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Mockingbird Hardcover – January 1, 1980


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--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 247 pages
  • Publisher: Doubleday; 1st edition (January 1980)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385149336
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385149334
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.5 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,641,382 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"A moral tale that has elements of Aldous Huxley's Brave New World, Superman, and Star Wars."--Los Angeles Times Book Review

"Set in a far future in which robots run a world with a small and declining human population, this novel could be considered an unofficial sequel to Fahrenheit 451, for its central event and symbol is the rediscovery of reading."--San Francisco Chronicle

"Because of its affirmation of such persistent human values as curiosity, courage, and compassion, along with its undeniable narrative power, Mockingbird will become one of those books that coming generations will periodically rediscover with wonder and delight."--The Washington Post

"I've read other novels extrapolating the dangers of computerization but Mockingbird stings me, the writer, the hardest. The notion, the possibility, that people might indeed lose the ability, and worse, the desire to read, is made acutely probable."--New York Times bestselling author ANNE MCCAFFREY

"Walter Tevis is science fiction's great neglected master, one of the definitive bridges between sf and literature.  For those who know his work only through the movies, the lucid prose and literary vision of Mockingbird and The Man Who Fell to Earth will come as a revelation."  
--AL SARRANTONIO,  Author of The Five Worlds saga --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Inside Flap

Mockingbird is a powerful novel of a future world where humans are dying.  Those that survive spend their days in a narcotic bliss or choose a quick suicide rather than slow extinction. Humanity's salvation rests with an android who has no desire to live, and a man and a woman who must discover love, hope, and dreams of a world reborn. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Anyone who likes Sci-Fi must read this book!
Eric
The two humans - and even the robot - gradually emerge from the nightmare of state-provided pleasure and into the real world of pain, loss, and love.
Natalie
Must have read this for the first time 9 years ago... I cant remember 99% of the many books I've read.
smiletodayok

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Natalie on March 5, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
"Mockingbird" is one of my favorite books of all time. Set in 25th-century America, it paints a picture of an eerie yet believable world, made all the more spooky by the fact that the twenty-five years since the book's publication has brought us ever closer to Tevis' imagined world: of a humankind drugged with chemicals, TV, and ignorance; where robots have broken down and can't repair things or each other; where there are no families and no more children being born; and where people are taught that "privacy is supreme," "quick sex is best," and "don't ask; relax." No one knows how to read; nor do any books, or even signs, exist. Human history is dead.

The main characters are Paul, who manages to teach himself to read and in so doing becomes an outlaw on the run; Mary Lou, who drops out of the system and finds herself the only pregnant woman in the world; and Spofforth, the last of the last line of robots to be built, sick of life but programmed to be incapable of suicide. The way the lives of these characters intertwine weaves a complex and surprising story of human relationship and what it really means. The two humans - and even the robot - gradually emerge from the nightmare of state-provided pleasure and into the real world of pain, loss, and love.

The book has a tight and nicely-paced plot, as well, and the ending does not disappoint. It is also punctuated with rich ideas, poignant vignettes, and such tenderness that you want to cry. One such vignette - I don't want to give anything away - but it involves a toaster factory inefficiently run by robots that Paul comes upon in his travels; what Paul discovers at the toaster factory is such a metaphor for our 21st-century world, it left me awed.

Tevis died in 1984, at the age of 56. What an incredible loss.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 5, 1999
Format: Hardcover
This book is one of my all time favorite books. I have read it many times (in fact I feel like reading it now) I look out for second hand copies of it so I can loan it to other people without fear of losing my original copy or, as my original copy is starting to fall apart, to keep as a spare.
It is a remarkable book. I have never come across another book that so succinctly explains the learning to read process. And of course, I look forward to a day when "Thought Buses" are cruising the streets. The ending is fantastic, one of the best! I urge anyone with a yen for unusual literature to read it if they can find one of those rare copies out there.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By William Doxey on March 22, 2000
Format: Paperback
I began using Mockingbird in my college classes when it first came out; and, even though it went out of print, I still used it, when I could find copies. Thank god it's available again! The exciting story of two people teaching themselves to read, then reading, thinking, writing, and regaining their humanity while falling in love is the strong medicine needed for education today. Also, Walter Tevis is one of the finest writers of any age--so reading Mockingbird is also a lesson in how to write clearly, concisely, and correctly. Would that every teacher and student read it--more than once!
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Robert H. Nunnally Jr. on May 31, 2002
Format: Paperback
Since the earliest science fiction novels, the novel of a future gone bad, or "dystopian" novel, has become a staple of the genre.
One thing I like about science fiction is the use of present trends to extrapolate the shortcomings of our current directions.
In this way, science fiction "about the future" has never been really "about the future", but instead about the time we currently live in, enlivened by scientific or social speculation.
The key issue, though, is how to keep the ideas fresh and relevant, because so many of these novels have been written.
Mockingbird avoids the "oft told tale" pitfalls that can too easily beset this genre. Tevis accomplishes the task by
creating believable characters, biting satire, and a pacing that is both leisurely and consistently interesting.
We are in a time when humankind's pursuit of happiness has
been reduced to the pursuit of pleasure. Mechanical inventions have eliminated the need to read, to write or to work.
The zero hour work week is imminent.
Who happens to the soul when it is freed from the mind?
Tevis answers the question brilliantly. This book is
a solid, strong read--it's a linear text, with little
time wasted on metaphysical author's voice. It uses quiet (if piercing) satire liberally, but not to the distraction of the plot. Tevis shows us a future all too much like our present,
only the trains have stopped running on time. My only criticism is that we are shown all the "no exit" spots in this dysfunctional world, but too few of the ways of escape.
Highly recommended. Anyone who thought Tevis' Man Who Fell to Earth was a bit difficult to follow will find this one
a breeze and yet a very thought-provoking book.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Dustin Tyler Morris on February 8, 2004
Format: Paperback
When I was younger, I read a lot of books, not the ones other kids would read, because I knew the super ones when I spotted them, and my friends were not reading super books. I eventually read less and less, and besides required reading for English classes, I didn't read much, because I couldn't seem to find a book that caught my interest. I'd read the first couple chapters of books that were just altogether uninteresting, and would shelve them. I bought Mockingbird on a whim, having liked Nicolas Roeg and David Bowie, two of my biggest idols, that were, incidentally, pitted together for "The Man Who Fell to Earth," a movie I like a lot, which was based off of Walter Tevis' book, The Man Who Fell to Earth. So I got Mockingbird in the mail, hoping it would be the book to set me back in reading gear, opening it from it's package with delight, and with a ready feeling to read. "In the far future, love is the only hope," read the inset, and this was a great love story. It was the book that I finally got stuck with and I couldn't stop reading it. I'd read it in the hallway during my Photo class when I didn't have any thing to do. I'd read it after a test. I'd read it on the couch while my family watched TV. It reminded me of Farenheit 451, but I found Mockingbird to be a far more picturesque dystopia, and it got me from the start because it didn't have to blossom the way F451 did. Comparing this to F451 also creates a chain, since Nicolas Roeg did photography for the movie version of F451, and as previously stated, directed the Man Who Fell to Earth by Walter Tevis, who wrote Mockingbird. The characters still get the Guy Montag effect, while the rest of the world is drugged and oblivious to every thing, keeping privacy.Read more ›
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