Natalie's Reviews > The World Inside

The World Inside by Robert Silverberg
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Aug 24, 2010

liked it
bookshelves: genre-scifi
Read in August, 2010

** spoiler alert ** Ironically I read this book while on a backpacking trip. It's a fascinating glimpse into a future Earth - a world where people now live completely inside in 1000 story buildings and serve god (lower case because, as the book tells us, why would god care if it's capitalized or not?) by being blessworthy. That involves being a good citizen, avoiding interpersonal conflicts at all costs, and breeding like rabbits.

Each chapter of the book is about life in the Urban Monads (urbmon for short) told through a different characters eyes. Blessworthy citizens tell us that life in the urbmon is peachy and perfect. Even through their eyes, though, we catch glimpses of sinister goings-on, evidence that life in the urbmon is not as copacetic as the people themselves want to believe.

Chiefly, though, I came away from this book with the feeling that it was entirely about sex. Part of being a blessworthy person is being available to anyone who wants to have sex with you. Gay or straight, it all goes, but it's considered highly deviant to say no to a reasonable request and doing so could get you sent to the moral engineers or down the chute. "Nightwalking" happens every night and men wander the halls, browsing other apartments for a sex partner. There's nothing explicit, really, about the sex but holy crap I felt like sex was mentioned at least once a page. I'm not squicked out by the idea at all, it's intriguing, but even I was getting a little fed up with all the sex. Sex, social insight, sex, cosmos concert, drugged sex, sex, sex, personal insight while having sex, escape, almost raping someone because the idea that they might actually mean no doesn't even occur to you, sex, personal implosion. The end.

I did like this book, though. The look at what it might take for nearly 900,000 people to live in a building together, at what society would become, what people become was fascinating. Thank goodness it was short, though, because I don't think I could have taken much more sex.
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