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Players at the Game of People

3.06 of 5 stars 3.06  ·  rating details  ·  125 ratings  ·  19 reviews
A savagely lacerating satire, this is an example of the sort of literature of ideas sf was before commercial formulae & interminable series took over. A lot of today's readers won't get it & may be pissed off by its unresolved ending. But it's a very good story—though perhaps not quite as good as the socially conscious SF Brunner was producing during his peak a dec ...more
Mass Market Paperback, 215 pages
Published November 12th 1980 by Del Rey (first published 1980)
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Admittedly, I'm not loving it. What I do love is this is one of those books you never heard of by a reputable author and the only place you can find it is at your local used bookstore. I'm even using the faded bookmark that I found between the pages.


...and now it is done. I just looked over the huge synopsis that has been written for this book and I think: "yeah, right on."
As usual a "starred" review just doesn't do justice to a book like this. It's NOT a perfect book--part of
John Loyd
Players at the Game of People (1980) 212 pages by John Brunner.

This story is set in some dismal version of the present, i.e. 1980. There are mentions of beggars on the street, slums, etc. That may be a factor in why Godwin and those like chose the life they did. A life of their choosing whether it be Doctor, beautician, designer, astrologer, detective or in Godwin's case man of leisure. The story begins with Godwin saving a little girl from a collapsing building during one of Hitler's raids on L
review of
John Brunner's Players at the Game of People
by tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE - October 14, 2013

Yet another Brunner. The most recent one I've read yet. 1980 publishing date. At 1st I thought of just listing all the permutations that the alien animal name goes thru. Tempting, but not enuf.

"Beside the couch, looking as though a four-foot fir cone had been carved out of anthracite, then flattened like a cowering hedgehog, lay Adirondinatarigo." - p 54

""Oh, that's Canaptarosigapatruleeva,""
A modern sci-fi variant on the central themes of the Faust myth, set largely in late 20th century England. This is not a retelling of the Faust of either Goethe or Marlowe per se, but definitely and self-consciously touches on the same over-arching theme, if with significantly less of the politico-religious overtones of those earlier, and decidedly more classic, versions. Where it does have a somewhat political subtext in simply in the background detail of a presumably post-Thatcherite England, ...more
Takes place in the 1980's in London. The main character earns rewards from his alien masters like being able to travel back in time to earn a medal of honor by rescuing someone in WWI, or adding any feature he want to either his house or body. All the people he knows work for the aliens, and some have chosen weightless environments, off-world houseplants, really odd rewards. The only work he really has to do is recruit others to this exclusive club and to loan out his body to an alien for a mont ...more
Good christ, that's bleak. Seems deliberately obfuscating. Brunner's descriptions and despair are top notch, but the whole premise, that it could not be interrogated sincerely, feels kind of like an intentionally evasive writing exercise. Oversold as hell by the copy. Still, has a kernel of greatness.
At the heart of the book is an attack on the leisure class. The main character of the story, Godwin Harpinshield, has his every desire catered to. Food, women, clothes, cars, you name it, it is his for the asking. There is a catch though. He must recruit someone new. He recruits a young prostitute who he thinks might have a future. Although he doesn't know it yet, this act begins his downfall.

Brunner deliberately leaves several aspects of his story unexplained. Many readers are probably put off
-Todo tiene un coste, no nos olvidemos-.

Género. Ciencia-Ficción.

Lo que nos cuenta. Godwin Harpinshield vive en el más cómodo lujo a cambio de ofrecer “servicios” a unos desconocidos amos que buscan siempre nuevas adquisiciones para su círculo de peones, pero todos ellos personas que coquetean con la autodestrucción de una forma u otra. Cuando Godwin se aproxima a Dora con la intención de incorporarla al círculo, cree recordar algo que parece imposible.

¿Quiere saber más del libro, sin spoilers? V
Jay Michaels
This 1980 novel finds Brunner examining the question of whether or not human beings actually have free will, or if we're being manipulated by forces beyond our perception. Unfortunately, while Brunner's protagonist senses that there's Something Going On, he never pulls the veil back to identify who's pulling the strings behind the scenes.

Kind of like real life. (*Exactly* like it, in fact!)

Feb. 24, 2013.
Scott Rhee
"Players at the Game of People" by John Brunner is nothing more than a mildly interesting science fiction premise, done numerous times before, and probably better than Brunner's attempt. Nevertheless, the book is short and decently-written, so it's a quick one-day read on a cold rainy day at a coffeehouse, if nothing else to read.
Erik Graff
Jan 04, 2011 Erik Graff rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: sf fans
Recommended to Erik by: no one
Shelves: sf
John Brunner was one of my favorite science fiction writers because so many of his novels, particularly the linked Stand on Zanzibar and The Sheep Look Up, dealt with contemporary social problems in near future contexts. Players at the Game of People is at once both a moral tale and a social critique.
An interesting idea and some neat world-building, but I felt the central themes ended up being a bit too small (or too rushed at the end?). That, or possibly it didn't feel as new to me as it should have given that I've seen the 28 years of fiction / sci-fi / fantasy that has followed...
This work of Brunner didn't appeal to me as strongly as some of his other works -- but it spiraled down into a fascinating and eerie conclusion that almost redeemed some of the preceding chaos.
An unexpected bomb from Brunner. Muddled and disjointed it left me confused and puzzled as to how a genius like him could write such a thing.
One of husband's books. Amazing characters with great names, highly imaginative, very intelligent. Kept surprising me all the way to the end.
No wonder it's out of print to never come back again. Meandering, pointless, with not-so-bad set pieces but not adding up to anything.
Entertaining tale of alien human interaction and fantasy dependence.
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The late John Brunner was perhaps as well known for much of his career in the US as in the UK. A leftwing activist, with particular connections to the peace movement, much of his best and most mature fiction is involved in a complex analysis of social trends and where they will take us--novels like Stand on Zanzibar which deals with overpopulation, among other things, and The Sheep Look Up, which ...more
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