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The Santaroga Barrier Mass Market Paperback – September 16, 2002


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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Books (September 16, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0765342510
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765342515
  • Product Dimensions: 0.7 x 4.2 x 6.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,544,875 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Herbert may be one of our major prophets."-The Berkeley Barb

"Herbert is one of the most thought-provoking writers of our time; by focusing on an 'alien' culture, he makes us examine what the true definition of 'human' is."-The Pacific Sun

"Herbert does more than carry events forward: he deals with the consequences of events, the implications of decisions."-St. Louis Post-Dispatch

About the Author

Frank Herbert was born in Tacoma, Washington, and educated at the University of Washington, Seattle. He worked a wide variety of jobs--including TV cameraman, radio commentator, oyster diver, jungle survival instructor, lay analyst, creative writing teacher, reporter and editor of several West Coast newspapers--before becoming a full-time writer. He died in 1986.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Frank Herbert (1920-86) was born in Tacoma, Washington and worked as a reporter and later editor of a number of West Coast newspapers before becoming a full-time writer. His first sf story was published in 1952 but he achieved fame more than ten years later with the publication in Analog of Dune World and The Prophet of Dune that were amalgamated in the novel Dune in 1965.

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Read the book and it will make sense.
Steven P. Kent
It is a novel that can be read and enjoyed by those that do not consider science fiction or fantasy their forte.
Stephen C. Kistner
In all, the concept and the flow of the story were excellent.
Eric S

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

34 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Tim F. Martin on July 19, 2005
Format: Mass Market Paperback
_The Santaroga Barrier_ by Frank Herbert features an odd choice for a hero; Dr. Gilbert Dasein, a psychologist from the University of California at Berkeley, employed to do of all things a market study. Meyer Davidson, agent of a powerful investment corporation, one that owns a chain of retail stores, was upset about what was termed in the marketing world as the "Santaroga Barrier," Santaroga being a small farming community and town located in an idyllic mountain valley in California. Davidson was upset that his corporation - as well as others before him - had failed utterly in selling a variety of products to the people of Santaroga. No on in Santaroga bought cigarettes- those very few that were sold were bought by transients, people stopping in the community's one service station to buy gas - nor did they buy any wine, beer, produce, or cheese brought from outside the valley. The people of Santaroga would only eat vegetables, fruits, cheese, beer, and wine raised or made within the valley. A great many Santarogans worked to produce these items only for local consumption, as they "didn't travel well." The largest of these institutions was the Jaspers Cheese Cooperative, a large factory-like complex that employed many in the little town.

Dasein, with the help of the head of the university's psychology department, Dr. Chami Selador (working outside Santaroga), uncovered a few more interesting facts, notably that outsiders never found a house to rent or buy in the valley, no one moved out, and Santaroga never reported any mental illness, juvenile delinquency, or crime to state officials. All businesses, including the bank and the gas station, were locally owned.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Joanna Daneman #1 HALL OF FAMETOP 10 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on September 26, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I loved "Dune" of course, but Herbert's other novels are often less know, but really are interesting, too. In particular, I admire "The Santaroga Barrier" because it is set, not in the future, but in a town that could be anywhere today.
"The Santaroga Barrier" is set in a valley town in California. It looks completely normal--life is typically small-town, with small businesses and farms run by the locals. But for some reason, big merchandisers outside the valley cannot sell there. In an age where marketing demographics can tell precisely what brand of car, cigarette, cola or watch you are likely to buy by where you live and your age cohort, this is astounding.
What's also astounding is how Herbert forsees the age of online data-gathering (think, cookies on your browser) and huge mega-merchandisers like W*-mart who control huge blocks of buying power and who drain small towns of dollars that used to circulate and support local businesses.
But that's not the only threatening situation in Santaroga. What is with the "Jaspers" Cheese Co-op (is it a cult?) and why did the previous marketing investigators sent by big business meet with unfortunate accidents? The story that unfolds is fascinating--are the Santarogans just minding their own business, or are they evil in some way, and whose side will you end up on at the end of the book? I really recommend this novel even if you don't like science fiction. It's one of my favorites.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By David Rasquinha on March 16, 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
The fame of Herbert's Dune series has sadly obscured some of his other science fiction - Santaroga is a prime example. A valley town in California appears to be not just different from the rest of the world around it, but practically on a different planet. It's residents have no interest in the external world or the products it offers - almost an autarky. Driven by a corporate marketing assignment combined with the lure of an old (but strongly flickering) flame, Gilbert Dasein visits the town and finds a bizarre degree of contentment and unity. On the face of it, it is the mysterious Jaspers (akin to the mélange of Dune) that is responsible but Herbert is driving at a larger picture here. Santaroga is almost a collective mind, or a community with a group consciousness. One that thrives in its little pond and fears the vast ocean outside which it strives to hold at arm's length - the barrier of the title. A fascinating read.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Randolph A. Burgess on July 20, 2005
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
Let's face it, "Dune" is fascinating, but there's not a whole lot of fun to be found in its pages. And the follow-ups to "Dune" weren't anywhere near as good as the first book.

But "The Santaroga Barrier" - yes, it's pretty cheesy, as at least one reviewer has noted - but it's a terrific, fun read. Much closer to something Stephen King might have written than the pompous interplanetary muck of "Dune" et al. The small town, the paranoia, the engagingly thick-headed, stubborn, but fundamentally decent hero; the blindsight on the part of the townspeople about themselves; the savage accuracy of Herbert's description of "normal" consumer culture; it's all a great mix. The only Herbert book I've read that approaches it as a quick, clever read is "Whipping Star." (I didn't like "The Dosadi Experiment" nearly as well, though it was OK.)

For years my only copy of this book has been a paperback with the glue completely gone and all the pages separated. I'm so glad I looked to find out if it had been reissued. This book is a treasure, and one of those few - like "Emma" by Jane Austen, "Daniel Martin" by John Fowles, or "The Honorary Consul" by Graham Greene - that I'll delight in rereading periodically for the rest of my life.
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