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The World Inside

3.75  ·  Rating Details ·  1,793 Ratings  ·  174 Reviews
Earth 2381: The hordes of humanity have withdrawn into isolated 1000-story Urbmons, comfortably controlled multicity-buildings which perpetuate an open culture of free sex and unrestricted population growth. Nearly all of Earth's 75 billion live in the hundreds of monolithic structures scattered across the globe, with the exception of the small agricultural communes that s ...more
Mass Market Paperback, 167 pages
Published 1983 by Bantam Books (first published 1971)
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Jul 12, 2015 Lyn rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Robert A. Heinlein demonstrated (time and again) that you can be a dirty old man and still get by, but when you get weird, you’re just creepy and the creep factor negatively effects your writing.

In 1966 someone should have said to him, “Bob, you’re sexually free and you’re all about the ladies being wild and free too, got it, but you wrote some great fiction back in the day before the thick shag rugs and the hot tub parties … so take it easy on the porn, huh? And for God’s sake DO NOT order anot
mark monday
imagine a future world with many towering worlds within it! Urbmon 116 is one such world within a world; it thrusts from the earth with its 800 floors, engorged with over 800,000 residents. Urbmon 116 has everything a person could desire besides privacy. its residents never leave this world inside!

imagine a utopian future! a world that is orderly but not truly conformist. communal and neighborly and all about sharing and learning and responsibility and definitely not about being a maladjusted ma
Sep 05, 2015 Brad rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi, 2016-shelf
This is a somewhat fascinating, excellently written porn set in an extremely overpopulated, but relatively comfortable utopian paradise with buildings a thousand stories high.

Odd? Nah, it's the second Hugo nom of Silverberg in '72, being one prolific and focused writer, with too many ideas to cram into any single book, instead just exploring a few here and a few there, but doing it so excellently that the rest of the New Wave crowd just stares and stares at the grotesque sexual display.

Nov 01, 2015 Apatt rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: pre-80s-sf
If you don’t mind I will start by repeating the same intro I wrote for Silverberg’s The Book of Skulls. I just think it’s worth repeating and the chances of you having already read said review is reasonably small ;)

Robert Silverberg is possibly the most underrated science fiction writer of all time, considering that he has been writing sf since the 50s, won numerous Hugo, Nebula, and other major sf awards, and is a “Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America Grand Master”. In spite of all t
Apr 12, 2016 Jason rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The world is a glorious place! Humanity has survived the population booms of the 20th and 21st centuries and come out the other side with a brilliant, well-ordered system of self-contained, fully sustainable communities. Food, energy, and space used at the highest efficiency! Minimal damage to the environment! All materials coming from local sources! It’s like a Sustainability Activist’s dream. The only downside, of course, is that people now live in these massive concrete apartment buildings th ...more
Kat  Hooper
May 15, 2012 Kat Hooper rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook
ORIGINALLY POSTED AT Fantasy Literature.

In the year 2381, the Earth contains 75 billion people. Despite the dire warnings of 20th century prophets, humans have not exhausted the Earth’s resources. There is plenty of food for everyone, but because 90% of the land must be covered in farms, most of the people live in Urban Monads — 1,000-story skyscrapers housing 800,000 people each. Citizens aren’t allowed out of their building, and many aspects of society are rigidly monitored. Everyone is marrie
4.5 to 5.0 stars. A very well written, incredibly original story that delivers a powerful message regarding what it means to be an individual and a human being. One of Silverberg's best. Highly recommended!!

Nominee: Hugo Award for Best Science Fiction Novel
Nominee: Locus Award for Best Science Fiction Novel
Aug 16, 2011 Teel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dystopia
The SciFi I've been reading from about '67 to almost '79 is so distinctly different from anything written in the last fifteen-plus years, and so similar in style & tone to other books from the same period... There is a certain blandness to the modern books, and a monotonous repetition the older ones are prone to, though I think I like the ideas of the older ones, like this one, somewhat better.

One thing I noticed/appreciated while reading this (and other dystopias from the period) is that wh
Evans Light
An interesting vision of the future 300 years from now, set in a world somewhat like last year's film DREDD, except here the enormous apartment buildings are models of self-sustainable efficiency, not slums that are riddled with drugs and gangs. Even the way justice is meted out is quite similar to that film, actually.
Although THE WORLD INSIDE story didn't have much in the way of tension or narrative arc, it was a very enjoyable travelogue into a somewhat possible future. The story dipped in and
Mar 13, 2013 Sandy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In Robert Silverberg's 1970 novel "Tower of Glass," obsessed business magnate Simeon Krug builds a 1,500-meter-high structure to enable him to communicate with the stars, and since 1,500 meters is roughly equal to 4,500 feet, or more than three Empire State Buildings, the reader is suitably impressed. But the following year, in his novel "The World Inside," Silverberg wrote of a group of buildings that make Krug's structure look like a pip-squeak. This was just one of four major sci-fi novels re ...more
May 13, 2012 Denis rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: hardcover, b-c
Right off, I am not a prude. I least I don't think so. But this...

Look hear; I don't read, what I believe they once called in the seventies, “Blue Books”. I know Robert Silverberg primarily as a scifi writer. I also know very well that that genre is not exclusive to his oeuvre – I have read his, sort of, autobiography / coffee table book “Other Spaces, Other Times: A Life Spent in the Future ”. Other than scifi, Silverberg has written several well acclaimed non-fiction books, mostly histories of
Apr 01, 2016 AC rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
This really is a gem. Perfection. Though I've had a lot of difficulty finding sci-fi that has been 'sponge-worthy' (Seinfeld), Silverberg has hit the mark -- depth, wonderfully written, character-driven, philosophical, pacing...
Silverberg posits a future world where people live in enormously tall buildings so that the rest of the planet can be used to grow food. People with the least important jobs live in communities on the lowest floors while the leaders live at the top. Procreation is the most important priority, and people go nightwalking (where they are welcome to bed whom they want although it is expected that you stay local.) Flippos are the ones who freak, and are thinned from society. We meet a few characters ...more
Invadozer Misothorax Circular-thallus Popewaffensquat
R Silverberg's "THE WORLD INSIDE" is
about the giant apartment communistic/yet caste ridden
complex (the floors are divided up according to job
'importance). Reading this I thought this is the straight bullet shot to the future. Population goes flippo so the powers that
be make a huge ass 1000 floor apt. complex where
everyone is supposed to just keep on poppin' pills and
out-slotting babies while holding down comfy jobs. Sex is free
with anyone, the apts. are always unlocked for the
'nightwalking' sexp
Deborah Ideiosepius
In this vision of the future Silverberg takes us to year 2381, the overpopulation of earth has been solved by creating Urban Monads, buildings three kilometers high in which populations of about 880,000 thousand people live completely regulated lives without ever going outside. The buildings recycle everything and the people are conditioned from birth to expect and adapt to living closely with other people - lots of other people.

It is a fascinating view of how society could evolve to cope with o
Apr 08, 2015 Michael rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction, 2015
Oh I bet this one has been a firecracker at many a book club meeting.The World Inside began life as a short story (chapter one) in 1970. But it proved to be such a fertile idea that a year later five more stories were added to expand and more fully explore the world inside Urban Monad 116. Each story is from the point of view of a different character though they all interlink with each other to give a wider view of life in Silverberg's vertical monoliths; a narrative microcosm I suppose. The Urb ...more
Jared Millet
Here's something you don't see much of any more - Social Science Fiction. The World Inside is a product of the era that also gave us Logan's Run and THX-1138, and is something of the same ilk. Several centuries into the future, the human race has moved into giant monolithic city-buildings called "urbmons" that each house almost a million people. Society has made some rather extreme adaptations to living in such close confinement: every freedom is supressed except for one - sex - and on sex, the ...more
Jul 10, 2016 Ram rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi

The year is 2381 the population of the world is 75 billion people and they practically all live in Urbmons……. 1000 story buildings that accommodate about 800,000 people. People spend their whole life in the urbmon and leave it only when they are chosen to be the nucleus of a new urbmon (when the urbmon gets too crowded). No birth control is practiced and sharing of everything is the norm, including each other's bodies. Each evening the men go out for nightly walks, walk into random apartments a
Kurt Reichenbaugh
Excellent novel (or series of inter-connected short stories) about life in the 24th century. Inhabitants of Earth live in a series of self contained buildings that reach skyward. Procreation (sex!) is the past-time of many. The few who long for something outside the crowded walls Urban Monad 116 are given center stage here. Religion and sociology put into a moving series of stories.
This dystopian novel of massive overpopulation is really quite good. People live in massive skyscrapers and most see their world as a utopia. The few who do not are ruthlessly disposed of and, unusually for dystopian novels, seem unlikely ever to change the system. The episodic structure and focus on various characters is very effective.
Aug 24, 2010 Natalie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: genre-scifi
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 29, 2011 Michele rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Seriously creepy dystopia. And the creepiness, well, creeps up on you. At first it's just your average overcrowding/individuality-is-antisocial/super-high-rise dystopia, but as I went on I became progressively more and more uneasy with what was happening to the main characters. Particularly interesting was the discussion late in the book between one of the "urbmon" dwellers and a "free" woman from one of the communes that produces the food for the world's 75 billion people. Obviously the differe ...more
Jul 02, 2011 Stefan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
I'm not always a fan of books that skip between a number of characters, but "The World Inside" is an exception. I didn't find "The World Inside" to be a staggering work of originality and genius, but considering its age (it was written back in the 1970s) it didn't feel that dated either. The plot flowed smoothly and the consequences of sacrificing privacy and personal liberties for high population growth was explored thoughtfully in this well-written dystopian novel.
Nov 23, 2014 spikeINflorida rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Silverberg's swanky story of a spouse swapping skyscraper society.
I have extremely mixed feelings about this. On one hand, the thought experiment and social projection is rather well done: the author has created a brave new world that I was curious to know about, and it all seems to make sense... on a certain level. But on the other, I was soooo infuriated by that society that lives and prospers like a cancer (literally, their only purpose in life is growth for the sake of growth) and whose pseudo "harmony" relies entirely on rape culture.
For me, this world is
Ben Shee
Apr 23, 2017 Ben Shee rated it it was amazing
This book is full of sex - this may seem deceptively like the work of a perverted man, writing for sexual fulfilment, but instead it is world building, creating a world where sexual fulfilment is so far flung from the norms even of contemporary paradigms. Silverberg's interconnected stories that undulate between utopia and dystopia are weaved together to show the mesh of a complete society living within a monolithic structure. He explores the mechanisms of the world; physical (in a not-overly-sc ...more
Vincent Powell
The concept of The World Inside is a compelling and portentous omen of overpopulation and globalization, one that seems incredibly prescient and continually applicable. Silverberg does a great job of describing the complexities of a society that lives within a single tower, and the tensions that extend to the individual in such a situation. He crafts a diverse world of politicians, scholars, engineers, and wives, and grapples with the new terrors and delights that evolve alongside societal chang ...more
Jessica Strider
Pros: fascinating world, fascinating characters

Cons: if you’re prudish you won’t like this book

Centuries in the future the human population has increased dramatically. Most humans live in 1000 story towers separated into cities with their own schools, hospitals, etc. Fed by communes outside the towers that urban dwellers will never see as they live their lives fully contained within their buildings.

This book starts with the premise that humans have moved into towers, foregoing privacy for a sexu
Les monades urbaines est un roman-mosaïque de Robert Silverberg décrrivant la vie dans des tours gigantesques d’ici deux cent ou trois cent ans. Il s’agit naturellement d’une forme d’utopie (et oui, encore une) banissant la propriété sus toute ses formes. Chacun est un membre de la monade, et c’est tout.

Contrairement à Kirinyaga, il n’existe pas ici de manière claire de qualifier cette utopie. Est-ce le bien, le mal ? Aucun moyen de le savoir, si ce n’est par le traitement infligé aux "anormos"
Shelton TRL
Jul 17, 2012 Shelton TRL rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
World-building; Character-driven; Intricately plotted. Strong sense of place; Thought-provoking.

To deal with a growing population in the future, massive tall buildings each become homes to nearly one million people. These redefined countries have attitudes towards sex, procreation, and going outside that vary greatly from modern thought. The book traces the paths of several inhabitants in one of these buildings as their lives intersect with and diverge from one another.

***Warning: the sexual mo
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Robert Silverberg is one of science fiction’s most beloved writers, and the author of such contemporary classics as Dying Inside, Downward to the Earth and Lord Valentine’s Castle, as well as At Winter’s End, also available in a Bison Books edition. He is a past president of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America and the winner of five Nebula Awards and five Hugo Awards. In 2004 the Sc ...more
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