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The Status Civilization

3.93  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,251 Ratings  ·  74 Reviews
Will Barrent had no memory of his crime . . . but he found himself shipped across space to a brutal prison-planet. On Omega, his only chance to advance himself -- and stay alive -- is to commit an endless series of violent crimes. The average inmate's life expectancy from time of arrival is three years. Can Barrett survive, escape, and return to Earth to clear his name?
Paperback, 132 pages
Published March 29th 2007 by Wildside Press (first published 1960)
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Apr 17, 2012 Melki rated it liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
This book was on online freebie - I planned to read a chapter each day as I perused the comics, news, and celebrity gossip - BUT it turned out to be a real page-turner (or mouse-clicker...or whatever you want to call an involving story, read online...)
I ended up sitting in my uncomfortable computer chair, back aching, long past the time I should have been doing something else.

A man is sentenced to a prison planet for a murder he cannot remember committ
Two vastly different social structures (on two different planets) were packed into this novella.

The first was a prison planet in which inmates had created a world that worshipped evil and status was driven up by authorized kills.

The second was a cold conforming world in which order reigned.

I found both worlds incredibly fascinating. As with so many dystopian worlds I was left with many unanswered questions and a few confusions.

Despite this I found the concepts fresh and I enjoyed the ideas.
Feb 10, 2012 Norv rated it really liked it
I have clearly read this book before, I wonder how many years ago since I didn't remember almost anything of the twists and discoveries the author has reserved for the reader.
It's a light and short reading (around 100 pages), available at project Gutenberg, proof read by volunteers around the world.

Well worth reading if you're a fan of science-fiction, even though the themes have been done and overdone since then: Sheckley has been, to my knowledge, a source of inspiration by its exploration of
Marts  (Thinker)
I enjoyed this, liked the methods used by the protagonist to always get out of those situations despite what his 'advisors' always said.

In the tale Will Barrent suddenly awakes on this 'space ship', apparently his memory has been temporarily erased. He is told that he committed a murder and has been shipped off to the prison planet Omega. Here crimes dominate.
Well back on Earth, there have been drastic change, for one the planet is now close to utopia, with all based on trust.....

Barrent must
Jay Daze
Actually this is more a 3.5 review. Despite a fairly two dimensional main character and a lot of explaining, the ideas and wit of this novelette really carried the day. Favourite bits were the identical religious speeches on both Omega and Earth (only spoiled a bit because Sheckley couldn't restrain himself from pointing out the same point at the end) and the copying of past authors that passes itself off as creation, both for the pulps and the higher literary forms. (In the camp of there are no ...more
Jul 20, 2012 Kevin rated it liked it
This is a very strange novel. The tone of the book changes significantly through the course of the novel, but I did find it enjoyable. A man awakens in a cell and finds he has lost his memory. He is then informed that he is a murderer on his way to a prison planet to begin a new life. Early on he is saved by a woman who may or may not be real. These mysteries are only the beginning as you try to figure out what is real and what's a facade. This book deserves more like a 3.5, but the reason I lea ...more
Ali Çetinbudaklar

Metis BK serisindeki en iyilerden. Kısa ve öz, en sevdiğim özelliği bu :).

Kitap başlangıç olarak, PKD'nin romanından uyarlanan Total Recall gibi biraz. (view spoiler)
This book is freely available from Project Gutenberg through the efforts of fine folks at Distributed Proofreaders. Robert Sheckley is one of my favorite authors, so when I saw this book in Distributed Proofreaders, I knew I wanted to work on putting it all together. Check it out!

I definitely enjoyed actually reading the book after completing all the final checks and stuff. It's been a while though, so I don't recall all the details. I think I liked the way it ended.
Tim Williams
Apr 03, 2013 Tim Williams rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved it. Fun, imaginative, and it keeps you reading 'one more chapter' at a time. yeah, it has some silliness to it by today's standards and it has a 50's SF feel to it nut I think that just adds to its charm. it doesn't try to be uber-serious or snarky like most SF today. And that is a very good thing. I only wish there was this kind of material being written today. Somewhere we kind of lost the FUN that made SF popular. Maybe Hollywood will re-discover this kind of stuff when the super-hero ...more
Jul 17, 2015 James rated it liked it
Sheckley puts the reader in the place of the main character, who begins not knowing his name or where he is. The protagonist and the reader gradually gain a few clues. At first he's known only by a number, then is told his name is Will Barrent and he's been moved to a world named Omega due to a crime he committed. He and the other people riding a starship all arrive at once on Omega and at first have no memory of their lives on earth, other than being told what crime they committed and why they ...more
Feb 27, 2014 Nazim rated it it was amazing
Shelves: science-fiction
Barrent is sentenced and sent to a planet Omega. He is said to be a murderer. Omega is for prisoners only. They have their own rules there. Their status comes from the lowest of low called a peon who got no rights at all to the upper classes, the beyond-laws.

On Omega he fights and kills to live and gets a job. With every successful kill he climbs up in social hierarchy. However he feels that he’s not prone to kill and murder. He’s doing this only for self-defense. He’s got suspicions that he’s
J. D.
Oct 30, 2009 J. D. rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
While I agree with Mark about the wasted idea, to some extent, I still think this science-fiction novella about a moribund, manipulative Terran Hegemony deserves a better grade than one star for that idea. A nonconformist from Earth is railroaded, through false murder charge, to a prison-planet, then seeks to return to Earth to discover and reveal all. Of course, those who favor conspiracy theories will attempt to extrapolate beyond the plot. I still enjoyed reading it.
Feb 20, 2014 Matt rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
One of the best books I've read, seriously. I was enthralled. It was made even better because I'd had never heard of the author, and its one of those free classics. I'm in shock right now how good this was. Read it.
Jul 23, 2015 John rated it really liked it
Robert Sheckley deftly manipulates — in a mere (but dense) 127 pages — a plot straight from the pulps involving prison planets and gladiatorial fights against terrifying robots into a scathing and artfully constructed work of satire.

Due to the almost novella length of The Status Civilization do not expect any unnecessary declamations on technology or the nature of the world or government or endless interior character monologues for Sheckley clearly prefers — and revels in — the shorter form.

Jul 23, 2014 Tarl rated it liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
I was directed to this story when I was looking for tales set on prison ships or planets. Giving the description a quick read, I bought it and settled down to read.

The fact that this book was written in 1960 is apparently from the get go. This is not a problem, but rather something that stuck out and forces the reader to adjust to the mindset of the age this story was written in. Sheckley tells a good story with The Status Civilization though there are some points that left me wrinkling my brow.
David Stuckey
Aug 29, 2015 David Stuckey rated it it was amazing

Crime and punishment in a future state. So often this has been used, but not in this way ( OK, you might look at Loyd Biggle's "Pariah Planet" for similar starting points ) before. A world of exile is used for amnesiac criminals and they have created a society in which crime is a virtue, and even an obligation, for the 'inmates'. Yet, one man feels he shouldn't be here though he can't even say why.

It's as close to a standard story as you get with Sheckley, and even the patented surrealist end
Mar 14, 2015 George rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
"Πλανήτης Ωμέγα", εκδόσεις Μπουκουμάνη.

Ούτε κατάλαβα πότε το τελείωσα! Κλασικό περιπετειώδες ανάγνωσμα με καλές και δυνατές ιδέες που εφαρμόστηκαν αρκετά καλά. Ο πρωταγωνιστής είναι ένας τύπος που ξυπνάει ξαφνικά σε ένα δωμάτιο χωρίς να θυμάται τίποτα, εκτός κάποιων πραγμάτων. Τελικά μαθαίνει ότι είναι ένοχος για φόνο και στέλνεται με διαστημόπλοιο - φυλακή στον πλανήτη Ωμέγα, σαν εξόριστος, μαζί με άλλους εγκληματίες. Αυτός ο πλανήτης κατοικείται από εγκληματίες πάσης φύσεως, οι οποίοι πρέπει ν
Isabel (kittiwake)
Mar 21, 2014 Isabel (kittiwake) rated it really liked it
Shelves: sfbrp-read
The speaker held out his hands to quiet the murmur that ran through the auditorium. He said, "All of you are criminals. And all of you have one thing in common: an inability to obey the basic obligatory rules of human society. Those rules are necessary for civilization to function. By disobeying them, you have committed crimes against all mankind. Therefore mankind rejects you. You are grit in the machinery of civilization, and you have been sent to a world where your own sort is king. Here you ...more
Nov 14, 2013 Dylan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a nifty little book, despite outward appearances. It's set on a prison planet, the dramatically named Omega, where prisoners have their memories wiped before arriving, and it features a two-dimensional, tough-as-nails protagonist, as well as more than its share of improbable action sequences. While that sounds awesome to me, it also sounds like schlock. However, The Status Civilization is rather clever about its cliches. Sheckley's description of Omega is darkly comic and he manages some ...more
Carl Alves
Jul 20, 2013 Carl Alves rated it really liked it
The novel starts off with the protagonist, Will Barrent, arriving on the planet of Omega in complete confusion. He is part of a group of prisoners, and his memories have been completely wiped out. He knows that he has committed a crime but doesn't know what he did. He has been given a life sentence on the prison planet of Omega. The planet is a place of complete chaos where crime and disorder rule. Barrent does what he can to survive, meanwhile non-conforming with the rules of the planet, which ...more
Jan 06, 2014 Chris rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
Will Barrent wakes up unable to recall his name, his past, or how he got here. “Here” turns out to be a spaceship heading for Omega, prison planet for all of Earth’s unwanted criminals, who've been given free reign over the laws and culture of their new world. Will’s unable to recall his crime, either, though he has more pressing problems. Omega has a very strict caste system, and a byzantine series of laws and regulations; life expectancy is three years. Within minutes of entering Omega’s only ...more
Aug 07, 2013 Andrewcharles420 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sf12
A man wakes up without any memory apart from his native language and finds himself on a prison ship headed to a world of punishment. He struggles to survive there despite the prison world's life expectancy of 3 years. He is eventually initiated into the underworld and escapes back to earth, where the situation is equally dire, but under far different circumstances.

The message I read most in this book (which might reflect other currents of thought I've had recently) is that security and stability
Dec 19, 2012 Julka rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi, 52-books-2012
Will Barrent bohater Planety Zła budzi się na pokładzie statku. Nic nie pamięta, zna tylko swój numer. Za chwilę wszystko ma się wyjaśnić. Statek ląduje na planecie więziennej, a Will dowiaduje się, że został skazany za morderstwo. Na planecie nie ma strażników. Więźniowie pilnują się sami, dzięki systemowi kast i przywilejów. Awansować można tylko w jeden sposób - zabijając innego mieszkańca.

Jest jeszcze tajna organizacja, której celem jest wysłanie kogoś na Ziemię, żeby sprawdzić co się tam dz
May 06, 2013 Dangermousie rated it it was amazing
Shelves: scifi
Status Civilization is a classic of science fiction whose protagonist, Will Barrent, has been sentenced for murder he does not remember committing and shipped to a brutal prison planet to live or die as he sees fit. On Omega, as the planet is known, civilization is topsy-turvy - a deformed mockery of normalcy where a person's status depends on how many others he manages to kill. Will must survive in this twisted world all the while trying to figure out what crime it is he committed and why he do ...more
Ellie [The Empress]
A dystopian novel disguised in a science fiction cover.

Book rating; 4/5
Narration: A bit flat, but we are still grateful for the work of Mr. Gregg
Download A LibriVox audio version;
Download an e-book from the Gutenberg project

“Dead or alive, you will retain all your rights.”

Will is a murder and he is sent to the planet Omega, where all criminals are dumped and free to determine their own fate. Or so they think. The problem is Will has no memory of who he is and what his life on earth wa
Julie Davis
Apr 09, 2010 Julie Davis rated it really liked it
#36 - 2010

Reading this for SFFaudio's read-along. We'll be discussing this in a few weeks for their podcast. It is available free via Project Gutenberg.

So far it is interesting and definitely a quick read with short chapters. I began last night and am on chapter 13 already (maybe half through?). A man awakens in a small sterile room with no memory of his name, his past, or even of planet Earth. Thinking he is in a hospital after an accident, he discovers quickly that he is on a prison ship and i
I'm lovin' the free Kindle books on Amazon and Project Gutenberg! This little title by Sheckley made for excellent weekend reading. Referred to as a sci-fi classic, I was eager to dive in.

Literally dumped onto a planet to fend for himself among criminals, Barrent gradually learns about what it takes to succeed in his new society. "Through planned inequality and enforced ignorance, power and status remained in the hands of older residents." As readers, we learn about the worship of evil, the Drea
Nicolás Wyplosz
Dec 08, 2015 Nicolás Wyplosz rated it liked it
Shelves: 2015
Buena novela, aunque creo que podría haber sido mejor. Hubo muchas ideas interesantes, pero no fueron bien desarrolladas o explicadas. Muchos de los eventos de la novela ocurrieron muy rápido sin darnos tiempo a los lectores para reflexionar. Se sucedía un hecho tras otro sin descanso.

El MVP es Will Barrent, el protagonista. Fue un buen personaje; creo que los personajes secundarios también podrían haber estado más desarrollados como tales.
Bülent Özgün
Jan 26, 2016 Bülent Özgün rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Çok iyi bir bilimkurgu romanı. Yüzey hikayede hareket hiç durmazken art hikayede bambaşka şeyler anlatıyor. Her iyi bilimkurgu kitabı gibi günümüzü tahlil edip yaklaşan tehlikelere karşı farkındalık yaratıyor.

Kitabın sonuna doğru hikaye yavaşlasa da sona vardığımızda zirvesine ulaşıyor.

Çevirisi muhteşem: Belma Aksun öyle güzel çevirmiş ki kendi dilime yeniden saygı duydum. Dimağı dert bulmasın.
Shawn Steckenfinger
Initially, I found The Status Civilization to be absurdly over-the-top and had great difficulty suspending my disbelief. I nearly gave up because of that, but sensing the book was either bound to be a real stinker or something great I persevered.

With overtones of Orwell and Huxley, only within the final pages does the full scope of the story reveal itself; it is fantastic.
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One of science fiction's great humorists, Sheckley was a prolific short story writer beginning in 1952 with titles including "Specialist", "Pilgrimage to Earth", "Warm", "The Prize of Peril", and "Seventh Victim", collected in volumes from Untouched by Human Hands (1954) to Is That What People Do? (1984) and a five-volume set of Collected Stories (1991). His first novel, Immortality, Inc. (1958), ...more
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“Dead or alive, you will retain all your rights.” 1 likes
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