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Not This August

3.51  ·  Rating details ·  123 ratings  ·  23 reviews
The USA warred 3 years with the USSR & PRC. Males either farm or are drafted. Billy Justin, a 38-year-old commercial artist & Korea War veteran works as a dairy farmer in Chiunga Ctr, NY when he hears over the radio that Soviet & Chinese forces have overrun American lines. Over the next months, they consolidate their hold, dividing the US at the Mississippi, ...more
Paperback, a1492, 165 pages
Published August 1956 by Bantam Books (first published 1955)
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Average rating 3.51  · 
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Manuel Antão
Apr 02, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016
If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review.

Bleakest SF Author Writes Something not That Bleak: “Not This August” by Cyril M. Kornbluth, Fred Pohl Published 1981.


‘“Satagraha,” Mr. Sparhawk said absently. “Soul force. It works, you know. Most of the time, that is. Their tendency is to assume that one’s probably all right and that anyway it’s not business of theirs.’

What I wouldn’t have given to read this without Pohl’s hand at re-writing…

I just want to say this. Just because I
...more
Denis
Feb 24, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: softcover
When I had first gotten obsessively into reading and discovering scfi and its authors during the beginning of the new millennium, it took little time to get to, and appreciate Frederik Pohl. I had eagerly anticipated the last novels he wrote – one with A.C. Clarke, “The Last Theorem.” It was cool to still have a few golden age authors, such as, Pohl, Clarke and Jack Williamson - who were still hard at work at the time. When you get to know Pohl, it is inevitable not to also learn of Cyril ...more
prcardi
Storyline: 3/5
Characters: 3/5
Writing Style: 3/5
World: 3/5

There's nothing "pulp' or "golden" about Kornbluth's 1955 Not This August. This fits more with the grimmer, sociological turn in science fiction more prevalent in the 1960s(view spoiler). Considering that Kornbluth was friends with Asimov and Pohl, you would expect this to be more elaborate with the technology: space ships or ray guns, for example.
...more
Mark
Dec 08, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Imagine the unthinkable: in the Cold War of the 1960’s, the United States has surrendered to the joint forces of the USSR and China.

Though Cyril Kornbluth published few solo novels in his sadly short lifetime (he died aged a mere 34 in 1958) this is a surprisingly good, if a tad dated, novel.

I can only imagine the shock value that this book could’ve caused in its time of publication. Published a mere two years after the end of the Korean War, and as the Vietnam War was just beginning, this story
...more
Raegan Butcher
For a book that was originally published in 1955, NOT THIS AUGUST feels remarkably contemporary, despite the changes the world has gone thru in the years since the Soviet Union collapsed which make the central premise of the book that much more unlikely to ever occur.

The set up is this: after a long and bitter war, the Russians and Chinese have conquered and occupied the United States. Life is different under this new rule and the fascination of the novel is in watching how the various
...more
fromcouchtomoon
Highly readable, though sluggish toward the end, this isn't a satire for post-Cold War sensibilities, but Kornbluth was astute enough to envision US power changing hands with very little degree of change. War is the actual enemy of freedom, he seems to almost say, but what to make of that ending?
tENTATIVELY, cONVENIENCE
Nov 28, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sf
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Tom
Feb 18, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
It was okay in parts, but I guess its 1950's worldview was a little much, even for someone who revels in Red Dawn's chaos. Philip K. Dick must've read this, because "The Man In The High Castle" envisions Eurasian and Asian superpowers conquering and dividing the United States and does a much better job of it.
Francisco
Nov 05, 2019 rated it it was ok
More interesting as an artifact of McCarthyism's red scare than as a science fiction novel, Not This August is an alternate history novel where America is invaded by the USSR and China in 1965 leading to a Pol Pot-like carnival of horrors as well as a well intentioned resistance movement.

The book suffers from a lot of stereotypical, often xenophobic and straight-up racist portrayals of Russians and Chinese people, with our "heroes" frequently mocking the invaders in pretty despicable ways, it
...more
Matt Hartzell
Oct 16, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
Man, do I love a good tale about the ole' Russkies. In this short but interesting and intense read, Kornbluth weaves a tale about the defeat of the United States and the occupation of America by the Russians and the Chinese. The seemingly benevolent Russians slowly give way to their typical authoritarian institutions, and soon enough the main characters plot a conspiracy to retake the nation.

Not This August is a bit eerie, because 60 years after it was written, you could argue that perhaps
...more
Doug
Jul 30, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
More of an historical curiosity than a good book. I’d read some of Kornbluth’s short fiction in my early teens and read about what a promising career he likely had ahead of him had he not died in his early 30s.

Russia and China defeating the US and occupying our nation doesn’t sound like much of an original idea now. But given that it was written in 1950, it was a pretty fresh idea then. I wouldn’t be surprised if it was one of several influences and sources for Red Dawn.

Wooden characters,
...more
Cody
Dec 31, 2019 rated it did not like it
Not This August's scenario of the US being overrun by Chinese and Soviet forces makes for an amusing piece of early Cold War hysteria at first, but it quickly gets long in the tooth. The prose is utilitarian, as is to be expected from a sci-fi book of the early 50's, and the characters come off as one-dimensional cardboard cut-outs whose behavior is dictated solely to advance the plot. Other authors from this era like Clarke or Asimov weren't especially great at characterization but Kornbluth's ...more
Sean Guynes
Jun 18, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019
A fixture of my dissertation on sf in the wake of the Korean War, this book is like other Kornbluth novels a strange mixture of libertarian-ish politics, fast-paced action, and magnificently unlikely actions taken by characters on the drop of a hat. It might very well be the first novel scaremongering about a Russian/Chinese Communist invasion, and it is very much in the vein of yellow peril fiction tinged with a good deal of respect for the Soviets' organizational abilities, and some clear ...more
John
A 1956 Hugo Award finalist. The story of the surrender and occupation of the U.S. by Soviet and Chinese communist forces and resistance by american civilians. I wonder if this had any influence on the 1980's film Red Dawn, there were a lot of similarities.
Chuk
Jun 05, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Very old fashioned and pretty short. A fairly long hot war between the US and the USSR/China ends up with the US occupied, then they fight back. Moves along pretty quickly and I like Kornbluth's language, but I don't think I'd really recommend this to anyone.
Polwanderer
Great first half but not so good second part when it descends into cod-Rambo territory. However as it was written when the Cold War was barely beginning it can be excused that.
Aurelian
Nov 26, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The fears from the sixties are always true...
Chris
Sep 08, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
April 17, 1965. The United States and Canada have been at war with the Soviets and Chinese for three long years. Europe and Latin America have fallen to the Communist forces. America holds the Sino-Soviet forces at the El Paso line; Canada launches yet another offensive in the north. American society is a mockery of rationing and want—a radio news bulletin notes 784 traitors executed for treason, such as an 87-year-old grandmother who gave food to her grandson after his desertion, before ...more
Andy Phillips
Feb 05, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was first published in 1955 and shows its age a bit, but is still enjoyable (perhaps because of that).

The book opens with an invasion of the USA by communist forces from China and Russia already having taken place. It feels like the war has been going on for some time and all able bodies men are either fighting or farming to feed the troops. The main character is a dairy farmer in a small town who soon learns that the American forces have been defeated and his region occupied by the
...more
Erik Graff
Oct 07, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Kornbluth fans
Recommended to Erik by: no one
Shelves: sf
Dated, rather juvenile and unrealistic representation of a communist occupation of the USA. It may be of interest, however, to someone studying the Cold War and the paranoid ideas it engendered.
Matt
Jul 27, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
Fans of 1984, or people who enjoyed the premise of 1984 but want a bit of an easier read, take note.
Rodrigo Mora
rated it liked it
Sep 10, 2019
Gracey valladares
it makes my desk stop moveing every were so i guess its good.!
Paul Nevins
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Aug 28, 2014
zioRic
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Aug 08, 2017
Dan
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May 16, 2009
Brenda Kalt
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Jan 22, 2015
Rabo
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Dec 31, 2011
Brian Cox
rated it it was amazing
Apr 13, 2017
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Cyril M. Kornbluth was born and grew up in Inwood in New York City. As a teenager, he became a member of the Futurians, the influential group of science fiction fans and writers. While a member of the Futurians, he met and became friends with Isaac Asimov, Frederik Pohl, Donald A. Wollheim, Robert A. W. Lowndes, and his future wife Mary Byers. He also participated in the Fantasy Amateur Press ...more