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Midas World Mass Market Paperback – February 15, 1984


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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Books; 1st edition (February 15, 1984)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0812549252
  • ISBN-13: 978-0812549256
  • Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 4.2 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,011,074 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By R. Bartholomew on March 31, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I thought the overall theme of this book was conceptually very interisting. Basically, as you may be able to guess from its title, it has to do with more not always being better. Once the human race has developed a virtually limitless source of energy, they had everything they could ever need... and more.
In this new world, robotic factories produce vast amounts of luxuries, and in order to consume them all, every person is given a ration of things they must consume, and only the rich are able to afford to live the simple life, with a nice five room cottage, while the poor have no choice but to live in 26 room mansions, constantly go to operas, have dinner at the club, wear fancy clothes etcetera.
Granted the economics of this whole idea are kind of screwy, but this book isn't really trying to be realistic, but it is trying to make a point about the almost axiomatic belief people seem to have that more is better.
Although it is nowhere near realistic, it is a very good read and quite thought provoking. I would recommend it to any science fiction fan.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Laurel Jacobs on October 10, 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Too Much Of Anything Is Too Much!

When Amadeus Amalfi invented the Fusion Power Device, the earth blossomed, for when power is cheap so is everything else. Soon robots did all the work, and people had all the "fun! fun! fun!" But every pipeline has two ends, and despite the stunning triumph of technology, humanity's success with social engineering was no greater than it had been. Soon the robot factories began to bury mankind in luxury, and the New Poor were forced to spend their lives in frantic consumption so that their masters could live the Simple Life.

And in the process the robots were burning out our world.
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By meinreno on May 9, 2013
Format: Hardcover
I read this book over 20 years ago and found it interesting. In todays world the theme of the book is not that far fetched. I loaned my copy to a friend and never got it back and would like to find my copy. I beleive I signed my name on the inside page.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Reviewing my library, I've become aware that while I dislike much of Pohl's work in novels, it's his work in the short story form which has won me over. The short story The Man Who Ate the World has been featured in over ten publications, but only now have I come around to (1) realizing what Pohl was grasping at and (2) actually liking it. Plushly surrounded with similar stories of the consumption of abundance, The Man Who Ate the World sits on a sturdier platform than the collection with the same title.

With the advent of fusion power, humanity puts all the power to work! Everything is put into mass production so that everyone has everything. Where the proletariats struggle to consume their consumption quota, the lumpenproletariats suffer much worse as they live in huge houses with everything imaginable and live their days endlessly consuming. The privileged live in blissfully sparse one-room studios and savor the sensations of hunger and penury. But when the weight of the world presses down on society's shoulders, revolution takes on a form which no one saw coming. Rendering themselves useless, humans take to orbit to escape the robots who produce for the sake of their own consumption. Pohl's universe of run-away consumerism spawned by plentiful energy only becomes sillier and sillier through the pages.

The Fire-Bringer (1983) - 4/5 - Amalfi Amadeus invents fusion power, the world rejoices, the materialism of the world's people blooms, and Amalfi doesn't get any of the glory. Even with statues and mentions in history textbooks, Amalfi wallows in his profitless fame. 4 pages

The Midas Plague (1954) - 5/5 - Morey Fry is a Class Three consumer with his wife Cherry.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Midas World is a collection of short-stories by Frederick Pohl. None of these short stories have glaring flaws really, but at the same time I was never really pulled in, with one exception.

In Midas World Amalfi Amadeus discovers a way to bring extremely cheap (basically free) energy to our society by using nuclear fusion. There is a big catch - because energy is so cheap the world is forced into mass-consumption. Each person is rationed to consume many goods, everything from plays to sleeping pills. This creates a unique scenario where poor people own extremely large properties, nice cars, etc and rich people can afford their way into a more simple life.

Here are the list of stories -

"The Fire Bringer" - I don't really consider this to be a story really. It's only a couple pages and all it talks about is Amalfi's discovery of cheap energy (no rating)

"The Midas Plague" - Mass-consumerism takes hold of human society. The poor are forced to consume rabidly, the rich live more simple lives. (3.5/5)

"The Servant of the People" - Aging congressman Fiorello O'Hare is trying to keep his seat. His challenger, Mayor Thom is a robot. (3)

"The Man Who Ate The World" - Mass-consumerism isn't a problem like it used to be, but one character named Anderson Trumie is a bit indulgent. (3)

"The Farmer On The Dole" - A robotic farmer named Zeb is forced out of farming and into a new profession as a mugger. (3.5)

"The Lord of the Skies" - Nuclear fusion has turned Earth into a wasteland. People now live in stations orbiting Earth, which draw power from Earth. Michael Perkins has an accident while hunting a probe and crashes on Earth. Michael meets up with his brother, whom he doesn't get along with all that well.
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