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The Marching Morons

3.56 of 5 stars 3.56  ·  rating details  ·  202 ratings  ·  19 reviews
Kornbluth's nickname, during his tragically short life, was "the Great Tale-Twister." He could take a common SF theme and stand it on its ear. Satirical, witty, startling - a delight to read lo these fifty years after his demise.

The Marching Morons;
The Luckiest Man in Denv;
The Silly Season;
Ms. Found in a Chinese Fortune Cookie;
The Only Thing We Learn
Paperback, F760
Published 1963 by Ballantine (first published 1959)
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C.M. Kornbluth was a talented pulp SF writer, who came up with a remarkable number of good ideas during his short life. The title story is one of the best ones. Intelligence is largely inherited, reasons Kornbluth, and stupid people tend to have more children than smart people. Ergo, the average level of intelligence will decline over time. Moreover, stupid people tend to have children with stupid people, and smart people tend to have children with smart people. Corollary: the human race will di ...more
“You were blind, selfish stupid asses to tolerate economic and social conditions which penalized child-bearing by the prudent and foresighted. You made us what we are today, and I want you to know that we are far from satisfied.”

Cyril Kornbluth was a genius who learned to read at 3 and was writing his own stories by age 7. Had Karma not decreed that he drop dead at a train station at age 35, he might have been one of the greatest sci-fi authors of all time. The Marching Morons is the story of “H
A pretty repulsive book in many respects, but there were bits that were quite funny -- and which rang disturbingly true. I think that the author must have been very angry about "modern life" when he wrote this book -- back in the early 50s, I believe -- and there's a lot of resentment that shows through. It's a short book, a novella, set in a very far distant future, where the troubles of the world are blamed on decisions made by people in the 20th century.

I did love the contrast between the ope
Social satire that eerily resonates the denigration of our modern culture through technological advancement. The titular story inspired the Mike Judge film, IDIOCRACY, a movie shelved for a very long time because the studios deemed it "too stupid" for audiences. The main argument of THE MARCHING MORONS and IDIOCRACY by-proxy is that the people with sub-normal intelligence are outbreeding those of average-to-above-average intelligence, and that this trend has broad social implications. Mainly, th ...more
Angela Chiffy
Outstanding short story about blind conformity, ambition turned to avarice, and most other modern day vices. Highly recommended!
the whole concepts of dysgenics. a good short sci fi and I liked how Idiocracy took the concept from the novel further
(Got the single story, Kindle download)

The foreword mentions this story was rather controversial because of the comparisons to eugenics...but the author comes off as strongly against that attitude. There are some interesting nuances here, although the writing reads a bit slipshod by modern standards. It's got a similar premise to Idiocracy, but in this case there is a decent population of smart people, they're just stuck fixing the idiots' mistakes all the time. (Which does raise the question of
Scott Corbin
Apr 19, 2008 Scott Corbin rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone with a sense of irony
I remember running across this already 20 year old book about a future where the biggest catch phrase would you buy that for a dollar?, and thinking that it's almost that bad. Now popular culture has exceeded the vapidity Pohl imagined. I've got to borrow this from the library soon. I couple of his stories in various collections, along with F. Pohl, got me in a trap of reading only Sci-Fi for at least 8 years.
Jeremiah Johnson
I really liked this story about the possible future if we continue to dumb down society. I am a big fan of anything that doesn't have a happy ending, and this certainly didn't disappoint there.
It is easy to see that Idiocracy was inspired by this short. If only stupid people would become aware of these potential problems and stop breeding...
A chilling but important story. I remember reading this years ago. This is what happens when the intelligent producers of everything used are overrun by the morons who demand to use them. "Would you buy it for a quarter? Ha, ha, ha, ha!"

It is not a pleasant outcome but an important warning.
Great book, and especially profound for something written in the 50's. The juxtaposition of Hitler and the saleman is brilliant and daring considering that the war had not been over long.

And it espouses Green Day's sentiments about 60 years early. "Only stupid people are breeding."
Aaron K
Not the usual style or genre I am used to reading. It reminds me of the movie Idiocracy (I'm assuming the movie was based off this), which I loved, but the flow of the story didn't work for me too much. I may have another read, as it is a short novella.
Mark C
An almost identical setup to the movie IDIOCRACY ( - which was likely inspired by this story - this is no comedy. Or even good satire. It's really a reprehensible meditation on an "ultimate solution".
I've been meaning to read this for some time. A big disappointment from what I expected, but the general idea of a shrinking gene pool is certainly still a great idea for a novel.
Short. Close resemblance to Idiocracy, but more twisted.
Really short, but a great story
Harry Dewulf
A must-read if you are alive in 2011.
Sam Bauman
Fun short scifi.
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Goodreads Librari...: B005QQO9SM 3 89 May 20, 2013 03:06AM  
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Cyril M. Kornbluth was born and grew up in Inwood in New York City. As a teenager, he became a member of the Futurians, the influential group of science fiction fans and writers. While a member of the Futurians, he met and became friends with Isaac Asimov, Frederik Pohl, Donald A. Wollheim, Robert A. W. Lowndes, and his future wife Mary Byers. He also participated in the Fantasy Amateur Press Asso ...more
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