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Midas World

3.46  ·  Rating details ·  151 ratings  ·  14 reviews
An energy revolution produces a society of overwhelming plenty, where so many goods are produced that for most people life is a constant struggle to consume, consume, consume. In this world, the "rich" are those whose quotas are low; while the "poor" live in vast mansions and have to eat endless gourmet meals. ...more
Hardcover, 192 pages
Published October 1983 by Gollancz (first published 1983)
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Average rating 3.46  · 
Rating details
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Joseph
Apr 02, 2012 rated it did not like it
I guess this was supposed to be a story about consumption or consumerism or something, but it turned out to be a story of what happens with virtually unlimited energy and really, really bad management. Apparently once everyone in the world has ready access to more than they could ever want, that is still not enough. Someone in this world seems to think that production itself, and not quality of life or access to goods, is the real measure of economic success, so production must continue, until c ...more
Erik
Nov 23, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Some interesting ideas executed in a comical way. In fact, its impossible for the reader to appreciate this book if serious in tone. However its shows its roots as a collection of short stories that were only loosely related.

Pohl loves his satire and its in full effect- here he goes for excess consumerism, white flight / economic segregation, hedonism, ecology parables.

However the satire sometimes overrides the setting - things just dont seem to make sense, even given the absurdities in the sto
...more
A.R. Yngve
Apr 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
Frederik Pohl is one of my major literary influences – I started reading his satirical SF stories when i was a kid.

MIDAS WORLD is a collection of stories set on an imaginary future Earth where the energy problem has been solved, and intelligent robots can take care of all our needs... that is, all our needs except being happy.

My favorite story in the book is ”The Midas Plague,” in which accelerated material wealth has turned the idea of ”poverty” and ”riches” upside down. The poor are forced to
...more
Steve
Aug 15, 2010 rated it liked it
Midas World is a collection of short-stories by Frederick Pohl. None of these short stories have glaring flaws really, but at the same time I was never really pulled in, with one exception.

In Midas World Amalfi Amadeus discovers a way to bring extremely cheap (basically free) energy to our society by using nuclear fusion. There is a big catch - because energy is so cheap the world is forced into mass-consumption. Each person is rationed to consume many goods, everything from plays to sleeping p
...more
Tom Groff
Aug 07, 2011 rated it it was ok
This book was merely ok. The premise of what would the world look like, given a source of limitless free energy, is a very interesting one. Unfortunately Pohl's extrapolations seem very unlikely and not well thought out. This would be ok, if the book was at least consistently entertaining, but some of the sections were a drag to get through, where neither the characters nor the events of the plot were particularly compelling.
It seems like it wanted to be a story of ideas, but when the ideas fell
...more
Jeff
Jan 25, 2013 rated it liked it
An older book (1983)with short stories built around a central theme of unlimited energy. Some of it seems naive. Specifically about how masses of people will react to unlimited energy at their disposal. Pohl's take is that it will turn the haves and have-nots upside down, making it more desirable to be a have-not. The book shows people abusing this power, but assumes there is plenty of space for everyone without any of the abuse directed toward other people. Overall, it was interesting, but it w ...more
Pete
Aug 02, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I couldn't remember why I wanted to read this book until I got to part 5.

Things I learned from this book:

1) The League of Women Voters will still be hosting debates when robots run for Congress.
2) Robots who are programmed to be muggers will assault students at Illinois Institute of Technology and use their ill-gotten gains to buy McDonald's hamburgers.
3) Hunting Von Neumann machines can be fun.

Interesting book, but I can see why it's kept in the stacks.
...more
Pingupappa
Dec 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Is it credible? Not really. Is the language like a balm to the mind. No.
But some of the core ideas of this book has come back to me so many times the last twenty years that I have to say that it has been a fantastic read! I love the way Pohl helped me envision life with endless resources, bored robots, expert house AI:s, von Neumann machines. My life is richer after reading this book.
Jason
Jan 01, 2011 rated it liked it
Pohl's writing is intriguing as ever, but the premise of this short story collection is not based in an understanding of economics. Expect to set aside real-world knowledge in order to play some far-fetched "what if" mind games. Pohl does have some neat ideas about what happens when the rate of technological change outpaces the rate of social adaptation. ...more
Mike
Jul 28, 2013 rated it really liked it
Great speculative fiction -- Pohl takes a simple idea (energy so cheap it's basically free) and runs with it. And runs with it. And runs with it. Some of it borders on ridiculous, but most of it is funny and/or thoughtful. The story about people having consumption rations has some hilarious surprises. ...more
Sean
Apr 14, 2010 rated it it was ok
Why did I pick up this book? I hate Frederik Pohl. Still, it's okay. ...more
Will Boncher
May 28, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Trippy idea, fun story. Wasn't a fun of the abrupt ending though. ...more
John Simon
Mar 11, 2008 rated it really liked it
Dystopian view of the future where having everything you could want means you are poor.
Angie
Damned decent sci-fi, although it may have been better as a short story, which explains why the first few chapters are stronger.
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Frederik George Pohl, Jr. was an American science fiction writer, editor and 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.

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