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Stark: Satirical Thriller
Ben Elton
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Stark: Satirical Thriller

3.62  ·  Rating Details ·  5,219 Ratings  ·  114 Reviews
Stark is a secret consortium with more money than God, and the social conscience of a dog on a croquet lawn. What's more, it knows the Earth is dying.

Deep in Western Australia where the Aboriginals used to milk the trees, a planet-sized plot is taking shape. Some green freaks pick up the scent: a pommie poseur; a brain-fried Vietnam vet; Aboriginals who have lost their lan
ebook, 496 pages
Published December 26th 2008 by Transworld Digital (first published 1989)
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Jun 20, 2010 Rainbow rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ben Elton is excellent. And this book is excellent. I've read lots of his books and would recommend them all -- especially "This Other Eden." He's intense and funny, satirical. "Stark" was written in the late '80s, but it's about an ecological disaster, and it feels crazy relevant right now.
Chris Leib
Nov 22, 2009 Chris Leib rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Though it took me twenty years to discover that Ben Elton wrote books (I knew of him through TV's The Young Ones, Blackadder, and The Thin Blue Line), I've always loved his acerbic wit aimed at the stupidity and indifference of people. His stand-up and television sitcom scripts have always been on my desert island favourites, so imagine my joy at discovering that he's had an equally successful career in writing narratives for the last two decades.

It's scary knowing that when this book came out i
Mark Speed
May 28, 2015 Mark Speed rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
So dreadfully badly written that it's almost funny in that respect. It's written in this bizarre hyper-tabloid speak, complete with paragraph headers.

Perhaps wrong of me to mention it in this context, but if you look at old episodes of Saturday Night Live you'll see that the laughter for Elton's rants was canned, and that the studio audience are unamused. I was given a copy of this by a friend when it first came out and had that same "WTF?" experience. Proof that the sharp-elbowed and talentless
John Hill
Jun 29, 2014 John Hill rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, british
Can't believe that was written in 1989, by a then 30 year old Ben Elton. One of my favorite lines...'they had a sign saying 'Smart Dress' which would have allowed Hitler in but barred Jesus for having a beard and wearing a dress'. Dystopian, line by line funny, and at the same time, quite sobering.
Lachlan Smith
Dec 10, 2012 Lachlan Smith rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a brilliant first novel for well-known comedian Ben Elton, that deals with a topic as relevant now as it was then, in 1989. It deals heavily with the issue of pollution and the environment, however the theme cannot be said to be subtle or underlying. It is the main focus of the book, and everything revolves around the subject. But Elton is also capable of making intelligent, funny, acute comments on everyday things that I had not thought of before.
Despite the enthralling story, the only
Jul 10, 2016 4ZZZ rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: my-fiction
Read on release. I recall thinking it was very humorous. I never read Ben Elton again.
Isabel (kittiwake)
The weather has always been a source of endless conversation but now the mantra had changed. The song did not remain the same? Whereas previously the comment had always been along the lines of 'bloody awful weather . . .'
Now people constantly moaned that it was 'funny' weather; it was not like it had been when they were young; it was no longer 'proper' weather.. The strange thing was that even teenagers spoke in this manner.

Stark is a satire about billionaire businessmen, eco-warriors and the e
Katharine (Ventureadlaxre)
The only bad thing I can say about this book is that it reads like a script, is a little annoying.

Other than that, it's pure Elton. It's good ^^
Jun 07, 2016 Carol rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Supposedly a work of fiction, about billionaire businessmen, eco-warriors, people who thought that they could not make a difference and the end of the world. Or is it? Set in the near future with a world,where pollution, global warming and a throwaway society are spiralling with ever increasing acceleration towards destruction and people are planning an escape.

Written with typical Ben Elton humour mixed with some brill Aussie characters and its so believable, it had me giggling into the early h
Mar 14, 2013 Jackie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: funny, favorites
Written some time ago when Global Warming was still the term for Climate Change, this is a hilarious and sometimes prophetic tale of the amoral men conspiring to bring the world to its knees (all in the name of lining their pockets with more cash than they could poke into a spaceship rapidly leaving our de-forested planet). I first read this in the latter years of highschool, and enjoyed it immensely; I re-read it last year but then left my copy at a bus stop with one chapter to go. So I can't r ...more
Natalie Freitas
The world is imploding! And capitalism is at fault! I thought the concept was thought-proving and it made for a funny read in parts, but if it hadn't catapulted into an absurd plot I probably would have closed it with a 'hell yeah' rather than a 'no..he didn't. oh he did.'

This was one of the few Ben Elton books I had left to read in his portfolio of penned works. However with only discovering his novels in the mid '00s, his more topical satires/ political statements in narrative on drug policy,
Alex Isle
Apr 02, 2013 Alex Isle rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2013
This book was recommended to me by Frankie Seymour, an environmental scientist, since I write in the field. Along with others which I am currently ploughing through :-)

I didn't like its style to begin with, too choppy, moving among the characters too fast. Also there was absolutely no one I could relate to. The "good guys" drove me crazy and the philosophy of the bad guys gave me the absolute horrors. I could see why Frankie recommended it but it was a struggle to get through. Not at all what I
Catherine Pye
Mar 28, 2013 Catherine Pye rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
So I don't read Ben Elton to enlighten myself in any way, his fiction is purely a quick little pleasure which takes a day and gives me the satisfaction of reading a funny, well written, fast paced story. Quick to engage me, and urges me forward I thought I knew what to expect when reading this addition to the bookshelf.
However,yes Stark is all of the above; yet somehow it has tricked me into making links between his fictional characters and our rogue runners of the world, questioning my use of f
Sep 18, 2015 Jrubino rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Just not funny … and that makes the characters cartoonish without any appeal.

I don’t want to punish this novel simply because it’s not my type of humor. However, if that was the only problem, I would have continued beyond the first hundred pages. Unfortunately, the plot, writing style, and even the subject are hammered with such heavy handedness … there’s nothing subtle about anything here.

Overall, a novel that has not aged well at all.
Dec 24, 2014 Sharon rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the second time I’ve read this book and I have to say it just gets better. You could read this time and time again and still pick out new layers, different meanings, dry humour that you have missed – it’s a fantastic novel. It’s hilarious a lot of the time and seriously poignant at others – it’s intelligent without being patronising, it's witty and gripping.This book was written in 1986 and it is still just as relevant today
Dec 13, 2014 Erin rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I have really enjoyed some of Ben Elton's later books, but this one could have used some serious editing. The comma splices! Oh, the horror! Anyway, somewhere buried under all those run-on sentences was a cool satirical concept and I finished the book for that reason alone. I would definitely recommend reading other, more recent books by this author, but this one was a bit tedious.
Katherine Hayton
Sep 10, 2014 Katherine Hayton rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I think I laughed more reading this book than I have during live stand-up comedy. And I laugh a lot during stand-up. For some reason the description of the tree in the middle of the Australian desert 'dying' when there was a lack of water and then 'blossoming' when its deep root system finally tapped into the water table - and no one above ground being able to tell the difference - was the most hilarious thing I've ever read. In a way that is so good that you can't possibly explain it to others ...more
Mar 15, 2014 Danièle rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Written like a stand-up show. Stark is a plan by the world's rich to escape the Earth, which is finally dying of pollution. A very unlikely group of rebels tries to stop them.
A well-told story, but what really make it worthwhile are Elton's side-roads into completely inconsequential subject that contain the best humour. Oh, and the characters are great too!
Nov 24, 2014 Daniel rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
My bad.

God is dead, the widely-quoted statement by German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, was actually due to a misunderstanding based solely upon of one of my off-color jokes. You know, those jokes that I create based upon a series of poorly-chosen words. Plus, in my defense, thought-provoking Germans don't really have a sense of humor.

Anyway, rather than bore you with the entire joke, I think that I'll head straight to the punch line and you can draw your own conclusions:

"No," says St. Pete
This was depressing and kind of scary to think about - how far away are we from peak toxicity when all the food and farmland is too polluted or contaminated to use? I picked up this book by an Australian when I was in Hungary and spent 5 months reading it a bit at a time while watching my toddler. Amusing and eerily not so unrealistic :(
Mar 10, 2014 Carrie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Parts of this were actually quite funny and entertaining. Toward the ending, the writing style turned a little stale for me. Also it began to feel that it was written with an eye for a possible movie script later. Overall though it was a nice change from my usual reads.
Funny, witty, engaging. Stark is, essentially, about the end of mankind. The rich have known for a long time that the earth would be unable to sustain humanity for much longer, and quite simply don't care. As they move towards the end of their plan for their own survival, a group of eco-warriors (well, two hippies, an eco-warrior wannabe woman, and a lovesick guy) stumble upon something they don't think is quite right, and end up inadvertently trying to stop a plot concocted by the world's riche ...more
Apr 23, 2016 Claudia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It's been about 20 years since I first read Stark and I still love it to bits. It's funny, memorable and touching, despite the disparate plots (and non-plot-releated wanderings) that form the main story. One of my favourite books.
Jan 23, 2016 Gary rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ben-elton, fiction, humour
An environmental, anti-capitalist thriller with bags of humour along the way. I imagine this being Ben Elton's staple diet (haven't read any of his books and this was his first novel).
Oct 16, 2011 Ryan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
An earlier version of his other story on environmental catastrophe 'This Other Eden', this one is more thoroughly fleshed out, with more interesting characters and detailed plot. The jokes are also funnier, while the idea of an ecological 'vanishing point' of no return for the Earth is very prescient for a book written in 1989 - when the threat of Nuclear Armageddon was of higher concern than environmental destruction. Sadly, the intervening two decades since then has only seen the situation det ...more
Jul 19, 2010 Nithya rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I like the overall tone of the book and the characters were interesting if not particularily likable. In fact, by the end of the book I found one of the villains far more human than the heroes and I wished that they'd been portrayed as people in their own right rather than "I bring this element to the group so that on the whole we're more balanced".

It has a good message but I found it to be far too heavyhanded. Usually I like my messages woven into the story a lot better (like Sheri Tepper's boo
Aug 05, 2011 bigmuzz rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
the themes of climate change and a dying planet seem very relevant for our modern times, which is surprising because this was written long before the true effects of greenhouse and 'An Inconvenient Truth' and other scary facts became well known. the book is full of the usual and expected ben elton wit and style, but at almost 500 pages is a bit long in places. i enjoy his short punchy chapters and sub-chapters style, it makes his books a quicker and easier read and, more often then not, pageturn ...more
Funny, clever and a page turner from start to finish. Fans of Ben Elton will love this novel and those who have never read him before this is a good place to start!
Gary Smith
As a first novel, it is good. Ben Elton uses caustic humour to highlight the problems man had created for himself, by polluting the very place he lives.
Rainy Days
Mar 10, 2016 Rainy Days marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
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Ben Elton was born on 3 May 1959, in Catford, South London. The youngest of four, he went to Godalming Grammar school, joined amateur dramatic societies and wrote his first play at 15. He wanted to be a stagehand at the local theatre, but instead did A-Level Theatre Studies and studied drama at Manchester University in 1977.

His career as both performer and writer encompasses some of the most memo
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“Beyond love, beyond unrequited love, perhaps even beyond any other passion known to humanity, deep, deep in the depths of the turgid, clinging, swamplike pit of despair that lies dormant within every soul, lurks JEALOUSY. Jealousy, that most demeaning and debilitating of emotions. Jealousy, which can double the strength of the love upon which it is based, but whilst doubling it, warp and pervert it, untill it is no longer recognizable as the thing of beauty it once was. Jealous love is no more like true love than Mr Hyde was like Dr Jekyll or a stagnant swamp is like a freshwater lake.” 10 likes
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