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The Status Civilization (Prologue Science Fiction) by [Sheckley, Robert]
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The Status Civilization (Prologue Science Fiction) Kindle Edition

4.1 out of 5 stars 43 customer reviews

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Length: 151 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Product Details

  • File Size: 404 KB
  • Print Length: 151 pages
  • Publisher: Prologue Books (April 1, 2012)
  • Publication Date: April 1, 2012
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B007S2UUKI
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #324,622 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A. Taylor on October 9, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This story is included in "The Robert Sheckley Megapack: 15 Classic Science Fiction Stories" for 99 cents. Plus you get 14 other stories. The short story is very good but the collection is the better deal unless you only want the book for some reason.
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Format: Hardcover
I wish I could find more books by Robert Sheckley.
"The Status Civilization" is one of those maddening little
pieces which reaches out and grabs your attention with
the sheer _audacity_ of scope and ideas, only to fall
short when it comes to delivering substance. Part of the
problem is that it's a very short book; I read it in an
English paperback as part of a two-novels-in-one, a la Ace
Double.

The story starts with a familiar premise : Earth, having
become an enlightened techno-utopia, no longer executes
its criminals. Instead, such deviant elements are dumped
on the surface of a vaguely livable planet called
Omega. For good measure, the convicts' minds are wiped clean
of all past memories. Our protagonist is one of these convicts.

He's been sent up for murder. Problem is, he doesn't want to believe it. Problem with that is that the memories leaking out from "beneath the surface" seem to indicate that he is.

At the beginning, at least, he's got a few more important
things to worry about, like surviving. See, Omega doesn't have nice Earth values concerning the sanctity of life. Instead, a citizen's status is dependent upon how many people he can kill...but only according to the rules.

He narrowly escapes death, but only at the price of killing
in self-defense. This touches off a round of self-doubt, but, at the same time, catapults him into
Omegan society as the proprietor of a poisioners' shop. This gives him time to become acquainted with some of the more quaint Omegan customs, like mandatory substance addiction and the worship of Evil.
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Format: Paperback
The Status Civilization is an excellent tale that never gets old. Will Barrent is among a group of prisoners from Earth who have had their memories wiped and are left to live on the planet Omega. This is a planet ruled by criminals where you advance by being bad and devising clever ways to beat the law. One may recall the film Escape from New York where Manhattan Island is made a prison. This world is different in that there are class systems in this world (the highest appears to be Hadji) and there are actual laws that govern. One of the best ways to advance is to find ways to get around the law.

Barrent is almost killed by a group of Hadjis but manages to outsmart them and this allows him to gain a "Free Man" status. Challenges are thrown at him that he keeps overcoming and slowly advances. He encounters an underground organiztion whose goal is to get back to Earth and reclaim their place there. Eventually Barrent will become the agent to execute their plan. When the reader finally learns what is going on back on Earth, it is not what you expect and like the Twilght Zone there is an ironic end to the tale.

The book that I read also included Sheckley's Notions:Unlimited collection of short stories. These are each excellent twist ending tales that would be perfect for episodes of The Twilight Zone. From a tale with a creature that is similar to The Blob, to a planet with dangerous winds, a world inhabited by a lone Earthman that other Earth people think he is lying about his heritage. My favorite of these tales is called Double Indemnity where a time traveler attempts a new scheme at insurance fraud.

Each tale is excellent and as good as any short science fiction tale being written today. If you can get your hands on a copy of this book, don't hesitate to get it! An extremely pleasant surprise that will not disappoint you!
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A man wakes up in a hospital with no memory, but it isn't a hospital. It's a prison ship taking him on an alien planet named Omega. When he is marched out of the ship with a group of other amnesiacs, they are informed that they are all criminals who have been exiled. They are told that their minds have been wiped of all information of their previous life on Earth for the safety of Earth. They are told their crimes and their names but nothing else. The man finds out that his name is Will Barrent and that he is a murderer.

Barrent and his cohort are then dumped into a society where evil is good and individuals advance in status by murder. Barrent advances quite successfully by his reflexes, intelligence and good fortune, rather than by any innate viciousness or sociopathy. He is helped at key times by a mysterious woman, who doesn't exist in the story as anything more than a plot device.

Eventually Barrent gets to the pinnacle of Omega society and discovers that its internal contradictions are about to rip it apart. He fortuitously falls in with the Omegan non-criminal underground and is smuggled back to Earth on a returning prison ship.

Because of the mindwipe, Omegans do not remember anything about Earth, although they have conjectures about a fierce police state ruled through informers. What Barrent finds, however, is a world of unthinking conformity. There is no police and there is no crime. There are no local or regional differences. As part of all the conformity, status is also key on Earth as everyone knows their place and keeps to it.

Barrent ultimately learns the secret of Earth: everything is maintained in proper order by deep psychological programming, which has resulted in stagnation.
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