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Os Mercadores do Espaço (The Space Merchants #1)

3.88  ·  Rating Details ·  7,117 Ratings  ·  370 Reviews
The ad man sets his sights on the gravy train that is Venus: unconquered and waiting to be populated by Earth's capitalist-driven consumers.
It is the 22nd Century, an advertisement-drenched world in which the big ad agencies dominate governments and everything else. Now Schoken Associates, one of the big players, has a new challenge for star copywriter Mitch Courtenay. Vol
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Mass Market Paperback, 154 pages
Published 1987 by Publicações Europa-América (first published August 1952)
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Stas' Wiatrowski In terms of old school SF I would suggest the following:

The Stars My Destination, by Alfred Bester and The Demolished Man, also by Alfred Bester. He…more
In terms of old school SF I would suggest the following:

The Stars My Destination, by Alfred Bester and The Demolished Man, also by Alfred Bester. He was an extraordinary writer whose work still holds up today.

Vincenzo Iuppa's suggestions are really worth exploring.(less)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Lyn
Apr 29, 2015 Lyn rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I like Frederik Pohl more and more the more of his books I read.

Space Merchants, first published in 1952 is a science fiction gem. Telling the tale of a capitalistic-anarchic society from the perspective of an advertising executive, Pohl describes a world where ancient maxims have been turned upside down – such as “Power enables, and absolute power enables absolutely.”

Our hero is living the dream amidst a world of over-population and contract labor consumerism. Then corporate espionage and the n
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Bill  Kerwin
Jul 27, 2015 Bill Kerwin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Are you one of those people who miss Madmen desperately? Do you also have a taste for classic science fiction? If so, here is a book that could have been created just for you. Published in 1953, The Space Merchants tells the story of the USA some centuries hence, a land still stuck in the morals and mores of the Madmen era, with sexist men who take their privilege as a given and take their sexy (and intelligent, and capable) women for granted.

But things are much worse in the future than they we
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Apatt
Nov 05, 2016 Apatt rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi, pre-80s-sf
“I was becoming the kind of consumer we used to love. Think about smoking, think about Starrs, light a Starr. Light a Starr, think about Popsie, get a squirt. Get a squirt, think about Crunchies, buy a box. Buy a box, think about smoking, light a Starr. And at every step roll out the words of praise that had been dinned into you through your eyes and ears and pores.”

The Space Merchants is a different spin on the dystopia subgenre, it posits a near future where society is ruled by mega-corporatio
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Simon
I was blown away by this satirical and cynical novel. I couldn't believe how fresh it felt, even sixty years after it was originally published, it's still so pertinent, so topical. I would not have been surprised to find out it was written twenty years after it was.

Reading up about the origins of this novel, I was amazed to discover that Pohl actually decided to get a job in advertising just so he could know the industry better and write about it with more authority. And yes, one certainly feels
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Brad
Never have I read such a marvelously plausible work of Science Fiction. There are many prophetic works, and plenty of works of farther distant futures that I can see being possible, but The Space Merchants is mostly here right now, and everything else (if you exchange Mars for Venus) is merely moments away. And that is a scary fucking proposition.

Pohl & Kornbluth's world is an overpopulated mess, where food and water are at a serious premium and the super-rich dominate the use of goods and
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Oscar
En un futuro cercano, surge el Proyecto Venus, que tiene como misión colonizar dicho planeta. La Tierra está superpoblada y sobreexplotada y está dominada por grandes corporaciones publicitarias. El mundo se divide en Consumidores, Productores y Ejecutivos. Es entonces cuando surge la gran oportunidad para las empresas de publicidad: dirigir la campaña para potenciar la colonización de Venus. Dicho contrato al final ha caído en manos de la Sociedad Fowler Schocken, a la que pertenece el protagon ...more
Stephen
4.0 stars. One of the better collaborations between Frederik Pohl and C. M. Kornbluth. Excellent world-building and an intelligent, satirical plot make this one of the better books from this period.
Elizabeth
May 28, 2012 Elizabeth rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
This was a reread of one the books that first got me into science fiction and it was totally worth rereading all these years later.

One of things I really enjoy about fifties sci-fi was the sparse writing style. In well under two hundred pages you get amazing world building and a brilliant storyline. So many great ideas for a slightly terrifying but believable future world are evoked but not explained to death leaving your imagination free to run wild. The concept of 'chicken little' had remaine
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Nancy Oakes
Feb 12, 2008 Nancy Oakes rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Awesome book! Hard to believe this was written like 50+ years ago, because it is so incredibly relevant to our modern times. For example: it takes a look at the dangers of imperialistic corporations & greed, the plight of workers and the ungodly conditions under which some of them have to work, the clear and unmistakeable division of class in society, the total lack of concern for the environment and the treatment of those who care about it and want change. Good grief! To say that it was way ...more
Jim Mcclanahan
Jul 05, 2010 Jim Mcclanahan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
First time I've read this novel in decades. I am quite sure that I considered it "far-fetched" in the 1960s. Hey, how crazy can you get: Congress controlled by corporate entities; conservationists vilified as anarchists; food and beverages adulterated beyond belief, corporate espionage driven to life/death levels; Severe shortages in fossil fuels and clean water. Hmm, so where do "chicken tenders" really come from? Maybe from "Chicken Little".

And in my undergraduate days, I worked part time for
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Werner
Mar 21, 2008 Werner rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: All science fiction fans
Recommended to Werner by: It was required reading for I correspondence course in science f
Shelves: science-fiction
As a young man, Pohl worked for an advertising agency, and the experience left him with both an insider's understanding of, and a profound distaste for, psychological manipulation for profit, hucksterism, and the whole mentality of material consumption for its own sake. That understanding and distaste provide the theme for a lot of his short fiction; and they're very evident in this novel (which is probably the best and most perceptive dystopian vision from its generation), which conjures a futu ...more
Adam Denny
Apr 25, 2013 Adam Denny rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
Written in 1950, this novel can be seen as an American response to George Orwell's "1984." One of the most unbelievable aspects of that novel was that Ingsoc, English Socialism, would somehow come to dominate the United States. What happens is far more likely; the most base and brutal expression of American capitalism taking over the hearts and minds of the rest of the world. 85% of the population are classed as Consumers, only good for what they can contribute to the economy. Congress directly ...more
Rhys
Feb 19, 2010 Rhys rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Quite simply one of the best science fiction novels published in the 1950s (only Alfred Bester's The Stars My Destination, Brian Aldiss' Non Stop and Kurt Vonnegut's The Sirens of Titan truly compare)... This satire on the advertising industry is so far ahead of its time that I was staggered! The world it depicts resembles the future Earth of the film Blade Runner perhaps even more accurately and acutely than Philip K. Dick's novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? does... I must keep a look ...more
Nikki
The Space Merchants has a very 1984 feel: the underground movement, the profession of the main character... but it's very different as well. A similar situation, if you like, but with a capitalist society taken to the extremes rather than a socialist one. I'm surprised at people saying it feels outdated; I'm with the people who feel it still seems surprisingly relevant for something written in the 1950s.

It's a very quick read, and one worth reading not so much for characters or relationships, bu
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Charles Dee Mitchell
Science Fiction as a prescient guide to future technology and society has never much interested me. I read recently that Jules Verne kept abreast of all the latest scientific journals just to up his odds on getting something right. But even with his background research he came up mostly with plots that today are absurd given almost any background in science. Occasionally you read that some writer predicted the internet or the types of computers that we now take for granted. And they "predicted" ...more
Tony
Sep 30, 2012 Tony rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
THE SPACE MERCHANTS. (1953). Frederik Pohl & C. M. Kornbluth. ***.
This was included in the collection from The Library of America in “American Science Fiction 1953-1956.” As a strange coincidence, this was the year that I began reading science fiction (at thirteen years old). I probably read this book, since it seemed familiar, but after all these years, who knows. It’s the story of the war between two mega advertising agencies in the far future. They are both after the same account which i
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Veeral
This is a book that has aged well. The first half is way better than the last one and the prose seems somewhat disjointed in the second half comparatively, but even then this was a good experience.

It has a dystopian setting where the world is divided essentially in two parts. The producers and the consumers. Mitchell Courtenay works with Fowler Schocken Associates which is an advertising agency and is assigned the ad campaign that would attract colonists to Venus; more accurately, duping them t
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Jlawrence
Aug 22, 2011 Jlawrence rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A science-fiction satire on advertising and consumerism run amok written in the early '50s (so, yes, parts of it play a little like Mad Men...of the future!). Second half is not quite as good as the first half, some of it is dated, but nonetheless a fun read, with a lot still dead-on, relevant and funny. Part of what helps is that the protagonist Mitch, whose values you are to deplore, is nonetheless very smart and amusing.

A couple of quotes - Mitch's boss talking to him about Mitch's official s
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Thom
Nov 01, 2015 Thom rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
First published in 1952, this book shows a future with advertising agencies on top of the heap, and life isn't pretty for the rest of us. The environment is shot, cities are crowded and food tasteless (and very much GMO).

By coincidence, I was reading this at the same time as The Evening Star: Venus Observed, and unlike other science fiction from the early 50s, Venus was known to be hot and inhospitable. Scientists have a plan to terraform and colonize, led by advertising executive Mitch Courtena
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Buck Ward
Written in 1952, The Space Merchants makes Frederik Pohl and C. M. Kornbluth seem prescient. Or maybe 1952 wasn't all that different from today. I've read comparisons of The Space Merchants to the TV show Mad Men, which I think is set in the 1960s. I really don't know, never having seen the TV show. In the book, marketing and advertising is all-important. Congressmen represent corporations rather than citizen constituents. The world is so crowded that a two-room apartment is high luxury. Ordinar ...more
David
Jan 05, 2012 David rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Utterly brilliant. I adore this book. And I'm really happy I read this revised edition. I would strongly suggest that everyone ignore the earlier version. This is something every college student should read. It's as vital today as it was when it first appeared.
Ivan Lutz
Aug 09, 2013 Ivan Lutz rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Savršeno!!!
Kakva uživancija!
Trevor
Nov 05, 2012 Trevor rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 1952
I’ve had a very miss-and-miss relationship with recent novels and short stories that, claiming to be science fiction, venture into our future a few years to some kind of corporate dystopia. It’s not that I don’t take the threat seriously, but the refrain is so familiar and blunt. It doesn’t challenge our perspectives or incite us to action. It’s become a formula: plug in a few references to current companies merged into super giants, like AmExDisneyGoldman; show that people are oblivious to thei ...more
Usagi
Feb 16, 2017 Usagi rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017
Una delicia angustiosa y asfixiante. Impresiona pensar que se escribió hace más de sesenta años. Evidentemente, hay aspectos viejunos que lo delatan, en especial en todo lo relativo a la perspectiva de género, pero vaya.
Patrick
Reading this in 2016 must be a very different experience to that which someone picking up the book in 1952 might have had. Ideas that I expect must have seemed ground-breaking in the early 1950s have been widely recycled in the intervening sixty years so that what surprised me most was seeing ideas that I had always associated with the 1960s counter-culture – about the manipulativeness of advertising – the gulf between what is promised and what is delivered – and about the power of multinational ...more
Chelsea
Sep 23, 2011 Chelsea rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011, sci-fi
The concept of this book was genius--the authors imagine a world in which advertisers control the world, and citizens are more loyal to their favorite brand names than their country. Mitch Courtenay works for one of the world's super advertising agencies, and he is put in charge of the newest ad campaign: selling the colonization of Venus. With Earth's current overcrowding problem, it shouldn't be too hard of a sell, but a million other factors seem to complicate Mitch's progress. There are the ...more
Andreas
This dystopian satire about advertising agencies which rule the world was written in 1952. Which means, it was pre-Computer miniaturization, before industrial automation and of course before cell phones and the internet revolution.
Sometimes, this doesn't matter when reading classical sci fi. I simply ignore or smile about actors who stop for a telephone cell to call someone or having to flight in person to achieve something.
But in this novel, the antique technology projection into the future d
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Metaphorosis
Feb 11, 2012 Metaphorosis rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed, 2015-rev
4 stars - Metaphorosis Reviews

Advertising runs the world, and Mitch Courtney is a Star Class Copysmith. Sure, he faces trouble with his contract wife, who has Conservationist sympathies, and refuses to move in with him, but Mitch is a man on his way up. When he's assigned the task of selling hot, inhospitable Venus as a settlers' paradise, things start to go wrong, and he finds out just what it's like to be on the outside for once.

The Space Merchants is everything you could want in a satire of t
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Joe Santoro
Mar 30, 2016 Joe Santoro rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: soft_sf
I didn't realize that alot of the semi-dark alternative futures I like were corporations are in charge had a (Likely) common inspiration. I could quite literally hear Spider Jerusalem(From Transmetropolitian) commenting on some of the events here, or Miguel O'Hara (from Spiderman 2099) breaking up a Consie demonstration while sympathizing with them. Absolutely BRILLIANT world building, with 'Star level' Marketing execs on the top and us plain old 'consumers' at the bottom.

The main character, Mit
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Ali Berk Çetinbudaklar
Basıldığı yıl göze alındığında (1952), daha önceden de okurken yazdığım yorumun tam aksini söylemem gerekiyor.

- "Roman Ballard'ın Gökdelen(1975) ve Öteki dünya(2006) romanlarının dolaştığı yerlerde geziniyor gibi gözüküyor. Hafif de bir Dick havası var( A Scanner Darkly-1978)."-

Bu 2 yazarın romanlarında kullandığı birçok ögeleri yine bu romanda bulabiliyoruz. Ballard'ın Öteki dünya romanında olduğu gibi reklamcılık çok büyük önem arz etmekte. İnsanlar, bu illüzyonlarla hiç ulaşamayacakaları yal
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topics  posts  views  last activity   
Goodreads Librari...: New cover needs to be added 1 14 Mar 26, 2016 08:52AM  
Classic Science F...: * Jan-Feb 2014 Buddy Read: The Space Merchants 3 20 Jan 21, 2014 01:15PM  
Classic Science F...: When the future is now 1 11 Sep 09, 2013 04:38AM  
Sci-fi and Heroic...: The Space Merchants 18 56 Jul 26, 2013 01:11PM  
Sci-fi and Heroic...: July 2013 Classic Novel nominations 14 58 Jun 22, 2013 04:10AM  
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Frederik George Pohl, Jr. was an American science fiction writer, editor and fan, with a career spanning over seventy years. From about 1959 until 1969, Pohl edited Galaxy magazine and its sister magazine IF winning the Hugo for IF three years in a row. His writing also won him three Hugos and multiple Nebula Awards. He became a Nebula Grand Master in 1993.
More about Frederik Pohl...

Other Books in the Series

The Space Merchants (2 books)
  • The Merchants' War (The Space Merchants, # 2)

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“There are only so many people capable of putting together words that stir and move and sing. When it became possible to earn a very good living in advertising by exercising this capability, lyric poetry was left to untalented screwballs who had to shriek for attention and compete by eccentricity.” 3 likes
“You can't trust reason. We threw it out of the ad profession long ago and have never missed it.” 1 likes
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