Ted Rabinowitz's Reviews > Stand on Zanzibar

Stand on Zanzibar by John Brunner
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's review
Jul 18, 2012

it was amazing

One of the great, sprawling dystopias of the 1960s. Brunner's central concern in this book was the effect of overpopulation on the world's limited space and resources. Some details of his world are very much of the '60s, like the attitudes toward race and drugs, or the belief in the power of seers/gurus/professional humanists like the fictional Chad C. Mulligan. Other elements, however, ring eerily true, like the role of advanced genetic science, and the consumerization of violence.

Brunner also adopted the fractured, collage-text style of John Dos Passos' "USA Trilogy," building out his world with dozens of different viewpoints, characters, and text sources, from the story lines of two main protagonists, to those of maybe half a dozen lesser characters, to bits and pieces of TV scripts, newspaper headlines, advertisements, instructional manuals, and other texts. It creates a rich, fractured, kinetic style that is beautifully effective at conveying the sense of a world moving quickly toward the edge.
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07/30 marked as: read

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William Stand on Zanzibar and The Sheep Look Up were two of my favourite books at university, and the covers even appear in my Master's Thesis.

Brunner wrote a few truly awful sci-fi books, and then "something happened" and he wrote these two masterpieces. Truly Awesome books!

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