L.E. Fitzpatrick's Reviews > Make Room! Make Room!

Make Room! Make Room! by Harry Harrison
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's review
Dec 14, 2011

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Read in December, 2011

I was extremely enthusiastic when I came across this book: a story written in the 1960's about the over populated future of 1999. The book is set in New York 1999, or rather in a hell-like New York 1999 and Harry Harrison's predictions about the future are scarily accurate at times. There are charming moments when this book betrays the year it was written, there is no mention of telephones or computers or any of the modern technology that the 1980's cultivated and that had become a staple of the late twentieth century, but that doesn't detract from the interesting ideas that Harrison conveys in an otherwise accurate prediction.

What does detract from the futeristic social commentary is the plot running through the backdrop Harrison has created. The book advertises itself as a murder/crime thriller that happens to be set in this gloomy future. A rich man is murdered by a young Chinese thief, the rich man's girlfriend and the investigating cop have a fling and the suspense of the story comes solely from the reader's optimism that there is more to it than that. There isn't.

Halfway through this book odd stand alone chapters appear with hints of conspiracy and drama, none of which are followed through to the end of the story and really have no place in detracting from the scenery which unfortunately is the only endearing aspect to the book. The characters are non-descript, boringly flawed and infuriatingly set in their ways. Their places in the story purely serve to convey the strained future they live in and the desperation of their environment, but even their ability to do this is lacking and they become superflous to their own story.

Make Room Make Room is by no means awful, it is easy to read and well written, but the final chapter is likely to leave you cold and not unsettled as I believe Harrison intended.

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