Soylent Green
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Soylent Green

3.72 of 5 stars 3.72  ·  rating details  ·  2,856 ratings  ·  258 reviews
A gangster is murdered during a blistering Manhattan heat wave. City cop Andy Rusch is under pressure to solve the crime and captivated by the victim's beautiful girlfriend. But it is difficult to catch a killer, let alone get the girl, in crazy streets crammed full of people. The planet's population has exploded. The 35 million inhabitants of New York City run their TVs o...more
Mass Market Paperback, Movie Tie-In Edition, 224 pages
Published 1973 (first published 1966)
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Stephen
Color me happy and more than a little surprised to be decorating this review with as many stars as I am because I went into this novel with pretty subdued expectations. I would say expectations on par with those I hold for the latest cinematic embarassment by Mr. Dickoless Cage. I know that's not very nice, but I will never, never forgive that talent-free ass bozo for effectively castrating Ghost Rider in front of the general public, despite being a self-described fanboy of the character. The g...more
Marvin
First thing, Forget about the movie Soylent Green which was based on Harry Harrison's novel about overpopulation, Make Room! Make Room!. There is no Charleston Heston screaming , "Soylent Green is people!" and nothing about cannibalism. What we have instead is a very effective and disquieting look at a future where overpopulation is rampant and food and water sources are depleting. While he centers his story around a New York detective and a "accidental" murder, Harrison is more interested in de...more
Tfitoby
A fine piece of science fiction that grabs you from the start with it's world building and high quality writing and entertains for over 200 pages.

Soylent Green might have been people but Make Room! Make Room! is a story about a detective investigating a murder in a future world with a drastic problem with over-population and a lack of natural resources. The detective aspect works as an interesting framing story that allows Harrison to explore the nuances of his world - food riots, vegan diets, w...more
Manny
Good morning class! Now, hands up everyone who knows what Soylent Green is made of. Ah, that's very good. I'm glad to see you read your assignment.

I'm sorry, we're not quite finished yet. What is the book's original title? No, of course it isn't a trick question. You should have read it a little more carefully...
Robert
It's the future - 1999 in fact! Over 7 billion humans, 35 million of them in New York City where a cop, a gangster's moll and a street kid all collide on their no longer separate searches for food and water security. Shanties, tent cities, people living in ships and cars that can't move because there's no more oil. Sounds like Harrison only got the date wrong...

It's an odd book tackling the question of over-population back in the 1960s when it seems to have first been taken seriously (though not...more
Jason
Make Room! Make Room! was the basis for the classic sci-fi flick Soylent Green. Of course, the scene that everyone remembers from the film - Charleston Heston yelling, "Soylent Green is people!" at the end - never appears in the book. Sorry, kids, no cannibalism in this rather slow read from the 1960s, but lots of commentary on the dangers of overpopulation.

It's actually a fairly depressing story about environmental collapse: the food is pretty much gone and it's hot all the time due to global w...more
Frances
Inevitable? Dystrophic in Dystopia. Imagined or Insighted?

This 1973 synopsis sounds like a current headline: In 2022, with 40 million people in New York City alone, housing is dilapidated and overcrowded; homeless people fill the streets and food is scarce; and most of the population survives on rations produced by the Soylent Corporation, whereof the newest product is Soylent Green, a green wafer advertised to contain "high-energy plankton", more nutritious and palatable than its predecessors...more
Rachel
This was a really wonderful book. I read it before I watched the movie (Soylent Green), but because a co-worker told me about the movie. It was really interesting to watch the movie just after finishing the book and compare the two. In many ways they were almost polar opposite, but then again, the essentials were very much the same.

New York (and the entire world) are overpopulated and there is very little food and pretty much no space. According to the book the only decent place left to live in...more
Kernos
Jan 01, 2014 Kernos rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
I was initially disappointed with novel on which the awesome movie Soylent Green was loosely based. This is a favorite movie which I've watched at least once a year since I recorded it on VHS. Loosely based is an understatement. The only things the book and movie have in common are the issue of over-population, two mentions of the word 'Soylent", Sol, a minor character in the book and Shirl, a much different character in the book. Tab is probably closest to the book's Tab. The entire plot is dif...more
☆ Ruth ☆
An interesting, if slightly slow story... The action takes place in a vastly overcrowded New York city, just before the millennium in 1999. However, it was first published in 1966 and so of course lacks any knowledge of the huge developments and events we now look back on which populated those years. The book paints a stark picture of how the world we know could disintegrate, if the population continues to grow and natural resources continue to decline. The lives of the main characters are playe...more
Nancy Oakes
Considering that this classic novel of sci-fi was written in the 1960s, it's still quite a grabber and definitely worth reading. You're welcome to stay here for the short version or click here for the longer one.

The setting for Make Room! Make Room! is New York City, 1999, well beyond teeming with a population of 35 million people. Food is a precious commodity and water is rationed,except for the rich who have speakeasy-like secret meat markets for their shopping pleasures and can enjoy long sho...more
♥Xeni♥
Hmm, just finished and I have to say that it wasn't as exciting as the movie, Soylent Green. The framework for the movie is there, but the film took the whole plot to another level and created the famous tag line "soylent green is people".

Other than that, the book was actually an amusing sci-fi mystery read. Andy is a cop sent to find the killer of a high profile murder. While he is searching for the suspect (who is in hiding) we learn all about his life in the "modern" world: overpopulated, ov...more
Kathryn
Reading "Make Room Make Room", I can understand why someone would want to make a movie out of this. Harrison creates a fascinating slice-of-life portrait of New York in a world where there simply isn't room. There's all sorts of interesting details about how people survive when there's no more meat (that any of US would want to eat, anyway), no steady supply of food other than crackers made from processed and crumbled seaweed, and next to no water. And you get strangely caught up in the characte...more
Wealhtheow
May 11, 2012 Wealhtheow rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of Paolo Bacigalupi
In 1966, Harrison published this tale of the New York City of 1999. Unrestrained population growth and gluttany of natural resources have led to a world packed to bursting with people. There are riots over cracker crumbs, you have to pay up-front to get a job, and people live packed like sardines. The novel follows a few characters: Andy Rusch, a detective assigned to solve the murder of a politically-connected racketeer, and Billy Chung, whose panicked attempt to make money end disastrously. Th...more
Tony
I picked this up because I love genre mixtures such as this book's blend of crime with speculative fiction, and also because I was curious to see what relation it bore to the film (Soylent Green), which is based on it. The book is a very direct representation of the concerns of its time -- namely overpopulation and environmental degradation. It's set in Manhattan (and one portion in Brooklyn) thirty years into the future, during the summer and winter of 1999. The city is home to some 35 million...more
Olethros
-Distopía noir.-

Género. Ciencia-Ficción (por muy poco en realidad).

Lo que nos cuenta. En un caluroso lunes 9 de agosto de 1999 en Nueva York, ciudad de 35 millones de constreñidos habitantes, el policía Andrew “Andy” Rusch comienza el día sorteando la escasez de agua y otros suministros que afectan a la mayoría de los residentes de la Gran Manzana y después va a su trabajo, que hoy consiste en dar apoyo a la vigilancia y control de la manifestación de los Ancianos de América que sienten atropell...more
Jay
I was first exposed to the work of American sci-fi author Harry Harrison in my early teens, when I read his "Stainless Steel Rat" series, followed by the "Deathworld" trilogy and the Bill, the Galactic Hero series. That last was a parody, scathingly funny and a brilliant send-up of space opera sci-fi. The others were classic science fiction, and though they differed in tone they shared tight writing, crisp dialog, memorable characters, and thrilling plot twists.

Since the classic 1973 film Soylen...more
Linda I
Great story, though I admit I liked the movie "Soylent Green" a bit better. But, aside from that, the story was riveting, well-paced and doesn't end the way you expect.

Over-population has most of New York City's 35 million inhabitants hungry for more than soy and lentils. Most citizens will do anything for an extra buck or two. But, for the elite, a most prosperous group, the poverty of the outside world only means higher walls and more security. So, when a racketeer named "Big Mike" is murdered...more
Evelyn
Harrison's now cult classic dystopian tale of an overpopulated New York City often gets forgotten about in comparison to the very loosely based film version, Soylent Green. Whilst the book doesn't have the whole sensationalized hook of cannibalism (none of this is in the story) which so dominates the film, it stills provides an eery read which has all the hallmarks of a great dystopian novel. We have mass overpopulation and its myriad related problems, corruption at the top, a main character who...more
Alastair
This is an interesting vision of the future given that is was written in 1966 and set in 1999. It doesn't suffer from having too many ridiculous technological advances; anti-gravity drives, shiny silver suits, robots and so on. In fact, in Harrison's overcrowded world, a lot of technology has regressed in a very plausible way. The only areas where science seems to have progressed are in crowd-control and synthetic food production.

The book started very strongly, but the promising plotlines that...more
J.M. Cornwell
Too many people, not enough resources. That is the central theme in Make Room! Make Room! by Harry Harrison.

The story is set in New York City where there are 35 million people crammed into a very small space, where jobs are scarce and have to be bought, where paper is only in old books, and air conditioning is only for the wealthy. In this jam packed world lives Andy Rusch, a detective with the NYPD who spends less of his time detecting and most of his time on riot control with the rest of the...more
Rosie
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Pete Young
A word about Ondrea Barbe’s great photograph that appears on the cover of this recent Penguin Modern Classics edition: it’s the perfect accompaniment to the alliterative nature of both Harrison’s name and the book’s title, and at the same time reflects the oppressive heat and claustrophobia contained in the book itself. Make Room! Make Room! occupies the other end of Harrison’s spectrum in relation to his satire and humour: a murder in an overcrowded and riot-prone New York in 1999 forms the bac...more
Suzanne
During the first chapters of this book, my thoughts were along the lines of, "Holy shit, why didn't anybody tell me Harry Harrison was such a great writer?" The descriptions and worldbuilding are brilliant. I was bummed I already knew the ending since I'd seen the film adaptation, Soylent Green, but this story had the potential to be richer.

And as the story proceeded, it didn't go anywhere near that Soylent Green storyline I was expecting. My new thoughts were, "Huh. Sure is taking a long time...more
Sineala
This book has been on my to-read list for a while now; possibly I should have learned more about it first. I knew going in that (a) Harry Harrison also wrote the Stainless Steel Rat books, which I enjoyed, and (b) this book was made into the movie Soylent Green, which I have not seen except of course I know about the cannibalism, because doesn't everyone?

Well, there is no cannibalism in this book. Also no humor. It is a dark, dystopian look at a future (remember when 1999 was the future?) in whi...more
Vivian
Vaguely remembered watching the movie, "Soylent Green" way back in the 70's, and vaguely remembered liking it. (I was a idealistic pre-teen at the time:)) I wondered if the book the movie was based on would equal the movie, but there were too many differences, and the plot at times dragged horribly. In fact, I'd say there is no real plot, since the book shows us a kind of "slice of life" of Manhattan, circa 1999 (30+ years in the future when the book was written), an overpopulated, underfed, and...more
Jen
I liked the first half of this book a lot more than the second half. There isn't a plot since it's a murder mystery where you know all the answers. It's more a slice of life in an overpopulated future than a story. The book starts off with great potential, but the characters seem to get bored of each other and drift apart, which I suppose enhances the feeling of anomie the author is trying to convey, but which doesn't really make for an entertaining read. I really, really liked it at first and w...more
Joseph Szupiany
If you don't know, the movie Soylent Green was based on this book. The movie changed the ending, so that soylent green was made from people, where the book uses the "wafers" as a way to advance the storyline and show how the world has been affected due to massive overpopulation and over farming. The story was written in 1966 before "Global Climate Change" became a buzzword, yet is very prescient in regards to where our population might be heading in the next 30 years. Over-farming, over-populati...more
Jason Reeser
I would have given this four stars, maybe even five, until the author started ranting about birth control opponents near the end. And then, it just looked silly. His contention was that by 1999 we'd be overcrowded, with over 300 million people in the US, so bad that we'd be living nearly like animals. Which is too bad, because his writing was excellent and his plot was interesting. His world creation was also wonderful. It just rang hollow at the end. And after he started the preaching, the stor...more
Jeff Miller
The novel was decent enough until about two-thirds in it became a pro-contraception screed with anti-Catholicism thrown in. Not surprising being that the book was written in 1966 when the population explosion was at the rhetorical height. Now I could ignore this expected element because of the premise of the book. What was worse is how depressing it was and ending on a total lack of hope.

I think I liked the movie Soylent Green much better even as a B movie. The soylent green is people subplot wh...more
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the Goodreads database with this name.

Harry Harrison (born Henry Maxwell Dempsey) was an American science fiction author best known for his character the The Stainless Steel Rat and the novel Make Room! Make Room! (1966), the basis for the film Soylent Green (1973). He was also (with Brian W. Aldiss) co-president of the Birmingham Science Fiction G...more
More about Harry Harrison...
The Stainless Steel Rat (Stainless Steel Rat, #4) The Adventures of the Stainless Steel Rat (Stainless Steel Rat, #4-6) A Stainless Steel Rat is Born (Stainless Steel Rat, #1) The Stainless Steel Rat Wants You! (Stainless Steel Rat, #7) The Stainless Steel Rat Saves the World (Stainless Steel Rat, #6)

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“Because of the power shortage and lack of replacement parts there was only one elevator running in the Empire State Building, and this one went only as high as the twenty-fifth floor. After that you walked.” 2 likes
“He didn't say so but Andy agreed with the bodyguard. A good-looking bird like this one didn't have to kill anyone. What she did she did for D's and if a guy gave her too much trouble she'd just walk out and find someone else with money. Not murder.” 2 likes
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