Ted Rabinowitz's Reviews > Stand on Zanzibar

Stand on Zanzibar by John Brunner
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Jul 18, 12

One of the great, sprawling dystopias of the 1960s. Brunner's central concern in this book was the effect of overpopulation on the world's limited space and resources. Some details of his world are very much of the '60s, like the attitudes toward race and drugs, or the belief in the power of seers/gurus/professional humanists like the fictional Chad C. Mulligan. Other elements, however, ring eerily true, like the role of advanced genetic science, and the consumerization of violence.

Brunner also adopted the fractured, collage-text style of John Dos Passos' "USA Trilogy," building out his world with dozens of different viewpoints, characters, and text sources, from the story lines of two main protagonists, to those of maybe half a dozen lesser characters, to bits and pieces of TV scripts, newspaper headlines, advertisements, instructional manuals, and other texts. It creates a rich, fractured, kinetic style that is beautifully effective at conveying the sense of a world moving quickly toward the edge.
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