79 of 86 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lost classic
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...
Published on March 9, 2000 by Michael Battaglia
20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Stick with it
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...
Published on March 26, 2008 by Frank Rizzo
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6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best SF novel about pollution - demands a reprint,
This review is from: The Sheep Look Up (Mass Market Paperback)
Another dire warning from Brunner. Sheep is grimmer than Stand on Zanzibar. Set in a future much closer to our own time than the scenario painted in Stand on Zanzibar, the world described in Sheep is less fantastic and more familiar. The story is bitterly satirical, but the goal of the satire isn't humor, it's shock. Brunner's portrait of a corrupt, polluted world on the verge of ecological implosion is startlingly plausible and terrifyingly recognizable. You can feel the walls closing in as you read - the inertia of events feels inevitable; the end is nigh. The rich and powerful, in order to preserve their cache - even if only the illusion of it - will destroy everything that threatens it. By logical extension, the U.S. is the richest, most powerful country in the world - what will we destroy to preserve our way of life?
5.0 out of 5 stars The worst predictions of environmental disaster didn't come true thanks to ...,
Rereading this book for the first time since 1972 when it came out, it's astonishingly prescient in some ways but not others. It didn't predict the replacement of the Cold War with the War on Terror, but really what's the difference? The worst predictions of environmental disaster didn't come true thanks to reasonable government regulation of air and water quality (thanks, President Nixon).
But the underlying threats are still there - authoritarianism, corrupt mass media, uncontrolled consumerism, climate change.
What makes the book remarkable, as in 'Stand on Zanzibar' is the objectification of global catastrophe as represented in the lives of ordinary people, both victims and perpetrators...a science fiction strategy I think Brunner learned from Philip K Dick.
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. The Sheep Look Up, Stand on Zanzibar (1969 Hugo), The Jagged Orbit, and Shockwave Rider are perhaps his best and most innovative novels; and among the rest, there is rarely, if ever, a dud. Of additional note, his 1972 Shockwave Rider anticipates a fully connected world menaced by ever intrusive surveillance states populated not only by humans but also by worms roaming the net for both good and ill. Brunner's use and full development of the term worm is the first appearance in print of the idea and potential scope of computer viruses .
4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not enough copies!!,
This review is from: The Sheep Look Up (Paperback)
I devoured all the Brunner I could get my hands on until this one. It changed the way I think, made me look at our society with open eyes. This was in the 70"S. I have bought and given away many copies trying to bring Brunner's vision to others. Glad its back in print. Tired of looking for it in used book stores. Eerie, scary, parallels. PS: Got a hard cover original for Xmas last year.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Back in Print,
This review is from: The Sheep Look Up (Paperback)
Good to see this book back in print! I have a used hardcover copy that I wouldn't let anyone else get their hands on. Now it is available to everyone so I can say Get your own copy and read it now. The Sheep Look Up is one of the best sci-fi novels as well as one of the best works of fiction I have ever read. Experience it, and read the other reviews here; it's a wild and scary ride.
4.0 out of 5 stars Long but worth the read,
I won't sugar coat it - this was one of the most challenging books I've read. At first I couldn't keep up with all the characters and plot lines but toward the end it gets easier. The first half took me forever because I had a hard time with the structure, which reads like a newspaper or broadcast. Again, the end gets easier and focuses more on the people rather than snippets of the world going to help. The events are horrifying but seem believable. The book allows your imagination to wrap it up.
4.0 out of 5 stars Eco Dystopia,
There's a bit of a ranting tone, and the characters are definitely paper thin, but this is a gripping vision of our polluted future. For a book over thirty years old, it's stunningly prescient about developments we can see beginning to unfold today. Global warming is absent, but there are drug-resistant diseases, terrifyingly unstoppable pests of all kinds, babies exposed to toxicity, and more! For me, the pull was in watching Brunner's imaginative and detailed scenario play out. Scary but thought provoking.
4.0 out of 5 stars Before its time,
Mr. Brunner wrote a book prophetic, if somewhat over the top. Many of the results of our technologies were on display here, if highly exaggerated for effect.
5.0 out of 5 stars Uncanny comparisons to life today,
While this novel is obviously dated, it's incredible how many of the things going wrong in the novel's 'future' society are happening now in our own. I saw this as a Kindle offering and quickly decided to read it again - after reading it when it was brand new and offered by the Science Fiction Book Club in the 1970s. It still hasn't lost its impact, although now it's more frightening! Get it, you won't be sorry!
5.0 out of 5 stars Hmmm. Is this story prescient, or has society not changed that much?,
Near future sci fi novel hits pretty close to real life. A portrait of extremes, the consequences of disregarding the environment and the industries that pollute, agricultural catastrophes associated with pesticides, diseases adapting to antibiotics, issues associated with the disposal of toxic waste and the consequences of inept government oversight. Brunner foresaw all of it. Only a couple of nonexistent technologies: tanks that shoot lasers to quell the crowd and a microwave oven that leaked with results that were extremely and unlikely focused. Overall a very scary fable. All of the elements of failure of the government to act before it was too late are reminiscent of many things happening today. Rich and powerful valuing profits over the long term impacts to life on the planet and towards the earth itself. The public basically accepting all of it because they lacked the education and knowledge to understand it or to research. Learned helplessness. They simply relied on the government and industry for all of their information. A willful dumbing down of society. Though Brunner is British, this novel was written about America. Honestly, the novel seems to be written with some contempt for American hubris and sensibilities. He does let all the other 1st world entities off pretty easily in comparison. Written in 1972, Brunner is an incredible observer who seems to extrapolate what was happening then to a possible conclusion some 40 years later and it is really close. Not in his prediction of events, but in his prediction of how the government, the public, other countries, the military, the media etc view things and react and respond. Nothing in this book (laser cannons aside) is that far fetched. It is consistent with a theme I have been noticing in the older books I've been reading. It's likely not that Brunner was so prescient, it's that so very little has changed over the decades. Incredible and depressing.
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The Sheep Look Up by John Brunner (Hardcover - June 1, 2010)
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