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This Perfect Day

4.06 of 5 stars 4.06  ·  rating details  ·  3,772 ratings  ·  361 reviews
The story is set in a seemingly perfect global society. Uniformity is the defining feature; there is only one language and all ethnic groups have been eugenically merged into one race called “The Family.” The world is ruled by a central computer called UniComp that has been programmed to keep every single human on the surface of the earth in check. People are continually d ...more
Mass Market Paperback, 368 pages
Published February 1st 1991 by Bantam (first published 1970)
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The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins1984 by George OrwellThe Giver by Lois LowryDivergent by Veronica RothBrave New World by Aldous Huxley
Best Dystopian and Post-Apocalyptic Fiction
102nd out of 1,927 books — 17,022 voters
1984 by George OrwellThe Hunger Games by Suzanne CollinsBrave New World by Aldous HuxleyFahrenheit 451 by Ray BradburyThe Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
52nd out of 731 books — 1,943 voters

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Community Reviews

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Jan 25, 2008 Lauren rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Lauren by: my dad
Shelves: fiction
I am not the type of person who rereads books. In fact, I never reread books. Except this one. I pick it up every couple of years. This is A Brave New World but so much better. So much realer. Unfortunately, it is now out of print. But maybe with the author's recent passing, they will bring it back soon. But if you ever see it in a used book store, pick it up and buy it. Don't think. Just walk over to the cash register and buy it. Then go home and read it. You'll thank me.
Christ, Marx, Wood and Wei
Led us to this perfect day

Marx, Wood, Wei and Christ
All but Marx were sacrificed

Wood, Wei, Christ and Marx
Gave us lovely schools and parks

Wei, Christ, Marx and Wood
Made us humble, made us good.
- dystopian future world child's bouncing song
Hazel Benson
I'm kind of sorry to give this book two stars, because it is a very good story and in it's own way a good addition to the dystopian genre. I've read two other Ira Levin books before this one; 'A Kiss Before Dying' and 'Rosemary's Baby' and enjoyed both of those, and I will go on and read other works of his. My niggles with it are personal ones which I felt were unnecessary and unrealistic. Even dated maybe.


So, for me to explain my problems with this book I have to talk about the story.
Artnoose Noose
This is the March book for the Pittsburgh Dystopian Science Fiction Club. Before I get to anything else, I'm going to address the problematic gender dynamics in this book. I think one of the things that has often turned me off to science fiction in the past has been the dude factor, which I find extensively in this book. Maybe I just don't like it when straight men write sex scenes. At any rate, let me tell the world this: the "incredibly hot chick falls in love with me after I rape her" storyli ...more
I'm not writing this review for anyone other than my nerd friends that check my Goodreads page, so don't be surprised by my lack of literary genius...

I'll only spoil the one thing that should be spoiled- and it's the same one thing that everyone references. The main character (Chip) ends up raping the woman he's in love with (Lilac) to prove to her that she's being brainwashed by the government and to get her to trust him. Reading a lackluster book for three days only to discover that you hate t
Allison Doyle
*sigh* I love this book. I recommend this book to people when they ask me for a sci-fi suggestion & I'm assuming they've read the ABC's (that's Asimov, Bradbury, and Clarke) and perhaps haven't been introduced to Levin. This is oft-compared to "1984" and "Brave New World" -- and I could rave about "Brave New World," especially since this was originally published in the 1970s so it wasn't breaking into the same future-predicting, but for some reason, this story & Chip (the main character) ...more

I’ll admit right up front that I’m not a fan of dystopian fiction. However, I am a fan of Ira Levin (both his novels and his plays). “This Perfect Day” was published in 1970 – after his play “Dr Cook’s Garden” (1967) and before his novels “The Stepford Wives” (1972) and “The Boys from Brazil” (1978). I site these three works because they too deal with issues of creating the “perfect” society through euthanasia, genetic engineering or cloning.

Set far in the future the entire world is under the
Heather Crews
This is one of my absolute favorite books of all time. Do yourself and favor and read it if you haven't before. I pick it up and reread it every couple of years, and I think I always notice something new in the story....but that may just be because my view on life changes over the years, and thus I come at it from a different approach.
It is very much in the vein of other books that deal with the concept of a futuristic dystopian world, i.e, Brave New World, 1984, and Logan's Run.
It was out OOP
Ok, first, I wasn't sure I even wanted to read this. I read reviews, and my husband read it, and so I finally decided to. I'm glad I did, and would give it 3.5 stars if we had 1/2 stars. Second, to people who judged the whole book based on how well they could stomach the rape scene, well, they weren't reading it carefully in full context. I'd say more but it'd be a spoiler. I do recommend the book for anyone who is interested in sf issues like dystopia, cloning, the-good-of-the-many....
Patrick Gibson
This is a cult classic (1970’s) apparently out of print for a long time. I first read about this novel in a recent magazine praising the fact it was now available in the e format. I looked a little further and found this novel universally praised to the highest degree. So high, in fact, I grabbed my Kindle and hit ‘buy now.’

While overshadowed by more popular dystopia novels like 1984 and Brave New World, I think this book is the most powerful of its genre. As the novel begins, the entire human
Clark Hallman
I first read This Perfect Day in 1970 after it was recommended to me by my good friends Janice and Betty. It is an anti-conformist story about a future where society and all individuals in it are controlled by Uni, a vast computer. Uni controlls everything including the weather, what jobs and careers people are allowed to pursue, when people are allowed to have sex, whether they are able to have children, where and when they can take vacations, what they can eat, what they can buy, and when they ...more
Jenny (Reading Envy)
"You are only partly alive. We can help you more than you can imagine."

I had never heard of this book before it was selected for an SFF Audio Readalong discussion, and I think I liked it more after we talked about it for an hour or so.

There is a lot to think about here. The novel is in four sections and quite a bit of it has hints of other dystopias - the community with scheduled sex and neighbor-reporting is similar to We, the drugging of society feels like Brave New World, and I was completel
Although this book has been compared to Brave New World et cetera...It is first and foremost a thoughtful and engaging thriller laced with humour. While I was reading this at the tender age of fourteen, I couldn't help but visualize the scenes so clearly...Ira Levin taught me the importance of dialogue and having fleshed out characters. I must have read this book over fifty times since it came out because I love imagining I was there...What would I do? Would I have the strength of Chip? In these ...more
Ralph McEwen
What makes This Perfect Day a must read is the depth of the main character. The author reveals him to us gradually -- as the character becomes less drugged/more cogent, we know and care about him even more. The scanners and bracelets remind me of the RFID cards and readers we have today, slightly disturbing. The world development was interesting enough to explore and give thought to. One of the better dystopian novels I've read
This novel by Ira Levin is about a utopian society where treatments help maintain a stable society, but at what cost? Protagonist Li (or Chip as he prefers to be known) is uncertain about the sameness, and eventually joins a counterculture trying to change things. Good characters, good plot twists, and a very good read. Highly recommended.

Dystopian thriller from the 70's, back in the days of Logan's Run, Soylent Green. and Planet of the Apes. It's by the same author as Rosemary's Baby and The Stepford Wives, if you're old enough to remember those original movies. Much longer on plot than character, and it moves fast. There is a questionable 'rape' scene though. And 'rape' is written in quotes when they talk about it for some reason. There's definitely some nice twists at the end. For an upcoming Sffaudio podcast readalong.

Review copy provided by Open Road. Originally reviewed at

The trouble with classics and parents of a genre is that they often use tropes that are very common to the modern reader, or tropes that are outright nauseating due to values dissonance. Even if these things were acceptable and new when the book was written, a modern audience may struggle.
I struggled with this book. It’s not that I’m a girl with no love for the classics and no ability to look beyond the demands or the
Vrixton Phillips
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 26, 2008 regina rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of sci-fi and great lit
Recommended to regina by: my husband
I'm surprised at the low rating many have given this classic.

What makes This Perfect Day a must read is not just a well-crafted, twisting plot and setting, but the depth of the main character. The author reveals him to us gradually -- as the character becomes less drugged/more cogent, we know and care about him even more.

The style of writing, although in the past tense and 3rd person, achieves an immediacy that transports the reader to the setting and action as it happens. For instance as Chip
Aug 07, 2010 Yvensong rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Dystopia readers
3 1/2 Stars

This character-driven dystopia had very good character development and a rather frightening view of a possible future for all of mankind. In the minds of the developers of the society, this was Utopia. In the minds of not such a small group of people in today's world, the world in this novel may appear Utopian. No war, no need for guns, no over-population -- but the price to pay = no freedom of choice, of any kind, ensured by constant injections of drugs.

There was only factor in this
Dystopia for a younger crowd. People who rave about this less-than-perfect book smack of piousness. The author is a master of suspense who took a decent crack at sci-fi writing - and that's it. As a group, sci-fi readers aren't particularly discerning, and rarely flinch at the gaping plot holes of the novels that they adore. I've now read all of Levin's titles, and I enjoyed his sly suggestion in this one that neither side of the conflict makes a convincing case for supremacy. But all the hue-an ...more
This book looked good on the 'quick choice' shelves in the library and although I'm not a huge science fiction fan I do read some occasionally.

This book is definitely worth reading. A great critique on human society, now and in the possible future. It is very real science fiction - real characters, believable technology, believable situations. I'm mainly a shallow reader so I probably missed lots of the themes about what the author was saying, but it was a great story, good plot twists, and a p
Shellie (Layers of Thought)
Original review posted at Layers of Thought.

Originally published in 1970, this is a classic adult dystopian novel that portrays a frightening future in which a pseudo-government medicates its citizens and regulates all behavior, creating a hive like community. Everyone is equal and its adherents chant: "Christ, Marx, Wood and Wei led us to this perfect day".

About: “Chip” (Li is his real name and one of four names for every man given by the society) is a member of a “perfect” society where the me
Lisa (Harmonybites)
Apr 21, 2010 Lisa (Harmonybites) rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Lovers of Dystopian Fiction
Recommended to Lisa (Harmonybites) by: Prometheus Award
I tell people I don't like dystopias, then I go and read them again and again. What can I say? There are a lot of good ones--including this one, even if it's not a great one. Atwood of A Handmaid's Tale is the strongest living prose stylist I've read. Ayn Rand's Anthem (don't sneer) is almost a prose poem--even two liberal friends of mine admit to liking it. Huxley's Brave New World and Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451 both have many striking, quotable lines. And Orwell's 1984 has so many phrases that ...more
Dystopian novels are all the rage these days, so I figured I’d give this one another look…

This Perfect Day is Levin’s third novel, following the exquisitely structured and perfectly paced A Kiss Before Dying and the similarly fantastic Rosemary’s Baby. TPD is a longer narrative than either of the first two, and a much more complicated story. While it’s certainly not bad, it doesn’t measure up to the first two, or to Levin’s next, The Stepford Wives. Levin’s sparse, direct prose is always a joy
Oct 27, 2008 Becky rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: people who like dystopian literature
I liked this enough to read it in one sitting, but I felt the ending was disappointing. There was nothing wrong with the ending -- it made sense -- but I dunno. Once I saw what the ending was going to be, I wished for something else!

This is a dystopian novel that owes a lot to Brave New World, among other things. I was also reminded of Lois Lowry's wonderful book The Giver, which of course came well after This Perfect Day.

While the society in This Perfect Day resembles the one in Brave New World
S.B. Lerner
My son is taking a class on utopian/dystopian literature, and I think that influenced my decision to read this novella, as well as the fact that I've enjoyed other Ira Levin's, like Rosemary's Baby and A Kiss Before Dying. They are quick, easy reading, totally absorbing. This one stars "Chip" as in "Chip off the old block," which is the hope of his grandfather, part of the dying breed who helped create Uni, the powerful computer that runs the world and keeps everyone drugged just enough not to c ...more
Christ, Marx, Wood and Wei

Led us to this perfect day.

Marx, Wei, Wood and Christ,

All but Wei were sacrificed.

Wood, Wei, Christ and Marx,

Gave us lovely schools and parks.

Wei, Christ, Marx and Wood,

Made us humble, made us good.

This amazing book starts off with this eerie chant, which is taught to very young children in school. The story is set in a seemingly perfect global society whose genesis is fuzzy. The story is a strong character-driven one, a glimpse into the future of what could be if the g
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Levin graduated from the Horace Mann School and New York University, where he majored in philosophy and English.

After college, he wrote training films and scripts for television.

Levin's first produced play was No Time for Sergeants (adapted from Mac Hyman's novel), a comedy about a hillbilly drafted into the United States Air Force that launched the career of Andy Griffith. The play was turned int
More about Ira Levin...
Rosemary's Baby The Boys from Brazil The Stepford Wives A Kiss Before Dying Deathtrap

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“Being happy or unhappy - is that really the most important thing? Knowing the truth would be a different kind of happiness - a more satisfying kind, I think, even if it turned out to be a sad kind.” 14 likes
“You are only partly alive.” 7 likes
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