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The Space Merchants Paperback – December 6, 2011
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About the Author
FREDERIK POHL's writing career spans over seventy years. He won the National Book Award in 1980 for his novel Jem. From about 1959 until 1969, Pohl edited Galaxy magazine and its sister magazine, If, winning the Hugo Award for it three years in a row. His writing also won him four Hugos and multiple Nebula Awards. He became a Nebula Grand Master in 1993. Pohl won the 2010 Hugo Award for Best Fan Writer, based on his writing on his blog, "The Way the Future Blogs."
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Top Customer Reviews
Mitch Courtenay is an executive copywriter with Fowler Schocken, an advertising agency that has been given the task of selling the notion of colonizing Venus, an environmental hell-hole, to an over-populated and environmentally stressed earth. Courtenay, born with a proverbial silver spoon in his mouth and unaccustomed to anything but a pampered lifestyle is attacked by a deadly corporate conspiracy, robbed of his identity and imprisoned in an impoverished third world environment, the very existence of which came as a complete shock to him.
At the end of the day, whether you believe Courtenay to be an incorrigible villain or a reformed conservationist, "The Space Merchants" is a soft sci-fi classic well ahead of its time that explores thought-provoking themes and disturbing political issues that will be with us for many years to come. A gripping novel that well deserves it place in classic sci-fi libraries.
The story involves a top ad man who finds his task of developing a campaign for the colonisation of Venus dramatically undermined by dark forces. In this complex stew of industrial espionage are competing ad companies and the underground conservationist guerillas. The mystery moves along at a good clip although it sputters a bit towards the end.
Overall this book touches some deep issues along the lines of Aldous ('Brave New World') Huxley, and has a satiric (and weird) feel like the works of Philip K. ('Ubik') Dick. Certainly a minor classic in its own right.
If you enjoy reading "The Space Merchants," I suggest you prowl the used-book stores for a copy of Kornbluth's "The Syndic," another satire.
Yes, the first third of the book is a wonderful lenses of the future (though written in 1952) to view our current culture. Cynical (a common word used in other reviews) views are presented on the two main topics of corporate America and American consumerism (again, remember this was written in 1952)! In this point it was a visionary novel. Then the novel morphed itself into a rambling story of class struggle from being kicked down to the filth of lower class and having to prove oneself to work ones way back up the ranks. This middle third could be seen as another cynical view of class struggle, workers' rights or corporate greed. However, all of this simply dissolves when the last third of the book comes into light... or rather into darkness. Characters constantly pop-up, are gone again and up again in a jumble of plot points and twists ranging from New York to the moon. In this, the entire breadth of cynicism is lost and everything Pohl worked for in the first two-thirds is buried under the incoherence.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Great book. Interesting insights into potential futures with advertising. Dark but not hopeless.Published 3 months ago by Brian M.
Excellent story by one of the founders of the Futurian Club, a group of science fiction fans and writers in New York City. The book has some great satire, for 1953 that is. Read morePublished 13 months ago by Jim
In a dystopian future, uncontrolled population growth and environmental exploitation have been allowed to run rampant and it is producing a world of diminishing horizons and... Read morePublished 14 months ago by The Reviewer Formerly Known as Kurt Johnson
I thought it could've been better but it is an interesting read. Worth checking out.Published 17 months ago by J.O.
I enjoyed the author's sharp view on advertising and the corporate mind set. While, it was written a while ago, it still rings true. It is not dated. Read morePublished 23 months ago by John A. Sewell
Fred Pohl was (and still is -- he's 93 now) one of the great names in modern science fiction. He published his first work in AMAZING STORIES in 1937 and his last novel (so he says)... Read morePublished on November 10, 2013 by Michael K. Smith
This very gently and slightly updated edition is the one to read. It's as fresh as a newborn. Entertaining. Thought provoking. Hilarious. Read morePublished on September 7, 2013 by David Keith
A CLASSIC all sifi buffs should be aware of this great work which unfortunatly seems all too prophetic! We have lived through most of these forcasts!Published on August 27, 2013 by richard roy bruce