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The Sheep Look Up [Kindle Edition]

John Brunner
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (66 customer reviews)

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Book Description

In THE SHEEP LOOK UP, Brunner returns to a style similar to that of the manically inventive STAND ON ZANZIBAR, and delivers another fast-paced, kaleidoscopically comprehensive view of a near future rife with looming ecological dangers and possibly about to be saved by an underground revolutionary movement--if its leader can survive the hostility of vested interests to deliver his message of hope.

"One of the most important science fiction authors. Brunner held a mirror up to reflect our foibles because he wanted to save us from ourselves."
--SF Site

For each generation, there is a writer meant to bend the rules of what we know. Hugo Award winner (Best Novel, STAND ON ZANZIBAR) and British science fiction master John Brunner remains one of the most influential and respected authors of all time, and now E-Reads is pleased to re-introduce many of his classic works. For readers familiar with his vision, it's a chance to re-examine his thoughtful worlds and words, while for new readers, Brunner's work proves itself the very definition of timeless.

Editorial Reviews


"A complex tragic masterpiece. John Brunner is the Rachel Carson of science fiction." -- Ian Watson

"Gripping on both an emotional and intellectual level" -- Booklist

"The best Brunner novel I've yet read . . . staggeringly controlled and dramatic.a work of art!" -- James Blish

"[This book] is, in my opinion and for all kinds of reasons, unquestionably the best SF novel ever written." -- John Grant, Joint Editor, The Encyclopedia of Fantasy

About the Author

John Brunner was the author of dozens of science fiction novels, including Shockwave Rider and Stand on Zanzibar, which won the Hugo Award.

Product Details

  • File Size: 986 KB
  • Print Length: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Open Road Media Sci-Fi & Fantasy (April 1, 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00J5X5LVQ
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #69,675 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
81 of 88 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lost classic March 9, 2000
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Publishers have shown some intelligence by keeping both Stand on Zanzibar and The Shockwave Rider still in print but still show odd lapses of judgement by keeping this book relegated to used book stores instead of reissuing it for all to read. This is definitely better than Shockwave Rider, and more focused than Zanzibar (though not better). It is probably one of the grimmer books to emerge from any genre, I thought On the Beach was depressing, this is even more so. Brunner takes threads and weaves them together to show you a world where the ecology is falling apart, the people who have the money to fix it also have the money to keep themselves above it while the normal people just live with it and can't think that anything will be better. There is a plot, per se, involved with environmental leader Austin Train and his emergence from hiding but mostly the novel is concerned with showing the slow inexorable decline of the world into a polluted and chaotic mess. If you keep reading it looking for some last minute save, some ray of hope, you might as well stop reading because that isn't the point. Brunner isn't showing us how to get out of it (other than an ironic comment made by a character at the very end) but showing us what he thought would happen if we didn't change things. Giving it a specific date dilutes the impact of the book but his message is still as strong as ever and even though we've taken steps to prevent that future, there's still a way to go. Brunner isn't with us anymore and his voice is surely missed, moreso when we read about an oil spill or a forest being cut down for development. Reading his books keeps that voice alive today.
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137 of 168 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars eerily prescient July 8, 2002
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
Many people nowadays look back on the brief burst of environmental awareness (alarm) and criticism of corporate power which occurred in the 1970's as quaint,naive, slightly ridiculous. One prior reviewer of this work refers to the "hysteria" of the period.
What strikes me most strongly about _The Sheep Look Up_, billed as a 'sequel' to his big hit _Stand on Zanzibar_, is not its quaintness but its frightening accuracy. While Brunner guessed wrong on a number of counts -- for example, we haven't *quite* killed all the whales yet! -- there were trends which he read astutely and forecast correctly.
In particular he forecast increasing solipsism and isolationism in American politics and cultural life; he predicted a decline in the quality of political life, to the point where the American presidency would be occupied by a semi-literate figurehead whose job is to recite comforting and irrelevant platitudes into a microphone on his way from one glamorous gig to the next. His "Prexy" character seemed like a good fit for Reagan a while back, but the current Bush (the 2nd of that name) is an even closer match.
Brunner forecast the dumbing down of media, the intrusion of advertising into the most intimate spaces of daily life. He forecast the sidelining of "healthy lifestyle" products and choices into a yuppie trend (organic food becoming a boutique item) and the demonisation of environmentalists as "terrorists" and criminals. He forecast a degradation of community life, the rise of private security forces, and an increasing gap between (very) rich and (powerless) poor people.
He forecast the multiplication of resistant strains of pathogens, though he did not specifically call out the abuse of antibiotics in agriculture as a prime cause.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Stick with it March 26, 2008
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Be patient with this novel. In the begining you are inundated with new charecters and sublots every few pages. It reminds me of watching news coverage during some kind of widespread disaster. The network cycles through 10-15 different locations involving different perspectives and personalities in a very short time. You only glean enough information to realize that the situation is FUBAR; you can never fully relate to any one particular situation or its' human element. You don't empathize with the people in this novel for that reason. I found myself not wanting to invest any more time in this book; there isn't a single character you root for. I am glad I trudged through. The final third of the story is quite good. You've become familiar with the cast and Brunner moves seamlessly from one event to the next.
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23 of 27 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Stop, You're Killing Me April 29, 2005
This classic from John Brunner is a fascinating and terrifying vision of a dysfunctional future in which the worst flaws of modern behavior lead to disastrous results for humanity. Dealing with environmental degradation, the book is surely a fractured masterpiece of human misery and social dementia. There are a few problems with the believability of this book though. Brunner's future is awkwardly projected directly from the Cold War and civil rights struggles of the late 60s, making much of this book's background action quite seem quite dated. Brunner's environmental catastrophes are frighteningly possible if current trends continue to their logical extreme. But the worldwide burning rivers, dead oceans, and poison smog would take centuries to develop and appear rather hysterical in hindsight, as Brunner envisioned these things happening a mere decade after the time he wrote the book. And one fundamental plotting problem here concerns the success of mysterious hero Austin Train in getting many millions of people behind his budding anti-corporate revolution. Brunner implies that Train operates only on charisma and the obvious truth of his message. It is hard to imagine this happening in the real world, regardless of how correct or compelling a revolutionary's message truly is. Brunner also has the tendency to kill off his characters just when they start to get interesting.

But with those problems aside, Brunner still lays out an absolutely brilliant analysis of how American society would deteriorate in the face of an obvious disaster, no matter how farfetched that disaster may be. Those in the political and economic elite will stack the deck in their favor, continuing their lives of comfort while regular people are left to fend for themselves.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars It did not disappoint me.
it read Stand on Zanzibar years ago. Because of this I was looking forward to this story very much. It did not disappoint me.
Published 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Everyone dies...
Published 2 months ago by Nicholas N Tosaya
2.0 out of 5 stars Comes Utterly Too Well Reviewed!
I can't believe how many good reviews this rambling doomsday tale received. I felt like Brunner suffered from the gloomy environmental outlook being pitched during the sixties and... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Hannibal
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent read
An engaging, well written story. Horrifying and easily recognizable as a distinct possibility. Highly recommended. Hard to put down.
Published 6 months ago by S. Szakonyi
5.0 out of 5 stars The worst predictions of environmental disaster didn't come true...
Rereading this book for the first time since 1972 when it came out, it's astonishingly prescient in some ways but not others. Read more
Published 7 months ago by richardvjohnson
5.0 out of 5 stars John Brunner's Books -- For great SF, read them all
As Science Fiction goes, John Brunner is one of the greats. It is good to see this author of close to 60 SF novels inexpensively available in ereader format. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Amazon Customer
3.0 out of 5 stars Important, but unpleasant to read
I vacillated between 2 and 3 stars for this one. It gets 2 stars simply for being one of the most complete near-future dystopias of the 20th century. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Great science fiction
This is a great book. I've always thought it was John Brunner's best.
Published 8 months ago by David E. Burmester
4.0 out of 5 stars Very interesting, just a little long...
Very interesting book. I just felt that it was a little too long and the story went on and on with characters that you really don't care about. Read more
Published 8 months ago by J.O.
5.0 out of 5 stars Still a good read, and while the particulars are set in ...
One of the seminal works that brought about the awareness of the damage being done to our environment by greed and stupidity. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Amazon Customer
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