Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Stand on Zanzibar” as Want to Read:
Stand on Zanzibar
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Stand on Zanzibar

3.96  ·  Rating Details  ·  10,611 Ratings  ·  373 Reviews
Norman Niblock House is a rising executive at General Technics, one of a few all-powerful corporations. His work is leading General Technics to the forefront of global domination, both in the marketplace and politically---it's about to take over a country in Africa. Donald Hogan is his roommate, a seemingly sheepish bookworm. But Hogan is a spy, and he's about to discover ...more
Paperback, 672 pages
Published August 12th 1999 by Gollancz (first published 1968)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.
Ender's Game by Orson Scott CardDune by Frank Herbert1984 by George OrwellFahrenheit 451 by Ray BradburyBrave New World by Aldous Huxley
Best Science Fiction & Fantasy Books
204th out of 5,478 books — 18,274 voters
Grass by Sheri S. TepperParable of the Sower by Octavia E. ButlerThe Adventures of the Stainless Steel Rat by Harry HarrisonThe Anubis Gates by Tim PowersBlood Music by Greg Bear
Most Under-rated Science Fiction
18th out of 1,124 books — 1,315 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
mark monday
:: Stand on Zanzibar is one of my favorite novels ::

Stand on Zanzibar (50th Anniversary Collection)

a) Stand on Zanzibar is about overpopulation. if the entire world's population were to stand on Zanzibar, it would sink.

b) Stand on Zanzibar is about information. how is it processed? what does it really mean?

c) Stand on Zanzibar is about the evils and cupidity of corporatization. it is about how a corporation may be able to do a good thing, despite itself.

d) Stand on Zanzibar is about the evils and stupidity of the State. it provides many exa
Jul 24, 2015 Lyn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Stand on Zanzibar by John Brunner is an amazing book.

First of all, the title comes from the idea of putting all the people on the planet in one place. A nineteenth century commentator speculated that if everyone were to stand, and have maybe a couple feet square around him or her, then everyone could stand together on the Isle of Wight. Some time later this concept was expanded due to population increases to speculate that the same experiment could be done on the Isle of Man. Brunner, setting h
Henry Avila
This psychedelic novel. Is set in the far distant future, 2010! When we can look forward to picture phones,holographic t.v. sets . Moon bases, and battery powered cars everywhere(can't wait).The happening man is Norman Niblock House.He lives in a domed Manhattan.The rest of New York City's citizens. Are not important enough to have that structure. Norman works as an executive and only black man. For General Technical Corporation(G T to its loyal employees). And still run by the founder Georgette ...more
Aug 26, 2015 Brad rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sci-fi
Some novels should only be read once. On my second read, I wanted to downgrade my estimation of the novel by a star.

I felt sad.

Sure. Shalmaneser was and still is my go-to model for a hell of a kick-ass supercomputer developing true intelligence and will, with all of it's concomitant problems, such as addiction and hallucination. (How very 1969 of a novel, Mr. Brunner.)

And yes, when I first read this back in 1990, I was surprised and oh so pleased by all the counterculture, drug use, clandestine
Dec 26, 2008 Manny rated it really liked it
Definitely one of the best SF dystopias, which IMHO deserved more attention. OK, it's fair that "1984" and "Brave New World" received greater critical acclaim - there's no doubt that they are better. But there must be a hundred people who have read them for every one who's read Zanzibar, and that's not an accurate reflection of the difference in quality. Brunner has some interesting things to say that you won't find in either of the other two books, and he writes quite well.

By the way, in case y
6.0 stars (One of my All Time Favorites). A staggering novel. Rich in characters, a superbly crafted story that moves very quickly and deals with some very important issues. I absolutely loved this book and consider it one of the true classics of Science Fiction.

Winner: Hugo Award for Best Science Fiction Novel (1969)
Nominee: Nebula Award for Best Science Fiction Novel (1969)
Winner: Britsh Science Fiction Award for Best Novel (1970)
6.0 stars (One of my All Time Favorites). A staggering novel. Rich in characters, a superbly crafted story that moves very quickly and deals with some very important issues. I absolutely loved this book and consider it one of the true classics of Science Fiction.

Winner: Hugo Award for Best Science Fiction Novel (1969)
Nominee: Nebula Award for Best Science Fiction Novel (1969)
Winner: Britsh Science Fiction Award for Best Novel (1970)
Erik Graff
Jan 04, 2011 Erik Graff rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
Recommended to Erik by: no one
Shelves: sf
Reading this before discovering DosPassos' U.S.A., I was mightily impressed by Brunner's originality of technique. Discovering U.S.A., I was even more impressed by DosPassos, of course, but did not fault Brunner's employment of the other's proven methods for painting an enormous, richly textured picture of a possible future.

The book was anxiety-provoking in 1969. The accuracy of many of Brunner's predictions makes one wonder about the increasingly large subgenre of science fiction books which ar
Oct 02, 2012 knig rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to knig by: Mark Monday
Shelves: 2012
I asked sci fi guru Mark for a recommendation, and I all I got was this Stand on Zanzibar. (Well, Dhalgren as well, but that may have to wait for another lifetime). Well phew. Climbing Mount Everest might have been a tad easier than ploughing through this ....erm, actually, Mark may have threatened me with Shalmaneser obliteration if I don’t show proper encomium so I better not say ...this clunker. Well, but it is: its chunky and clunky and all 1960s ‘groovy baby’ and full of revolutionary hype ...more
Dec 25, 2014 Jokoloyo rated it it was amazing
This is not a proper review. I just want to share my opinion.

One of the fictitious nation on this novel, Yatakang, is a good analogy/shadowing of Indonesia at second half of 1960s period condition. Maybe that helps me to give high rating for this book. There isn't many SF books that picturing the Indonesia as details as this book. Until now, this is the best that I have found so far.
Aug 14, 2011 Bill rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Found it interesting; a unique style of writing. I've read different ways; the normal way from front to end, then also by sticking to the sub-headings; context, the happening world, tracking with closeups, etc. Either way, it made for excellent reading.
Aug 01, 2014 Stuart rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the best SF dystopias from the late 60s about overpopulation in the future, and deserving of a much broader audience. One of my early high school favorites.
Feb 14, 2013 Denis rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: hardcover, b-c
Difficult to read. Difficult to rate. It's a masterpiece.

Many others have summarized it brilliantly. I wouldn't even try.

It's a book about everything written in a very unusual and clever fashion with simultaneous overlapping segments: context. the happening world. tracking with closeups. continuity.

The bulk of the "actual novel" is in the "continuity" sections. one could simply read that, but all the world building and "spirit of the society" are written within the others.

Took me a while to get
Jul 11, 2008 Matt rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: People who like science fiction
Shelves: science-fiction
I've read this book twice now, once a few months back and once in the early 90's. While I still greatly enjoyed the novel, it didn't stand up to a second reading as well as I thought it might.

'Stand on Zanzibar' is told in a very modern style that could be off-putting to some, although it is far more approachable than some other canonical stories from experimental 'New Wave' science fiction from the same period. And, as 'New Wave' there is some casual brutality to the story that some others migh
Dec 21, 2007 ruby rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 6-stars, sci-fi
this is perhaps one of the most prescient science fiction novels ever written.

i picked this up relatively recently, aware that it had a certain reputation as a classic of the genre, but also expecting it to have aged relatively badly, like many classics of the time. i was aiming to fill a gap in my reading, but wasn't expecting it to be particularly enjoyable.

as it is i was very pleasantly surprised. Brunner's style is very contemporary and not in the least stuffy. his speculative science, thoug
Saul Bennett
Aug 16, 2010 Saul Bennett rated it it was amazing
Well, what an amazing novel. Totally unique and ahead if its time. I was intrigued by the fact it was written in 1968 and the story was set in 2010!
I loved the phrases the author invented - codders and shiggies (men and women), mockers, sheeting hell (I say that a lot myself now!), pint of whaledreck.
I loved the vast array of colourful characters - especially the inimitable Chad C Mulligan.
Some of the scenes (most of them very short and shocking) will stick in my memory for a long time. Such as
Apr 22, 2014 Randy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A difficult book to wade into. Not due to the subject matter, but rather getting to know the vernacular of Brunner's near-future, becoming acquainted with largish cast of characters (of whom only 5 are so are of primary importance, but there are dozens of ancillary characters), and the organization of the book. Chapters of plot (labelled as 'Continuity' in the header) are cut and spliced with scenes that have no direct bearing on the primary plot or advertising scripts or some other such thing. ...more
Mar 29, 2015 fromcouchtomoon rated it it was amazing
A dystopic collage of media overstimulation and neocolonial globalization, a highly textured sensory experience of our own world, five years ago, predicted nearly 50 years ago. Most interesting is not what he got right, but the few things he got wrong.
Maggie K
A lot of folks love this book, and I really tried to like it, and maybe I just wasn't in the right mood, but these characters, and the way they treated women, was just too annoying to me. I gave up.
Kate Sherrod
May 25, 2013 Kate Sherrod rated it it was amazing
Simultaneously reading like a deadly earnest Illuminatus! Trilogy scrubbed of all the conspiracy nuttiness*, a fictionalized parable of Toffler's classic Future Shock, a finger-wagging sermon about the evils of overpopulation, and a whacked-out Jeff Noon media scramble, Stand on Zanzibar is one of the coolest bits of New Wave science fiction a reader could pick up.

A lot of people who pick up a John Brunner novel -- or indeed any older science fiction novel -- in the 21st century get hung up on e
Mar 12, 2014 Mike rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Where to start when talking about Stand on Zanzibar? Maybe the meaning of the title:

"And to close on, the Dept of Small Consolations Some troubledome just figured out that if you allow for every codder and shiggy and appleofmyeye a space one foot by two you could stand us all on the six hundred forty square mile surface on the island of Zanzibar ToDAY third MAY twenty-TEN come aGAIN!" By the end of the book, several months later, poor Zanzibar can no longer hold all of humanity and some of our n
Jason Pym
Jul 20, 2010 Jason Pym rated it it was ok
Shelves: science-fiction
I understand this was a breakthrough novel for 1967, and it is full of ideas that are staggering for the time it was written, but for me this didn't work as a novel. The characters all leave me cold (with the exception of Chad Mulligan - he was great), which is a problem for such a long book.

I like the idea of all these snap shots of the world, like a photomontage, but for me it would have worked better if they were fleshed out a bit more, given a more personal focus. And as for the two main pl
Jenny (Reading Envy)
Sep 25, 2011 Jenny (Reading Envy) rated it really liked it
Recommended to Jenny (Reading Envy) by: Tamahome
I posted a longer review to my blog, but one basic summary is that the present isn't that different from Brunner's imagined future, and it is all our fault.

I loved how Brunner presented the feeling of information overload, in fact I had more fun reading the first half of the book, which is less story and more atmosphere, than I did reading the actual plot-heavy parts.

Jul 21, 2015 Jason rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Some love this book and some hate it. I find myself more in between, because this is a serviceable novel, with occasional exciting and insightful bits, but not one that coheres or gels in a satisfactory way. Yes, the narrative technique Brunner used to tell his story was, I guess, unique at the time it was written, but I believe its "experimental" nature has been grossly exaggerated. Basically, there is a definite plot in the middle of all this, a rather dull one, but it is interspersed with adv ...more
Mar 25, 2010 Bryan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf
A couple weeks have gone by, and I'm still thinking of this book. That's probably a good sign. I've finished other books in the time since, but I've spent more time mulling over Stand on Zanzibar. I think my original rating was perhaps a bit harsh, and I'll give it an extra star, so it's now sitting at 3.5 stars. Worth reading, but I won't be rereading it any time soon.

Hmmm... I'll give this one 2.5 stars. Yes, it was a good book, and yes it was a great concept, but there was some big drawbac
J. Mark
Oct 20, 2007 J. Mark rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: sci-fi fans and not-so sci-fi fans, fans of extrapolated sociology
Shelves: sci-fi-fantasy
This and "The Sheep Look Up" are Brunner's masterworks, though there are dozens of worthwhile reads from his amazing pen. This involved work, structurally based on John Dos Passos' "U.S.A. trilogy," gives a full worldview of what was then a not-too-distant future. Brunner had a knack for extrapolating current events and where they were likely to lead, and what we have in "Stand on Zanzibar" is a world that is in many ways like the one in which we now live. A cloak-and-dagger mystery as well as s ...more
Alan Zendell
Mar 01, 2012 Alan Zendell rated it really liked it
I loved this book when it came out in 1968. I thought it was daringly brilliant, a frightening projection of what the world might be like in 2010. Reading it in 2012, I'm reminded that projection isn't the same as prediction.

As a predictor, writing in the mid-1960s, Brunner missed a few things like cell phones, the internet, auto-immune disorders like AIDS, and Iran replacing Egypt as the middle-east bad guy. He also missed the facts that a permanent moon base and suborbital high-speed airliner
Jun 06, 2007 Punk rated it it was ok
Shelves: science-fiction
SF. I can't even begin to summarize this book. It's not so much a novel as a series of interconnected news broadcasts, first person accounts, book excerpts, police reports, history lessons, folk tales, and a couple characters thrown in just to move the plot along. Plot: The earth is seriously overpopulated, population control has reached new levels of oppression, and big business seems to be running the global economy with the help of computer prophet Shalmaneser. There are also spies. And a pre ...more
Feb 11, 2009 Stacie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I always find it amusing/entertaining to read about what people in the past thought today would be like. The book was written in 1968 about the year 2010. It definitely surprised me that there happened to be a character named President Obomi (not of the US) who is half black and half white, and he and his country are in some ways a symbol of hope for peace.

This was a really interesting read, although a bit hard to get into at first. He just sort of dumps you right into his quirky writing style w
I tried - got about halfway through before deciding I didn't need to force myself to read a book I disliked this much.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
  • A Case of Conscience (After Such Knowledge, #4)
  • They'd Rather Be Right
  • The Wanderer
  • The Centauri Device
  • Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang
  • Babel-17
  • Bug Jack Barron
  • On Wings of Song
  • The Complete Roderick
  • Mission of Gravity (Mesklin, #1)
  • The Rediscovery of Man
  • Emphyrio
  • Dreamsnake
  • Way Station
  • The Child Garden
  • Life During Wartime
  • Dark Benediction
  • The Year of the Quiet Sun
John Brunner was born in Preston Crowmarsh, near Wallingford in Oxfordshire, and went to school at St Andrew's Prep School, Pangbourne, then to Cheltenham College. He wrote his first novel, Galactic Storm, at 17, and published it under the pen-name Gill Hunt, but he did not start writing full-time until 1958. He served as an officer in the Royal Air Force from 1953 to 1955, and married Marjorie Ro ...more
More about John Brunner...

Share This Book

“It's supposed to be automatic, but actually you have to push this button. ” 162 likes
“True, you’re not a slave. You’re worse off than that by a long, long way. You’re a predatory beast shut up in a cage of which the bars aren’t fixed, solid objects you can gnaw at or in despair batter against with your head until you get punch-drunk and stop worrying. No, those bars are the competing members of your own species, at least as cunning as you on average, forever shifting around so you can’t pin them down, liable to get in your way without the least warning, disorienting your personal environment until you want to grab a gun or an axe and turn mucker.” 4 likes
More quotes…