you like Swift and Sterne, you'll love this.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A story for all time March 2, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Kornbluth warned against dumbing down our educational system long, long ago. It's not too late to read and act on his prescient advice. I've been looking for a copy for years, so finding it here was just an amazing joy.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Had to read again. October 30, 2012
By Patty
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I read this when it first came out and have thought about it over the years and wondered how much of it was coming true. I reread this year and though it seemed a little silly it is still worth a quick read then a long sit back and really think about what is going on. e.g. caution labels and people suing over coffee being too hot that kind of common sense stuff that does not seem to exist anymore.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent ... for 50s pulp May 25, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Packaged with lots of forewords and meta-commentary from various renowned authors, which make it sound like Shakespeare. While this story Is very good, and should be renowned as the true ancestor to the film "Idiocracy", it still is very clearly a product of the 50s culture of pulp science fiction. Which is to say that the good part is the ideas are big, bold, and innovative, and the bad parts are wooden dialog, 2-dimensional characters, and barely credible motivations. So if you like that kind of thing (and I do) then it is pretty good for that kind of thing.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Read it in High School, will never forget it. April 1, 2013
By Mark M.
Format:Kindle Edition
If you ever wondered what the idiotic punchline catch-phrase "I'd buy that for a dollar" featured in Robocop and various other popular shows alluded to, or what inspired the future depicted in Idiocracy, then wonder no more.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A brilliant piece of satire! May 13, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition
A future Earth where most people are morons who can hardly read or write and are addicted to game shows? Controversial, polarizing and shocking when it was first published in 1951, one cannot help but draw parallels to today's problems, in particular lack of education, overpopulation and addiction to reality shows. "Would you buy it for a quarter?"
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12 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow May 4, 2009
By Student
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I purchased the booklet back in 2003 when it was less than $5 on Amazon (now $70+)
Everything in the title story came true during the 90s.
I actually had read it in the 70s when I was in Jr High but didn't get all the allusions until rereading it after having worked and lived in CA.

There's another story you will enjoy about rabbits stealing from some pacified followers.

It might be cheaper to find it at the local library.

Dave
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Timely
I first read this story when I was in my teens more than 40 years ago. The details became hazy but the premise stayed with me all this time. Read more
Published 3 days ago by ann aquino
4.0 out of 5 stars the "Problem" would be easy to solve
SPOILER ALERT!!!
I think I have a slightly different take on this story than some I've read. You have to consider that there was no hormonal birth control, and we hadn't gone... Read more
Published 14 days ago by theseeker
5.0 out of 5 stars Mind rot
The classic story, and I finally read it and it delivered. Fun, and while you can't debate the long dead author himself, there is plenty of material to discuss with friends. Read more
Published 17 days ago by Chris Ward
1.0 out of 5 stars Meh.
Mildly diverting premise, hastily and sloppily executed. Also, more than a little uncomfortably in a Nazi-esque eugenics vein. Don't bother.
Published 3 months ago by Becky Sheinbaum
5.0 out of 5 stars Great early science fiction
I read this when I was a teenager and I loved it. I think reality tv has validated Kornbluth's premise and murica is a fine example of the future.
Published 3 months ago by Robert Davis
3.0 out of 5 stars Decent quick read
This was not bad. It seemed almost like a 60’s comic book to me, but maybe that’s because of the era it was written. The way the main character ended up was interesting. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Scychry
4.0 out of 5 stars We're living with them...
The Marching Morons. They are here. No, they aren't that dumb...yet. But give it a couple more generations. A little more big government. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Scott
4.0 out of 5 stars This is a nice short story
I had read this story 30 years ago, and it was good to read it again. I remembered the part about the idiots crashing the helicopters.
Published 7 months ago by Len Lochrie
4.0 out of 5 stars Great classic SyFy
A great classic SyFy look at where we are heading with the dumbing down of the country. An entertaining book that makes you think.
Published 8 months ago by Ginger Peale
4.0 out of 5 stars Do go to Mars!
Kornbluth accurately predicted the divide between the most intelligent among us and the rest of the world and reality TV in this eugenics fantasy. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Angela J Chiffy
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