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

I mercanti dello spazio (The Space Merchants #1)

3.88  ·  Rating Details  ·  6,570 Ratings  ·  323 Reviews
E' la storia di Mitchell Courtenay, brillante pubblicitario che vive in un mondo futuro in cui il controllo sull'individuo è tale che le grosse agenzie di pubblicità, appunto, sono diventate in pratica le detentrici del potere. Per una serie di circostanze, Courtenay viene fatto scomparire e spedito in uno degli "inferni produttivi" del Sistema, da cui poi cerca di riemerg ...more
Paperback, Collezione Urania #012, 224 pages
Published January 2004 by Mondadori (first published August 1952)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about I mercanti dello spazio, please sign up.

Popular Answered Questions

Vincenzo Iuppa It's hard to base a recommendation off of just this book because it is admittedly unique in the genre. If you are interested in more positive sci-fi…moreIt's hard to base a recommendation off of just this book because it is admittedly unique in the genre. If you are interested in more positive sci-fi (because even though the world in this book is dystopian it's from a pretty positive angle) I would suggest Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie. If you are interested in more fiction from the time, you may really like the Foundation Trilogy by Isaac Asimov (you can always start with I Robot to just dip your toes in the deep end). If more stories about ad-men is where it is at, Philip K. Dick had a rather psychedelic take in The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch. Good luck in your journeys!(less)

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Bill  Kerwin
Feb 27, 2016 Bill Kerwin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Are you one of those people who miss Madmen desperately? Do you also have a taste for classic science fiction? If so, here is a book that could have been created just for you. Published in 1953, The Space Merchants tells the story of the USA some centuries hence, a land still stuck in the morals and mores of the Madmen era, with sexist men who take their privilege as a given and take their sexy (and intelligent, and capable) women for granted.

But things are much worse in the future than they we
Feb 16, 2016 Lyn rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I like Frederik Pohl more and more the more of his books I read.

Space Merchants, first published in 1952 is a science fiction gem. Telling the tale of a capitalistic-anarchic society from the perspective of an advertising executive, Pohl describes a world where ancient maxims have been turned upside down – such as “Power enables, and absolute power enables absolutely.”

Our hero is living the dream amidst a world of over-population and contract labor consumerism. Then corporate espionage and the n
I was blown away by this satirical and cynical novel. I couldn't believe how fresh it felt, even sixty years after it was originally published, it's still so pertinent, so topical. I would not have been surprised to find out it was written twenty years after it was.

Reading up about the origins of this novel, I was amazed to discover that Pohl actually decided to get a job in advertising just so he could know the industry better and write about it with more authority. And yes, one certainly feels
Never have I read such a marvelously plausible work of Science Fiction. There are many prophetic works, and plenty of works of farther distant futures that I can see being possible, but The Space Merchants is mostly here right now, and everything else (if you exchange Mars for Venus) is merely moments away. And that is a scary fucking proposition.

Pohl & Kornbluth's world is an overpopulated mess, where food and water are at a serious premium and the super-rich dominate the use of goods and
En un futuro cercano, surge el Proyecto Venus, que tiene como misión colonizar dicho planeta. La Tierra está superpoblada y sobreexplotada y está dominada por grandes corporaciones publicitarias. El mundo se divide en Consumidores, Productores y Ejecutivos. Es entonces cuando surge la gran oportunidad para las empresas de publicidad: dirigir la campaña para potenciar la colonización de Venus. Dicho contrato al final ha caído en manos de la Sociedad Fowler Schocken, a la que pertenece el protagon ...more
4.0 stars. One of the better collaborations between Frederik Pohl and C. M. Kornbluth. Excellent world-building and an intelligent, satirical plot make this one of the better books from this period.
Nancy Oakes
Feb 12, 2008 Nancy Oakes rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Awesome book! Hard to believe this was written like 50+ years ago, because it is so incredibly relevant to our modern times. For example: it takes a look at the dangers of imperialistic corporations & greed, the plight of workers and the ungodly conditions under which some of them have to work, the clear and unmistakeable division of class in society, the total lack of concern for the environment and the treatment of those who care about it and want change. Good grief! To say that it was way ...more
Jim Mcclanahan
Jan 11, 2012 Jim Mcclanahan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
First time I've read this novel in decades. I am quite sure that I considered it "far-fetched" in the 1960s. Hey, how crazy can you get: Congress controlled by corporate entities; conservationists vilified as anarchists; food and beverages adulterated beyond belief, corporate espionage driven to life/death levels; Severe shortages in fossil fuels and clean water. Hmm, so where do "chicken tenders" really come from? Maybe from "Chicken Little".

And in my undergraduate days, I worked part time for
May 09, 2008 Werner rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: All science fiction fans
Recommended to Werner by: It was required reading for I correspondence course in science f
Shelves: science-fiction
As a young man, Pohl worked for an advertising agency, and the experience left him with both an insider's understanding of, and a profound distaste for, psychological manipulation for profit, hucksterism, and the whole mentality of material consumption for its own sake. That understanding and distaste provide the theme for a lot of his short fiction; and they're very evident in this novel (which is probably the best and most perceptive dystopian vision from its generation), which conjures a futu ...more
Nov 15, 2013 Elizabeth rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
This was a reread of one the books that first got me into science fiction and it was totally worth rereading all these years later.

One of things I really enjoy about fifties sci-fi was the sparse writing style. In well under two hundred pages you get amazing world building and a brilliant storyline. So many great ideas for a slightly terrifying but believable future world are evoked but not explained to death leaving your imagination free to run wild. The concept of 'chicken little' had remaine
Mar 04, 2010 Rhys rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Quite simply one of the best science fiction novels published in the 1950s (only Alfred Bester's The Stars My Destination, Brian Aldiss' Non Stop and Kurt Vonnegut's The Sirens of Titan truly compare)... This satire on the advertising industry is so far ahead of its time that I was staggered! The world it depicts resembles the future Earth of the film Blade Runner perhaps even more accurately and acutely than Philip K. Dick's novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? does... I must keep a look ...more
The Space Merchants has a very 1984 feel: the underground movement, the profession of the main character... but it's very different as well. A similar situation, if you like, but with a capitalist society taken to the extremes rather than a socialist one. I'm surprised at people saying it feels outdated; I'm with the people who feel it still seems surprisingly relevant for something written in the 1950s.

It's a very quick read, and one worth reading not so much for characters or relationships, bu
Charles Dee Mitchell
Science Fiction as a prescient guide to future technology and society has never much interested me. I read recently that Jules Verne kept abreast of all the latest scientific journals just to up his odds on getting something right. But even with his background research he came up mostly with plots that today are absurd given almost any background in science. Occasionally you read that some writer predicted the internet or the types of computers that we now take for granted. And they "predicted" ...more
Adam Denny
Apr 26, 2013 Adam Denny rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
Written in 1950, this novel can be seen as an American response to George Orwell's "1984." One of the most unbelievable aspects of that novel was that Ingsoc, English Socialism, would somehow come to dominate the United States. What happens is far more likely; the most base and brutal expression of American capitalism taking over the hearts and minds of the rest of the world. 85% of the population are classed as Consumers, only good for what they can contribute to the economy. Congress directly ...more
Ivan Lutz
Mar 25, 2014 Ivan Lutz rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Kakva uživancija!
This is a book that has aged well. The first half is way better than the last one and the prose seems somewhat disjointed in the second half comparatively, but even then this was a good experience.

It has a dystopian setting where the world is divided essentially in two parts. The producers and the consumers. Mitchell Courtenay works with Fowler Schocken Associates which is an advertising agency and is assigned the ad campaign that would attract colonists to Venus; more accurately, duping them t
This dystopian satire about advertising agencies which rule the world was written in 1952. Which means, it was pre-Computer miniaturization, before industrial automation and of course before cell phones and the internet revolution.
Sometimes, this doesn't matter when reading classical sci fi. I simply ignore or smile about actors who stop for a telephone cell to call someone or having to flight in person to achieve something.
But in this novel, the antique technology projection into the future d
Aug 24, 2011 Jlawrence rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A science-fiction satire on advertising and consumerism run amok written in the early '50s (so, yes, parts of it play a little like Mad Men...of the future!). Second half is not quite as good as the first half, some of it is dated, but nonetheless a fun read, with a lot still dead-on, relevant and funny. Part of what helps is that the protagonist Mitch, whose values you are to deplore, is nonetheless very smart and amusing.

A couple of quotes - Mitch's boss talking to him about Mitch's official s
Nov 06, 2012 Trevor rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I’ve had a very miss-and-miss relationship with recent novels and short stories that, claiming to be science fiction, venture into our future a few years to some kind of corporate dystopia. It’s not that I don’t take the threat seriously, but the refrain is so familiar and blunt. It doesn’t challenge our perspectives or incite us to action. It’s become a formula: plug in a few references to current companies merged into super giants, like AmExDisneyGoldman; show that people are oblivious to thei ...more
Sep 23, 2011 Chelsea rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011, sci-fi
The concept of this book was genius--the authors imagine a world in which advertisers control the world, and citizens are more loyal to their favorite brand names than their country. Mitch Courtenay works for one of the world's super advertising agencies, and he is put in charge of the newest ad campaign: selling the colonization of Venus. With Earth's current overcrowding problem, it shouldn't be too hard of a sell, but a million other factors seem to complicate Mitch's progress. There are the ...more
Ali Çetinbudaklar
Basıldığı yıl göze alındığında (1952), daha önceden de okurken yazdığım yorumun tam aksini söylemem gerekiyor.

- "Roman Ballard'ın Gökdelen(1975) ve Öteki dünya(2006) romanlarının dolaştığı yerlerde geziniyor gibi gözüküyor. Hafif de bir Dick havası var( A Scanner Darkly-1978)."-

Bu 2 yazarın romanlarında kullandığı birçok ögeleri yine bu romanda bulabiliyoruz. Ballard'ın Öteki dünya romanında olduğu gibi reklamcılık çok büyük önem arz etmekte. İnsanlar, bu illüzyonlarla hiç ulaşamayacakaları yal
Buck Ward
Written in 1952, The Space Merchants makes Frederik Pohl and C. M. Kornbluth seem prescient. Or maybe 1952 wasn't all that different from today. I've read comparisons of The Space Merchants to the TV show Mad Men, which I think is set in the 1960s. I really don't know, never having seen the TV show. In the book, marketing and advertising is all-important. Congressmen represent corporations rather than citizen constituents. The world is so crowded that a two-room apartment is high luxury. Ordinar ...more
Oct 30, 2015 Ümit rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sandığımdan çok daha sevdim, reklamcılık ve tüketim alışkanlıkları, şirketlerin hukuku hiçe saymaları, hiç fark etmiyor, hâlâ.

"B sınıfı iş sözleşmesinin mantığını kapmıştım. Ne yapıp etsen borçlanmaktan kurtulamıyordun. Kolaylıkla verilen krediler sistemin bir parçasıydı, insanı bu kredileri kullanmaya mecbur bırakan simsarlar da öyleydi. Her haftayı on dolar açıkla kapatırsam sözleşmemin bitiminde Chlorella'ya bin yüz dolar borçlu olacak ve borç silinene kadar da çalışmak zorunda kalacaktım. Ve
Incredibly fun and prescient satire of marketing and the commercialization of democracy. My only complaint is the brevity of the book, though Pohl and Kornbluth pack a lot into these 170 pages. I'm also not fully convinced by Mitch's "Consie" change of heart at the end of the novel. Far better would have been to jettison the "happy" ending for an exploration of the true heart of cynicism.
Ivan Milke
Dec 27, 2014 Ivan Milke rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
pomalo sam se odvikao od Space-Opera pa mi je ujednom trenutku bilo malo previse skakanja
po svetovima ali inace odlicna kritika ranog potosackog drustva sa raznih pozicija a uz to i SF roman

na nekim mestima sam osecao kao da citam nepoznata poglavlja moje omiljene knjige o tehnikama ubedjivanja u marketingu The Hidden Persuaders od Vance Packard-a
Aug 28, 2012 David rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Utterly brilliant. I adore this book. And I'm really happy I read this revised edition. I would strongly suggest that everyone ignore the earlier version. This is something every college student should read. It's as vital today as it was when it first appeared.
Apr 22, 2014 j rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014, mad-men
Great fun if "Mad Men in space" sounds like money to you. In the future, all women will revert to 1950s stereotypes, and all men will be Don Draper.
Jonathan-David Jackson
I had high expectations because of the quote on the cover - "Has many claims to being the best science fiction novel so far." Pretty high praise. What I didn't know is that the quote is about 60 years old, and quite a few science fiction novels have been written since then.

It's a good novel, in a dystopian world where everything is ultra-commercialized and capitalism has its tentacles all over your face. It's interesting and fairly exciting, but there isn't enough to draw me back in for the othe
Sep 13, 2015 Metaphorosis rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed, 2015-rev
4 stars - Metaphorosis Reviews

Advertising runs the world, and Mitch Courtney is a Star Class Copysmith. Sure, he faces trouble with his contract wife, who has Conservationist sympathies, and refuses to move in with him, but Mitch is a man on his way up. When he's assigned the task of selling hot, inhospitable Venus as a settlers' paradise, things start to go wrong, and he finds out just what it's like to be on the outside for once.

The Space Merchants is everything you could want in a satire of t
Jan 16, 2015 Filomena rated it it was amazing
Ultimamente, più leggo e più penso che davvero sia già stato scritto tutto e che ogni nuova idea, non è nuova per niente.

Questo romanzo è stato pubblicato nel 1953, ma sembra che Pohl e Kornbluth l’abbiano scritto ieri: è di un’attualità disarmante!

Ma ciò che più mi sconvolge è che, nonostante loro avessero già narrato cosa potesse accadere agli uomini in balia della pubblicità, proprio ieri leggevo che secondo una statistica, ognuno di noi è oggetto di circa 3.000 (TREMILA) messaggi pubblicitar
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Goodreads Librari...: New cover needs to be added 3 13 Mar 26, 2016 08:52AM  
Classic Science F...: * Jan-Feb 2014 Buddy Read: The Space Merchants 3 17 Jan 21, 2014 01:15PM  
Classic Science F...: When the future is now 1 11 Sep 09, 2013 04:38AM  
Sci-fi and Heroic...: The Space Merchants 18 55 Jul 26, 2013 01:11PM  
Sci-fi and Heroic...: July 2013 Classic Novel nominations 14 58 Jun 22, 2013 04:10AM  
  • The Complete Roderick
  • Non-Stop
  • Bring the Jubilee
  • Dark Benediction
  • Downward to the Earth
  • The Rediscovery of Man
  • A Case of Conscience (After Such Knowledge, #4)
  • Emphyrio
  • The Paradox Men
  • Mission of Gravity (Mesklin, #1)
  • The Centauri Device
  • Nova
  • Life During Wartime
  • Rogue Moon
  • Tau Zero
  • Limbo
  • A Mirror for Observers
  • The Voyage of the Space Beagle
Frederik George Pohl, Jr. was an American science fiction writer, editor & fan, with a career spanning over seventy years. From about 1959 until 1969, Pohl edited "Galaxy" magazine and its sister magazine "IF", winning the Hugo for "IF" three years in a row. His writing also won him three Hugos and multiple Nebula Awards. He became a Nebula Grand Master in 1993.
More about Frederik Pohl...

Other Books in the Series

The Space Merchants (2 books)
  • The Merchants' War (The Space Merchants, # 2)

Share This Book

“There are only so many people capable of putting together words that stir and move and sing. When it became possible to earn a very good living in advertising by exercising this capability, lyric poetry was left to untalented screwballs who had to shriek for attention and compete by eccentricity.” 3 likes
“Mi sentido de la iniciativa, la cualidad que me había llevado a ser lo que era, estaba agonizando poco a poco. Las dosis mínimas de alcaloides me paralizaban la voluntad, pero peor aún era esa sensación de impotencia y desesperanza. Pensaba ya que así era el mundo, que nunca cambiaría, que al fin y al cabo esto no era tan terrible, que uno siempre podía entrar en trance ante una hermosa pantalla o emborracharse con Gaseosa, o probar una de esas cápsulas verdes que pasaban de mano en mano con diversas consignas. Los muchachos esperarían con agrado el día de cobro.” 1 likes
More quotes…