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Search The Sky

3.49  ·  Rating details ·  342 ratings  ·  42 reviews
Deep in space in a universe gone mad.

Ross took on the field assignment for a lark. But the routine business trip catapulted him into a brain-blasting mission to a galaxy of alien worlds:
- A utopia ruled by ancients where youth was the greatest sin.
- A society dominated by savage Amazons where being male was the lowest crime.
- A coin-operated wasteland where the prime
Mass Market Paperback, 165 pages
Published January 1st 1977 by Bantam Books (first published January 1st 1954)
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Average rating 3.49  · 
Rating details
 ·  342 ratings  ·  42 reviews

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Jan 23, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Quite a decent piece of SF satire, set (roughly) in the same universe as The Marching Morons . I liked the planet with the gerontocracy. The hero gets to participate in an election: they wheel out the candidates, all of whom are over 100 and with tubes coming out of their noses. With great fanfare of trumpets, you get to hear exactly how old each one is. The hero is trying to make his mind up, when his native girlfriend tells him not to be silly. "They tell us their ages, and we vote for the ...more
Mar 29, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: softcover
Search the Sky

Based on their reputation for the quality of their collaborative work, and having read and loved “The Space Merchants” - and it being one of my all time favourite 50’s science fiction novels – preferring it, dare I say, to Bester’s “The Stars are my Destination” which was published the same year, I found “Search the Sky” an unfortunate disappointment.

Ross, a goods trader, fed up with his monotonous existence, is given the opportunity to leave the planet in search of the source of a
Philip Athans
Dec 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I was pleasantly surprised by this sci-fi nod to Gulliver’s Travels in which the authors gleefully blast holes in post-industrial capitalism, mutually assured destruction, the generation gap, the patriarchy, religious fanaticism, the post-singularity nanny state, and eugenics. Amazingly “woke” for 1954!
Jun 20, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Pohl and Kornbluth are two of the greatest SF social satirists ever, and had collaborated before to excellent effect (The Space Merchants), but this one just does not connect its punches.

There are fine elements in it, and a few very memorable vignettes, but the effect is more tiring than illuminating. I don't know how much of this had to do with the edition I read being a 1985 fix-up and expansion by co-author Pohl (Kornbluth having unforutnately died in his prime long before), or if it were
Yep, I've done it again and not finished another book. Search the Sky started well, and I had high hopes, but they didn't last long. I quickly came to dislike the main character, and the setting was depressing. Then in the second chapter the authors used about four strong blasphemies in a paragraph. This was offensive to me but I pressed on a little longer, not wanting to ditch another book. I'd been listening to the librivox audiobook, which while convenient, doesn't allow you to take a decent ...more
Dec 28, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sf
review of
Frederik Pohl & C. M. Kornbluth's Search the Sky
by tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE - December 28, 2011

Reading this is my idea of a good time. I was most reminded of Gulliver's Travels - a journey to various extraordinary societies, each an exaggeration for satire's sake. A businessman on "Halsey's Planet" notices that the society around him is decaying. He gets thrust into a faster-than-light travel adventure to other planets in other solar systems in search of symptoms of a similar
Lisa Nicholas
Jun 06, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
When I'm in the mood for science fiction, I don't usually go in for the humorous or parodic sort, but I must say I was really tickled by this novel. Set in the far future when Earth has lost track of its many colonies (and they with each other), an ordinary man gets drawn into a great adventure, in which he visits a variety of disparate planets and is set a puzzle to solve, for the sake of humankind.

As other readers have pointed out, the main portion of the story -- visiting other planets -- is
Feb 06, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: gone, sci-fi, philo
I had high hopes for this book, having read another by these authors, a satire about advertising gone wrong. This book follows in the same vein of satire, with travel to different darkened worlds, each gone awry with their own comic problems, which are exaggerations of problems or potential problems in our own culture (as seen through a 1950s lens, reimagined in 1985). There are vignettes that flow quite amusingly, but they're stitched a bit awkwardly together.

I agree with another reviewer, that
Apr 16, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Pohl and I don't jive. This one is too disjointed and heavy-handed to praise. Pretty much the cover art is the best part. (Love Richard Powers' art.) Otherwise, only for 1950s completists, I guess.
Brian Greiner
Mar 03, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An excellent example of SF exploring social ideas and trends. The authors were pretty good as individual writers, but as a team they were truly amazing. Good stuff.
Feb 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Part echoes of "Gulliver's Travels," part foreshadowing of "Idiocracy," this slim satirical novel is every bit as compelling as the authors' previous collaboration, "The Space Merchants." This is not high-brow stuff, and at times it can be a bit predictable. But that in no way detracts from its charms, which have aged well since this book was first published 65 years ago. At its core there is actually a thought-provoking premise surrounding the subject of genetic drift, but the authors keep ...more
Oct 30, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
extremely boring and anti climactic, you wait the whole book for something to happen.......really..and I love kornbluth.......this must have been most pohl......kornbluth is supposed ot have been co author.......I could write better easily.......Jack Vance and AE Van Vogt destory this ideas......not even a resolution as to the big question......and a bad democrat scifi idea that a homogenous poulatin is bad perhaps political in promoting the evil of free trade and ...more
Edward Fenner
Mar 11, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: die-hard fans of classic sci-fi
I was hoping for a grand old time but, unfortunately, this wasn't it. I quite enjoyed Pohl & Cornbluth collaborations in the past - particularly their epic satire The Space Merchants. I was hoping for more but was let down. If this was a classic satire, it is now less so and quite dated. The storytelling is not very smooth, either. It seems to jump around with gaps in action and logic that need some explanation. It does have a Gulliver's Travels kind of feel to it, it is obviously inspired ...more
Feb 07, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is real sci-fi and it carries a message. In a way, this story, published in 1954, can be considered "woke" being as the message is pro-diversity. I liked the pacing. The story sub-genre is a sort of travelogue in that the protaganist goes from planet-to-planet where he faces a different set of challenges. Dorothy Gale in the Wonderful World of Oz is the same. In one chapter, she and her companions face the Hammerheads (ouch!) or the Wheelers or the Flatheads. But Pohl and Cornbuth stiche ...more
Aurel Mihai
Improbable and a little too obviously allegorical, neither the fiction nor the philosophy behind it is particularly impressive and neither the writing style nor much of the content has aged particularly well into the 21st century. It's not a total loss. The parts that aren't painfully drawn out are somewhat entertaining and, despite being culturally anachronistic to a fault, a couple of the characters and situations strike curiously close to our current reality in a haphazard, unintentionally ...more
Jul 02, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Search The Sky was a re-read for me, but I hadn't read it for 20+ years so if was fairly fresh. Its a simple tale that in some ways reminded me of Gulliver's Travels in that an explorer visits different lands or in this case planets that have gone "off the air". Its entertaining, but suffers from the fact that science fiction style has move one and this one is left behind in the 1950s.

Worth a read to look back, but not a book I will read again anytime soon.
Stanley J. Scheffler
It was just ok for me. Of course it's a satire, but I was unsure if the writer actually expected it to be funny. I certainly never chuckled, let aone laughed out loud while reading it. Overall, I guess it made some good points. My interpretation of the ending and overall meaning was that diversity in necessary to a positive, successful culture. I believe that was forward thinking at the time of it's writing, so definitely it deserves credit for that.
Carole O'Brien
This is a firm favorite of mine, it was a bit slow at the start , but then all the best books are. This is a story about a planet were humanity has become stagnant and is dying, they send a man to the stars to see why other planets have not been responding to the traders call, this is a classic story , if your a Science Fiction reader , give it a try.
Fredrik Harneby
According to a text in the last page of the book this novel was well received when it came out in 1953, but it has not aged well.
It's a fun read but the concepts and the illogic.. it's just too stupid!
Dec 26, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Enjoyed, reminded me a bit of visiting the old spacer worlds.
Jul 21, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Really enjoyed this one. Reminded me a bit.
Oct 12, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
Another SF novel from my youth that isn't as good as I remembered it. Flat characters, bumpy plot, questionable gender roles. All the classic marks of 50's science fiction are there.

The plot idea is interesting. Mankind was able to settle the universe. But now, something's wrong. The interstellar ships can't get in touch with a growing number of settled planets. The task to find out what's happening falls to Ross, a merchant dissatisfied with the degenerating conditions on his planet where the
Martyn Lovell
This story mixes space opera with satire. The essential story pits a small band against a universal problem, and keeps the story compelling as they find a way to solve it.

The book is simply and clearly written and has a good mix of humour and sci fi.

Unfortunately, the book has quite a sexist tone - perhaps not surprising given how long ago it was written, but still jarring to a modern audience. In addition, some of the situations set up for satiricial purposes stretch credibility too far for my
Maybe a book of its time. Written back in the 1950's it takes a satirical look at the society of the 1950's and how it was not keeping pace with changes and so decaying, including looking at how society votes to discrimination. As to whether it translates into the 2000's is another question and that depends on your view of society and whether things have really changed or not, or whether the boogie man has just changed colour or form or creed. Overall it is a light weight book with characters ...more
Deserves 2.5 not 3.

Strange... Reads like a set of short stories, probably was...

Some particularly misogynistic bits, but on the whole either inoffensive or offensive to all...

Not sure about the genetics mentioned....
I'd really recommend this book for periods in which only half your brain is properly working. There were some really funny moments in there. I love outdated sience fiction!
Will Boncher
Good story overall, dragged in some places. Kinda dystopian.
Kenneth Flusche
Oct 27, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Not bad for 1954 SF!!!!!!
Jun 05, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Rampant sexism makes it a period piece, but it is funny, in a dark sort of way. Retrieved from
Nov 27, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
It started well but got rather bad. Unbelievable plot. Well it's satire, so why should you wish for a plausible plot? For a satire it was not witty enough.
I was glad when I was finished.
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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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