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The Joy Makers

3.85  ·  Rating Details ·  85 Ratings  ·  11 Reviews
Imagine a world where you can have everything you want, or if you can't have it, you can be psychologically conditioned not to want it. Imagine a world so technologically advanced that happiness and contentment can be achieved without effort, a world where there is no sickness or hunger, no deprivation, no want, no striving, no disappointment. Imagine that any experience c ...more
Hardcover, 213 pages
Published February 1st 1984 by Crown (first published 1961)
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Charles Dee Mitchell
Sep 21, 2013 Charles Dee Mitchell rated it really liked it
Shelves: mid-century-sf
Gunn's 1961 novel is a fix-up of a short story and two novellas from the 1950's, not an uncommon path for SF to take from the magazines to paperback at that time. The narratives, set centuries apart, chart what happens when happiness transforms from a desire, to a possibility, to law, and then to something much darker and stranger.

In the opening story, which takes place either in mid-twentieth century America or a near future, Josh Hunt is a successful manufacturer and he is not happy. He is tir
Nov 02, 2014 Ishan rated it it was amazing
Every one of these hundreds of millions of human beings is in some form seeking happiness...Not one altogether noble nor altogether trustworthy nor altogether consistent; and not one is altogether vile. Not a single one but has at some time wept.

This book is a gem.
Oct 25, 2007 Robert rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everybody
This is a true SF classic -- it is amazing that nobody here has read or reviewed it. The Matrix is basically in many ways derived from ideas that were originally introduced in this book. Think Plato's Cave and Aristotle's Ethics (with a bit of JSMill) turned into a SF novel (really four novellas in one book). Awesome.

The basic theme of this book is that a business is founded in what is still a recognizable vision of modern society that sells happiness. Not cars, not books, not all the "things"
This book is the fix-up of three short pieces that Gunn authored in 1955. In "The Joy Makers" each short piece is one of the three parts. I liked the first part the most, then the second, and I really did not like the final part. The first piece is the most story-like; there is effort to make a suspenseful and interesting plot. The other two parts just seemed like vehicles for someone who was doing a bit of study in the field of Ethics: specifically hedonism and eudaimonia. However, I've read mo ...more
Simone Scardapane
La domanda alla base del libro, come spesso accade in questi casi, è semplice ed al contempo geniale: cosa succederebbe se la felicità, da semplice diritto spesso negato, diventasse, pian piano, un dovere? Se la Scienza fosse finalmente in grado di donarcela? Che felicità sceglierebbero, gli uomini? Quella duratura, che si conquista giorno per giorno, od il piacere istantaneo, quello che ottenebra i sensi, il distruttore di vita? Di sicuro ci saranno ribelli, persone che reclameranno il loro dir ...more
Martin Thomas
Aug 09, 2013 Martin Thomas rated it it was amazing
Everyone wants to be happy, Right? And if we make everyone else happy, that will help us be happy.

So, this novel starts off happy. A new breed of professionals, called Hedonists, use a combination of folk wisdom and advanced scientific tricks to make people happy. The trouble is, they are so very good at it that eventually a law is passed making it illegal to be unhappy. Unhappy people are arrested and cured; soon they are released as model citizens, very grateful that they were caught. This mak
Christopher Sutch
Dec 02, 2012 Christopher Sutch rated it really liked it
A better than average 1950s science fiction novel. Gunn follows his premise about human happiness and/vs. "pleasure" to its logical extension. This is a bit more thoughtful than many works from the same era, but also still suffers from some of the shortfalls of 1950s science fiction: characterization and some more philosophical elements are too often sacrificed in the interests of advancing the plot.
May 11, 2015 Sean rated it it was amazing
Shelves: science-fiction
Sadly, I was planning my review entirely around certain quotations from the book. Unfortunately I have turned the book in and can no longer follow my plan. And woe is me--the drop-down menu with the bookshelf selection won't go away so I can't see what I am typing, as that box occludes much of the review-entry box. Anyway, I will simply write this one quotation to sum up what would have been my review:

"Happiness is death."
Bob Rust
Apr 13, 2016 Bob Rust rated it it was amazing
The Joy Makers (1961) describes in Gunn's dark ponderous cumulatively impressive manner a society whose members are controlled by synthetic forms of release that corrode their sense of reality (Perception).
Mar 26, 2010 Ross rated it really liked it
This book was formative for me in many ways, though rereading as an adult I think I didn't exactly get the author's message as intended.
Jan 02, 2014 Tim rated it really liked it
An excellent tale of what it might mean to get everything that you want and whether that would really make you happy or quite the opposite.
Benjamin rated it it was ok
Feb 03, 2016
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Max rated it it was ok
Oct 21, 2012
Italo Salieri
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Jun 05, 2014
Fin Lives
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Jan 07, 2012
Ric Phillips
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Robert James
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Dec 12, 2012
Mack rated it it was amazing
Aug 03, 2013
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Chris Fox
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Feb 26, 2011
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American science fiction author, editor, scholar, and anthologist. His work from the 1960s and 70s is considered his most significant fiction, and his Road to Science Fiction collections are considered his most important scholarly books. He won a Hugo Award for a non-fiction book in 1983 for Isaac Asimov: The Foundations of Science Fiction. He was named the 2007 Damon Knight Memorial Grand Master ...more
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