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Stand on Zanzibar Mass Market Paperback – April 12, 1987

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Editorial Reviews


"A wake-up call to a world slumbering in the opium dream of consumerisum; in the hazy certainty that we humans were in charge of nature.  Science fiction is not about predicting the future, it's about elucidating the present and the past.  Brunner's 1968 nightmare is crystallizing around us, in ways he could not have foreseen then.  If the right people had read this book, and acted in accordance with its precepts and spirit, our world would not be in such precarious shape today.  Maybe it's time for a new generation to read it."--Joe Haldeman
"A quite marvelous projection in which John Brunner landscapes a future that seems the natural foster child of the present."
--Kirkus Reviews
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Inside Flap

A Hugo-award-winning novel of over-population, poitical struggles, and warped ethics. "A quite marvelous projection in which John Brunner landscapes a future that seems the natural foster child of the present...Everything compounds into a fractured tomorrow--from the population explosion to Marshall McLuhan to the Territorial Imperative to the underground press..."--Kirkus Reviews

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 650 pages
  • Publisher: Del Rey; Reissue edition (April 12, 1987)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345347870
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345347879
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 4.2 x 7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (91 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,218,273 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

129 of 136 people found the following review helpful By D. Cloyce Smith on April 16, 2004
Format: Paperback
British writer John Brunner's novel, first published in 1968 (it won both the Hugo and British Science Fiction awards, and four years later, the French Prix Apollo), is certainly one of the most literary, complex, challenging, even difficult works of science fiction written during the twentieth century. Yet, in spite of the hurdles it may present some readers, the book manages also to be fast-paced and hysterically funny.

One of the triumphs of Brunner's book is that it can be read on any number of levels, which is probably why it seems to resonate with readers of extraordinarily divergent tastes. Having read it twice (once as a bookwormish Valley brat and now twenty-odd years later as a still-bookwormish publishing professional), I am not surprised that this book might be entirely different beasts to different readers; the enthralling, bewildering thriller I remembered from my adolescence has somehow transformed itself into a darkly sardonic political and social commentary--and I like both versions just fine.

The novel is not, at first, an easy read. Its "unique" jump-cut/collage structure, its pseudo-hip prose style, its fabricated lingo--all are modeled rather precisely on John Dos Passos's classic American classic trilogy, "U.S.A." Like Dos Passos, Brunner interlaces chapters in several strands. The bulk of the storyline appears in the "Continuity" chapters, which detail the misadventures of secret agent Donald Hogan and corporate executive Norman House, and the "Tracking with Closeups" chapters, which describe two dozen characters who are peripheral to the action. The other two strands--"Context" and "The Happening World"--provide background material (film descriptions, encyclopedia entries, song lyrics, document excerpts, advertising jingles, news stories, etc.
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful By S. MARTYNIUK on April 19, 2002
Format: Paperback
I can't remember what prompted me to re-read this lovely book but I ordered it from Amazon recently and was not disappointed.
Science fiction which attempts to forecast the near-future often fails as the prophesies are either too obvious or fail to come to life. In this case John Brunner demonstrated - in 1967 - an extraordinary facility the understand and describe issues which the rest of us did not catch up on till 20 or 30 years later.
The writing technique used is quite unique and requires considerable concentration and participation by the reader, who is rewarded as the book progresses with the answers to the puzzles which emerge.
Finally a word on Brunner's marvellous capacity for believable characterisation. The characters in this fast-moving story are alive and highly motivated.
I don't agree with reviews which pigeonhole and classify this unique book with lesser genres. It is far above that.
I learned only recently that John Brunner had died a few years back. This is a great loss to the world but his books prevail.
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38 of 43 people found the following review helpful By doomsdayer520 HALL OF FAME on June 24, 2004
Format: Paperback
While some aspects of this novel are dated and a bit annoying, John Brunner delivered an eerily prescient and haunting epic on the human condition back in 1968. This is mostly thought of as a story about overpopulation, but that is actually just a background setting that weighs down upon the bizarre near-future society Brunner has created. Social pressures of population have led to twisted morals and ethics. Discrimination and xenophobia have been mechanized with eugenics legislation, people have become over-reliant on the cold logic of supercomputers rather than human reasoning, corporations are buying and controlling entire nations, and crime, terrorism, and social sabotage have become endemic. Back in 1968 these may have seemed like creative aspects of Brunner's imagination, but they are becoming disturbingly familiar over the intervening decades. Brunner's writing style here can be a real trip too, with a montage of styles incorporating quick cuts between the viewpoints of different characters, along with constructed snippets resembling newspaper reports, government documents, advertisements, and even folktales from Brunner's imaginary world. This style of writing is becoming rather dated, and the book gets off to a slow start as you try to digest the writing methods. Also, the ending is a bit anti-climactic with the long and extensive build-up fizzling out into an off-screen denouement. But in the end this novel has the power to implant rather disturbing thoughts in the back of your mind about the near-future course of humanity. [~doomsdayer520~]
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Moderan on June 14, 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I first picked up this book when I was ten years old. I've had to buy three new copies since then, because of all the wear and tear. I've been watching a great deal of the world that Brunner wrote about in this and the other two books in this cycle (The Sheep Look Up and the Shockwave Rider) grow around us. I'm not sure that the late Mr. Brunner wanted that to happen-these are cautionary tales in the extreme, and I imagine he didn't enjoy watching it happen any more than the rest of us did. Shalmaneser has almost as much personality as HARLIE, without much text space devoted to it, simply by the accumulated weight of all the sub-references, which pile up like Dennis Miller asides until they reach a whole. The entire book is written in minichapters, with their own headings, and each heading has a story to tell. I would have liked to have been eptified to write like this. The cut-up technique may cause difficulty for readers with long attention spans or a conservative reading bent, but if you keep reading, the detail will build up in your head until you get the point(s) that Brunner is trying to make. This novel and it's companions predated the cyberpunk genre by some long years (it's literary precedent would be "A Clockwork Orange", which had some of the same points to make), but it's the stuff that Gibson, Sterling, et al seem to have used as a reference, like a previous reviewer correctly observed.
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