Only problem is that Son of Kung - re-christened 'Jem' after the first colonists from the Peoples Bloc are swept aside - already has three sentient races. Pre-technology maybe, and living in evolutionary competition with each other, the populations of tunnel-dwellers. land-crabs and 'balloonist...more
What this book is: An indictment of industrialism, capitalism, nationalism, and colonialism. If you don't want to see the darker side of some or all of these -isms laid bare, this may not be the book for you. I have conflicted-at-best opinions of all four, so a book where all four are taken to task was a fascinati...more
This was a very interesting read. Pohl presents an Earth that’s over-populated and suffering great strain on almost every front. But, instead of grouping the nations by ideology – a democratic Western bloc vs a communist Eastern bloc – he groups the nations by resources. There are three blocs in the story: the Food Exporting Bloc (“the fats”), the Oil Exporting Bloc (“the greasies”), and the People (Labor) Exporting Bloc (“the peeps”). So, for instance, Canada, England, and the Middle East are g...more
On the back of this, Pohl wrote Jem, a future novel where the world has consolidated into three political blocs: Food, Fuel and People....more
I didn't like how 90% of the men in the novel were sex-obsessed assholes who badgered women to have sex with them despite the women saying no. I mean, maybe it was a just a couple guys, or just Ana's perception of men, but it seemed like everyone but Dalehouse was a pig, which isn't very fair to men. The book was...more
Prior to this, I read one of Pohl's short stories, "Day Million," and really enjoyed his witty approach. Stylistically and conceptually "Jem" hits a lot of the same notes and is really not a bad book overall. The characters are very human, with all the flaws and virtues necessary to make them interesting. The way in which the various country blocs vie for control of the planet, nicknamed Jem, is entirely believable...more
Will be reading...more
A book steeped in the politics of the time in which it was written (1980, which had seen decades of cold war wearing down the major world powers, and an increasingly resource-hungry world, etc). Here, all too believably, humankind transplants its unreflective self interest and greed into a new world, with tragic consequences. There are definite elements of satire here, but it won't provoke any smiles in the reader; at times it's chillingly bleak, and its ironic subtitle of 'the...more
"Jem" may have been meaningful in its time, but in my opinion its time has passed.
2nd reading: I vaguely remember reading it years ago... doesn't matter, it seemed new to me anyway. Good enough to read twice, I guess!
Yes, Pohl is making a sharp and largely valid critique of humans and society here, but it was just so...more
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