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Alongside Night -- 30th Anniversary Edition by [Schulman, J. Neil]
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Alongside Night -- 30th Anniversary Edition Kindle Edition

4.2 out of 5 stars 45 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


"An absorbing novel--science fiction, yet also a cautionary tale with a disturbing resemblance to past history and future possibilities." -- Milton Friedman, Nobel laureate in Economics

"An unabashedly polemical , libertarian novel which packages its message in a fast, effectively told action adventure." -- Publishers Weekly

"Anyone interested in freedom will find this more than readable." -- Jerry Pournelle

"Engrossing." -- Thomas S. Szasz, MD

"Here is a frightening and all too plausible picture of the near future. America is already a long way down the road that leads to it. Yet there is also a hopefulness in the story, for the author develops a philosophy, in considerable practical detail, that we could begin living by today, if we will choose to be free." -- Poul Anderson

"High Drama ... A story of high adventure, close escapes, mistaken identities, and thrilling rescues. ... A fast-moving tale of a future which is uncomfortably close at hand." -- Los Angeles Times Book Review

"I received Alongside Night at noon today. It is now eight in the evening and I just finished it. I think I am entitled to some dinner now as I had no lunch. The unputdownability of the book ensured that. It is a remarkable and original story, and the picture it presents of an inflation- crippled America on the verge of revolution is all too acceptable. I wish, and so will many novelists, that I, or they, had thought of the idea first. A thrilling novel, crisply written, that fires the imagination as effectively as it stimulates the feelings." -- Anthony Burgess

"Let me begin with a disclaimer: I don't really agree with many of J. Neil Schulman's ideas about society or politics or money. But his first book, Alongside Night, is as enjoyable piece of cautionary fiction as I have read in some years ... Like Ayn Rand and Robert A. Heinlein, Schulman can tell a good story!" -- Sunday Detroit News

"One of the most widely hailed libertarian novels since the classic works of Ayn Rand." -- Reason Magazine

"Probably the best libertarian novel since Atlas Shrugged." -- Science Fiction Review

"This is a radical novel. It pulls no punches, offers no compromises. It effectively presents a social, moral, and political point of view without polemic, without stridency. Without hysteria, it projects a bleak future for us all, but not without hope, for there's a deep affection for humanity despite its foibles underlying every sentence." -- F. Paul Wilson

From the Publisher

Alongside Night scored lavish praise for a first novel when it appeared in 1979, winning accolades from luminaries such as the English novelist many consider the greatest of his generation, and the first American to win a Nobel Prize in Economics. Ten years later the Libertarian Futurist Society voted the book into the Prometheus Hall of Fame as a novel embodying the spirit of liberty, alongside Orwell's 1984, Rand's Atlas Shrugged, Heinlein's The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress, and Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451.

The last time this novel saw print was in 1987. Finally -- from the vaults -- come the last remaining copies of the autographed first edition of J. Neil Schulman's classic novel of the last and first days of America; available once again. And perhaps this time its prophetic clarion call will be heard ... while there's still a chance.

Numbered and signed biographical sheet tipped in. Limited to 500 numbered, autographed copies of the Crown Publishers first edition.

Product Details

  • File Size: 3466 KB
  • Print Length: 304 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Pulpless.Com; First Kindle Edition edition (March 25, 2009)
  • Publication Date: March 25, 2009
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00213JLZ4
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #615,269 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This story is set in a possible future for the United States. The federal government has inflated the currency so much that the greenbacks are hardly pretty much worthless; you have to use them immediately to buy supplies before they become worthless. There are two opposition groups to the feds, one of which has a large organization. The FBI is tasked to arrest all protesters, and there is a prison for political prisoners.

The story is told from the view of a teenager who finds his parents and sister gone; possibly dead or imprisoned. His life now is to avoid being caught. To do so he relies on the larger opposition group. The story has a lot of action, and a love story between the boy and a girl he meets while in hiding.

It's a well written story about an alternative history, and keeps your interest.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
First off, most reviewers are describing this book as "libertarian" when it is more accurately described as anarcho-capitalist: the Revolutionary Agorist Cadre *rejects* the notion of being the "one government" for the US in the end.

But that's nitpicking. I'm an AnCap and there's far too little literature out there for me to read, so stumbling across this book many years after it was written was a nice surprise for me (thanks Amazon for your excellent Similarities! Interested readers may want to check out Matthew Alexander's "Withur We" for a very recent AnCap book that would probably interest people that liked this book). The author clearly has an excellent grasp and fondness for AnCap concepts and the book shines the most when he focuses on how the people that have adopted an AnCap lifestyle function and get along.

Unfortunately, there's a couple of complaints about the book. For one, the above part that I liked was too short. In fact, the whole book is too short: nothing really has time to play out in a level of depth that satisfied me. And for a short book, too much of it was spent on things that just weren't that interesting, e.g. the entire raid on Utopia near the end of the book didn't do anything for me. What was the point of the various action scenes? A book that is trying to illustrate how different societal structures influence the resulting society doesn't need to become a Ludlum book for half of it. There really wasn't even a clear message or theme tying the raid into the rest of the book: was there a point to the fact that the raid was only partially successful? Other than perhaps trying to say "even for our 'heroes', not everything ends up exactly the way they want it", I'm not sure there was... and that point could have been in far fewer words.
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Format: Paperback
Back in 1987, a friend gave me a copy of the Avon paperback of "Alongside Night." I read it with great interest.

This novel reminded me a great deal of Robert Heinlein "juveniles" such as "Have Spacesuit, Will Travel." It is a bildungsroman following young Elliot Vreeland as he comes of age in New York City.

In the thirty years since J. Neil Schulman wrote the book, the dollar has been inflated more and more. The government has become larger, more corrupt, and much more like the government portrayed in the book. So, coming of age has gotten more and more difficult.

The great appeal for me in this book was its deliberate depiction of parts of society where government interference is not only gone, but actively prevented from getting involved. Free markets as part of an underground culture where people behaved without coercion had always appealed to me. In this book these markets were shown as real, vibrant, and substantial.

Nor is the future depicted any sort of utopia. There are problems in the Revolutionary Agorist Cadre with abuse of power and authority. There are problems with the government, too, which are far more pernicious. Yet, people manage their affairs and get by. Some thrive. Others suffer and die. Life's rich tapestry.

A decade ago, few would have believed that the monetisation of the government debt was threatening a hyperinflation of the dollar. Today it seems much more likely than ever. Who could have believed General Motors would be nationalised? Or Lehman Brothers and dozens of other companies would go under? Yet, today these are facts.

Alongside Night does an excellent job of showing a troubled world as a place to grow up. It also showcases agorism and individualism in ways never before or since.
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Format: Paperback
As others have noted, the book is a cautionary and dystopian tale of a United States that is in the throes of hyper-inflation and excessive government. The protagonist, a 17 year old whose father is a famous (and somewhat infamous) economist, gets wrapped up in government thuggery that is chasing his father, and manages to find his way into an anarcho-capitalist underground network, economy and resistance movement. The flavor and message are pretty strongly libertarian/anti-government, but they are also very blunt and ham-fisted. This is to be expected from a book that's looking to be didactic, and it is similar to others in the genre in that regard. As someone long-steeped in libertarian philosophy, I found this element of the book annoying, and it's the basis for my 3 star review.

The book's composition i.e. plot, pacing and prose is otherwise pretty good. The characters aren't particularly deep, but given that it's a fast read with an agenda, it's not a tragedy that they aren't. Some coincidences strain credulity (the female protagonist's arrival/bio/back story/etc is way too obviously a plot convenience), but again, that can be overlooked because the prose reads so easily. If you're looking for libertarian fiction, it's worth a read.
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