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The Merchants' War

(The Space Merchants #2)

3.69  ·  Rating details ·  518 Ratings  ·  35 Reviews
The witty sequel to Frederik Pohl's & C. M. Kornbluth's legendary science fiction classic The Space Merchants, written 30 years later.

Great advertising agencies still dominate the world and control all governments and every aspect of human behavior. When a handful of renegades on Venus zealously opposes the so-called “benefits” of the hucksters’’ paradise, it seems ine
Mass Market Paperback, 296 pages
Published March 1st 1986 by St. Martin's Press (first published July 1st 1981)
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Tennison Tarb, el narrador, es un ejecutivo publicitario, en misión diplomática en Venus, planeta que rechaza las prácticas publicitarias desatadas de la Tierra. Pero le queda poco para volver a la Tierra de nuevo. Sin embargo, un incidente lo cambiará todo y su regreso se acelerará. Ya en la Tierra, asistiremos a una trama publicitaria que envolverá a Tarb en un descenso a los infiernos.

‘La guerra de los mercaderes’ es la continuación, treinta años después, del clásico ‘Mercaderes del espacio’,
Mark Hodder
Aug 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2016
THE SPACE MERCHANTS, by Pohl and Kornbluth, is an all time classic satirical SF novel. Thirty years after its publication, Pohl wrote this sequel and, wow, he really delivered. As excellent as the original novel is, THE MERCHANT’S WAR is better. The satire bites harder, the plot speeds along without once flagging, and the protagonist is engaging and, initially, wonderfully faulted. The story of his rise, fall, and rise is brilliantly told, and the commercial world in which it occurs is really we ...more
May 06, 2014 rated it it was amazing
better than the space merchants. characters were much better, satire more satirical. Plot not really predictable

you think its going to be a rehash of the old book, but it really goes in much different directions.

ending reminded me a bit of the diamond age.

still probably too short, but this book definitely achieved what it set out to do - a thoroughly enjoyable scifi satire in an ultra-capitalist universe.

RIP Frederik Pohl
Aug 07, 2011 rated it really liked it
A poor sequel to 'The Space Merchants.' The plot is almost identical -- an insider of the marketing/advertising governance comes to his senses with the help of a female love interest who turns out to work for the 'other' side. As a sequel, it's crap.

If, however, one looks at it as a rewrite, rather than a sequel, this novel is far more developed, nuanced, fleshed out, and, yes, interesting than the 'Merchants.' And, it could stand alone. If it *did* stand alone, this would be a five-star knock-o
Me costó un poco meterme en la historia. Desde el primer momento me pareció interesante la crítica al consumismo, sin embargo no acababa de engancharme. Analizándolo intentando ser objetiva, los elementos estaban ahí: conflicto tras conflicto, intrigas, acción. Quizás mi estado de ánimo era lo que me impedía disfrutarlo. La segunda mitad la disfruté más, me encanta el desenlace y la evolución de la personalidad del protagonista.

He visto que es continuación de otro, Mercaderes del espacio, pero s
Eloi Puig
Dec 26, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ressenya en català (2003):

Reseña en castellano (2003):
Oct 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, sci-fi, dystopia
Like all the best satire, Merchant's War stays close to the truth and explores how following a "greed is good" philosophy to its absurd extreme would look. At times, I was waiting for the Ferengi Rules of Acquisition to be brought out.
Ben Brackett
Writing style was definitely dated, I started losing interest in the middle but it got brought back for a strong end.
Scott Holstad
Jul 17, 2012 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this sequel to The Space Merchants, written decades earlier. Pohl's wit and satire are on full display through the entire novel. This is a futuristic world which is run by advertisers and advertising with protesters having migrated to Venus to escape. There are armies that "attack" aborigines to get them addicted to advertised products. It's pretty funny. Tennison Tarb is a senior ad exec stuck on Venus, but due to go home to an earth that's polluted and run over with billions o ...more
Jun 13, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: science_fiction, own
A fitting sequel to The Space Merchants, even if it was written almost thirty years later. I read some reviews that complained this was just a rehash of the first book, but while it's very similar thematically the plot takes enough of a different path to be worth reading to me. I still enjoyed Pohl's product names ("ReelMeet" and "Mokie Coke") and although I kept thinking the plot would go the same way from the previous book, it never really did. That may have been intentional; the effect is tha ...more
Karen the Comic Seller
What would the world be like if the advertising agencies took over - literally. If everything were an ad. If only two classes existed - those who worked for ad agencies - and consumers - whose only purpose was to buy, buy, buy - no matter what.
And what if a group decided they didn't want to live like that, and moved to Venus, where they outlawed any kind of advertising....
Ok, that's the "Space Merchants" written in 1953 by Frederick Pohl and C.M. Kornbluth left off...
And where Pohl picks up in
Tim Fiester
Oct 28, 2014 rated it really liked it
This book, for me, was sometimes brilliant, sometimes frustrating. Frustrating, because it was too similar to its predecessor, "The Space Merchants." Even more frustrating because too often (for my tastes) the real action seemed to be occurring off-stage, with our narrator oblivious to the happenings around him. *sigh* Another naïve protagonist who the other characters assign him a job to do to keep him busy while they become the real heroes doing the real work. Only the protagonist comes up wit ...more
Oct 02, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
This is Frederik Pohl's 1984 sequel to Pohl and Kornbluth's 1952 The Space Merchants. It is approximately one generation later, and while Mitch and Kathy had escaped Earth and established an anti-commercial society of Venus, the situation on Earth itself has not changed. This novel follows a new main character along a similar political journey, only now with the added complexity of "Veenie" agents operating on the Earth. There was still plenty of hyperbolic exaggeration to keep me amused. Still, ...more
Jimmy Slattery
May 24, 2009 rated it liked it
The Space Merchants is one of the great science fiction novels, and one of the greatest satirical works in any genre. Tall order to write a sequel to it, and without collaborator Cyril Kornbluth ...
Not surprising it took Fred Pohl three decades to tackle it. The result is ... fine. Not essential by any stretch but good fun, though missing Kornbluth's unique bile. Pohl is a legend in his own right and despite it's inevitable comparison to the classic that inspitred it, well-worth reading if you'v
Mar 07, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ciencia-ficcion
Segunda y última parte de la saga de los mercaderes de Pohl. Escrita 30 años después que la primera. La historia vuelve a explorar el mundo de la publicidad en un mundo de consumidores compulsivos. Mantiene esa distopía actualizando conceptos e ideas. Si bien la historia se adivina en ciertos momentos, no deja de sorprender a medida que avanza la novela.
La novela arregla parte de lo que quedó sin completar en la anterior entrega. Eso hace que no se pueda leer de forma independiente a aquella si
I didn't love it perhaps quite as much as its predecessor, but I read Space Merchants long ago enough, at an early enough age, that it has sunk into the nooks and crannies of my hidden brain, and so maybe I love it out of proportion. But this was very good, well worth reading, and it reinforces the same message quite well. I think it would be monotonous if read immediately after Space Merchants, but after several years, it was really enjoyable and a little bit inspiring.
Betty Cross
Jun 21, 2012 rated it really liked it
A worthy sequel (decades later) to The Space Merchants. In this one, the advertising-agency-dominated government of Earth engineers a war against the Venus colony, where there isn't any such hegemony by the image-makers. If you liked Space Merchants, you'll like this too.

It seems a bit lifeless compared to its predecessor, but that may be because co-author Cyril Kornbluth was long dead by the time it came out.
Dec 08, 2013 rated it liked it
Doesn't have quite the same flair, sting and freshness of the original, but all-in-all a solid book. For a long time in reading it, I felt like it was going to be a regurgitation of "The Space Merchants" as some of the plot devices and character relationships are quite similar. That said, the end is a nice twist, even if it felt a little contrived...
Aug 17, 2015 rated it really liked it
SciFi - A sequel to The Space Merchants, by Pohl and Cyril Kornbluth. Tenny Tarb works for one of the ad agencies that rules earth's economy while subjugating that of Venus. After falling out of favor and in love, he becomes part of a Venusian plot to wreck Earth's economy. He thinks Earth's policy is wrong but Venus' tactics don't have a chance - a no win situation.
Bruno Silva
Dec 29, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: sf
Um excelente final, mas um pouco fastidioso até chegar lá. Os publicitários q façam uma cuidada introspecção sobre os exageros q por vezes cometem. A lei do quem sobrevive é o mais forte nesta selva urbana continua a ser cada vez mais uma realidade, especialmente em tempos de crise económica severa
Feb 14, 2013 rated it liked it
I didn't like the book at all at first. I didn't like either the Veenies or the Hucksters. In fact, I wanted both to lose. But, Pohl is a good writer so I decided to keep reading. I was happy I did. The end had a very nice twist, despite parts of the ending straining belief.
Aug 31, 2010 rated it really liked it
A good read. The tempo slows at points, but a very engaging read. "The Space Merchants should be read first. This novel is a worthy sequel and conclusion.
Ed Mitchell
Frothy fun.
Pavel Dominguez
Aug 01, 2016 rated it did not like it
Disappointing sequel to a very witty book.
Fredrick Danysh
Jul 04, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
In a world dominated by advertising some people will stop at nothing to get money. The ad agencies control everything, including the government.
Oct 30, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: x2012-13-season
Written thirty years later but set in the same world as "The Space Merchants", this is not a direct sequel, and is more centered on an exploration of addiction than of advertising.
Matt Piechocinski
Sep 03, 2013 rated it really liked it
More satirical, yet equal as good as it's predecessor.
Stephen Simpson
Jun 10, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: own
Excellent sequel to The Space Merchants. Fairly typical in terms of Pohl works, at least insofar as a seriously flawed central character and ample plot twists. A quick read, but highly enjoyable.
Mar 04, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good old Pohl satire and quite the cliff-hanger. Don't expect much on the personality of the characters - the plotting is the vehicle.
Apr 13, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Brilliantly cynical satire on commercialism in general and advertising in particular. Absolutely superb
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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.

Other books in the series

The Space Merchants (2 books)
  • The Space Merchants (The Space Merchants, #1)