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3.69  ·  Rating details ·  7,118 ratings  ·  153 reviews
Stark is a secret consortium with more money than God, and the social conscience of a dog on a croquet lawn. What's more, it knows the Earth is dying.

Deep in Western Australia where the Aboriginals used to milk the trees, a planet-sized plot is taking shape. Some green freaks pick up the scent: a pommie poseur; a brain-fried Vietnam vet; Aboriginals who have lost their lan
Paperback, 496 pages
Published January 2nd 2006 by Black Swan (first published 1989)
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Average rating 3.69  · 
Rating details
 ·  7,118 ratings  ·  153 reviews

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Jan 08, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ha-ha-humour
A climate change conspiracy thriller comedy... I kid you not. As ever Elton creates very linear characters almost all speaking with the same voice. An eclectic group of ecowarriors combating some of the world's most powerful men is quite enjoyable overall, and by the end, you care for each and everyone of them... especially the camel... yes I said the camel (and it's not a nickname)

Ben has an unerring ability to, despite often weak characterisations and even worse dialogue.. he has an ability to
Chris Leib
Oct 19, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Though it took me twenty years to discover that Ben Elton wrote books (I knew of him through TV's The Young Ones, Blackadder, and The Thin Blue Line), I've always loved his acerbic wit aimed at the stupidity and indifference of people. His stand-up and television sitcom scripts have always been on my desert island favourites, so imagine my joy at discovering that he's had an equally successful career in writing narratives for the last two decades.

It's scary knowing that when this book came out i
Mark Speed
Aug 31, 2014 rated it did not like it
So dreadfully badly written that it's almost funny in that respect. It's written in this bizarre hyper-tabloid speak, complete with paragraph headers.

Perhaps wrong of me to mention it in this context, but if you look at old episodes of Saturday Night Live you'll see that the laughter for Elton's rants was canned, and that the studio audience are unamused. I was given a copy of this by a friend when it first came out and had that same "WTF?" experience. Proof that the sharp-elbowed and talentless
NHC Gonzo Division
Sep 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
Even more relevant today than it was in ‘89. Ben Elton is a fantastic raconteur and a brilliantly humorous writer
John Hill
Jun 29, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, british
Can't believe that was written in 1989, by a then 30 year old Ben Elton. One of my favorite lines...'they had a sign saying 'Smart Dress' which would have allowed Hitler in but barred Jesus for having a beard and wearing a dress'. Dystopian, line by line funny, and at the same time, quite sobering.
Jul 10, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: my-fiction
Read on release. I recall thinking it was very humorous. I never read Ben Elton again.
Ellen McMahon
A climate crisis satire, originally published in 1989, that still feels eerily (and depressingly) prescient. I first read this when I was in high school, but felt drawn to it again in light of recent events surrounding the overwhelming fears associated with climate change. I'll probably always love Ben Elton's writing. It's sharp and funny and never heavy, despite the morbid themes. His characterisation is also wonderful; my favourites in this book being Zimmerman and Mrs Culboon. Given the date ...more
Jackie McCarthy
Mar 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: funny, favorites
Written some time ago when Global Warming was still the term for Climate Change, this is a hilarious and sometimes prophetic tale of the amoral men conspiring to bring the world to its knees (all in the name of lining their pockets with more cash than they could poke into a spaceship rapidly leaving our de-forested planet). I first read this in the latter years of highschool, and enjoyed it immensely; I re-read it last year but then left my copy at a bus stop with one chapter to go. So I can't r ...more
Nov 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
“It is strange but no matter how many millions of times in human history hindsight has revealed the most terminally appalling human errors , we still refuse to even attempt to develop foresight “
Brilliant book, enjoyed the warnings of what we are doing to our planet and consequences in Elton style.
K.A. Ashcomb
Jan 06, 2020 rated it liked it
Think economical and ecological conspiracy theories combined into a funny (ironic) book, only to end up understanding that okay this is not so conspiracy-like maybe a bit exaggerated account of reality, but we are getting there. That is the book, in a nutshell, have fun. Okay, you deserve more. This is a personal story of those who are trying to piece together what the heck is going on and then try to survive when shit hits the fan. It is full of economic and ecological jokes about the collapse ...more
Abraham Lewik
This book was constant activity, not in the sense of no brakes, rather, laugh per minute. No fun came from the endless exaggeration of the character or by the character. No tension wound by the Grand Scheme of the elitest fiends, nor unwound by the Joe Blough of oh-such low woe. I felt in need of a laughing parrot, that each effort towards inducement of percussive breathing be answered. I prefer that cringe thriller of his, Past Mortem. Mister T. Holt is the recent Absurdist delight. So I quit.
Sep 01, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: scifi-dystopian
Funny in parts, but overall I just didn't get the point of this book. It was quick to read though.
Lachlan Smith
Oct 24, 2012 rated it really liked it
This is a brilliant first novel for well-known comedian Ben Elton, that deals with a topic as relevant now as it was then, in 1989. It deals heavily with the issue of pollution and the environment, however the theme cannot be said to be subtle or underlying. It is the main focus of the book, and everything revolves around the subject. But Elton is also capable of making intelligent, funny, acute comments on everyday things that I had not thought of before.
Despite the enthralling story, the only
Kit Kimberly
Feb 25, 2017 rated it liked it
Love the ideas-- most have which actually come true-- and the premise, which is in no way unimaginable, especially at the current juncture.

I do find Elton's style irritating and overly clever. For a book to really grab me, the author has to love her/his characters (they don't have to be lovable, but their creator has to love them). Elton's voice comes across as so cynical, there's no real love or empathy.

That can work for a bit, but there has to be some underlying affection.

Otherwise, though, as
Chirag Patel
Feb 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
In the 90s, Ben Elton was great. Full of piss and vinegar, writing about causes that mattered to him and with a gift for the absurd, he was an active part of a powerful comedy scene.

Then Tony Blair became Prime Minister, and Elton bought into the New Labour vibe; I think the betrayal he felt when Blair turned out to be a smarmier Thatcher broke him, as his act and work never returned to the heights he'd reached in his early work.

Anyway. Stark. I say the above because this book, for me, is every
Aug 05, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
the themes of climate change and a dying planet seem very relevant for our modern times, which is surprising because this was written long before the true effects of greenhouse and 'An Inconvenient Truth' and other scary facts became well known. the book is full of the usual and expected ben elton wit and style, but at almost 500 pages is a bit long in places. i enjoy his short punchy chapters and sub-chapters style, it makes his books a quicker and easier read and, more often then not, pageturn ...more
Katharine (Ventureadlaxre)
The only bad thing I can say about this book is that it reads like a script, is a little annoying.

Other than that, it's pure Elton. It's good ^^
Toni Carroll
Nov 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: comedy, satire
I wrote the following review a decade ago, for my blog at the time. The novel was written two decades before that. Having just re-read the review to post here, I can't believe that we have arrived where we have in terms of climate change. And on a day when Sydney is experiencing what is becoming known as 'an extreme weather event'. How can we not have moved forward in 30 years? I despair for the human race. Although I wrote the last six words in the review below, and I did nothing but try to rec ...more
Peter Brooks
Apr 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
I have been enjoying reading Ben Elton. I think it is the unfussy style, and the amusing characterisation mainly.

This book is very much of its time, 1989. Since it is so much so, it is an acute reminder of how much was going to change, so quickly.

The Soviet Union is still assumed to be a monolith that will last forever. Most people don’t have portable telephones, hardly anybody has access to the Internet, and the World Wide Web is still far in the future. Climate change has yet to become a poli
Jonathan Jasinski
Feb 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Simon Millman
Jul 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The first fiction book written by Ben Elton, first published in 1989. As a socialist, now in his mid forties, I loved Elton as a stand up comedian, especially his rants/comedy about the Thatcher government.

This is a story relevant more now than it was in the eighties, a consortium of the super rich, with more money than god, and the social conscience of a dog on a croquet lawn, come up with a solution to the greenhouse effect (now, obviously know as climate change). It has the wit and sarcasm y
Jan 02, 2019 rated it liked it

Ben Elton never fails to take a contemporary topic, this time, climate change, pollution, corporate greed and manages to create a superb novel.

Stark is a secret consortium with more money than God, and the social conscience of a dog on a croquet lawn. What's more, it knows the Earth is dying.

Deep in Western Australia where the Aboriginals used to milk the trees, a planet-sized plot is taking shape. Some green freaks pick up the scent: a pommie poseur; a brain-fried Vietnam vet; Aboriginals who h
D.A. Fellows
Jun 18, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Almustafa Couch
May 16, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A good funny read, or should I say reread. It also represented quite a good evaluation of the activist movements and the characters within that movement, the book also contains (if one looks through the comedy, which is at times not difficult) an important message about priorities, more specifically about whether we value (as a society) profits more than people.
Kathy S
Jul 01, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
Could hear the words coming out of Ben Elton’s mouth. Farcical story set in the WA desert about global warming and pollution. The underlying message is very sobering though. We are all guilty of destroying earth. Didn’t realise it was his first novel. A sign of things to come. His books get better.
Rachel Hutton macdonald
I loved this when I first read it 30 years ago, but it has not aged well. That said it is remarkable how 30 years later we are still not really dealing with the challenges of the environment and the mess that humans have wrought on the planet. It's underlying message - if we don't chamge our behaviour we will destroy our home is even truer today than it was then.
Mark Deacon
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 09, 2020 rated it it was ok
The environmental message in this, particularly for its time, is important, and the scenario presented is quite believable. The concept of this reality is terrifying. I don't think the book achieves its potential, and it feels the ending is labored and unsatisfying. Despite the zany characters and humour, I think this must have been a very difficult and depressing book to write.
James Rushbrooke
Apr 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This was the first Ben Elton book that I read and the one that has stayed with me the longest. The plot is somewhat absurd, the characters a little facile. I have enjoyed Elton's work less and less as I've got older so I'm loathe to read this again, just in case it doesn't live up to the wonderful golden memory I have of reading it whilst still an impressionable young teen.
Marius Ra
Oct 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
I was quite fascinated to find something satirical and Mikhail Bulgakov 'master and margarita' alike book. Witty and funny the book got me laughing numerous times and that made the book a great option to unwind in the evening.
However, I was disappointed with the books ending. It was a good build up but somehowi found the scene finale to be too blunt for me.
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Ben Elton was born on 3 May 1959, in Catford, South London. The youngest of four, he went to Godalming Grammar school, joined amateur dramatic societies and wrote his first play at 15. He wanted to be a stagehand at the local theatre, but instead did A-Level Theatre Studies and studied drama at Manchester University in 1977.

His career as both performer and writer encompasses some of the most memo

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