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John Brunner
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message 1: by Simon (new)

Simon Hedge | 11 comments John Brunner was born in Oxfordshire in 1934. He had written his first published story by the time he was 15. ("Thou Good And Faithful", collected in Now Then) and his first novel by the time he was 17 (Galactic Storm).
His stature is built upon what I consider four masterpieces of science fiction. Books that deserve to be read by anyone who is a student of the genre. The Shockwave Rider is Brunner's reworking of the ideas contained in Future Shock. Brunner's take is much more readable and exciting. It deals with hacking, computer viruses and other prescient stuff. The Sheep Look Up is a dark look at over-population. The Jagged Orbit is a shocking story about racial tension brought about by people who profit from it. And my favourite... Stand on Zanzibar. I read this when I was eighteen, and it just blew my mind. As soon as I finished the last page I turned back to the first and read it again. Everything about it spoke to me, from the 'cut-and-paste' writing style, the huge cast of characters, the action, the ideas... I nearly went mucker!
Many of his 'lesser' works will reward your attention. There are too many to list, but for example, Into the Slave Nebula is a good, pacy thriller. The Dramaturges of Yan is full of invention and spectacle. The Squares Of The City has every move by the characters based upon some famous chess match, which is unusual!
The one Brunner I really didn't like is Children of the Thunder, which was unpleasantly creepy.
So, who else has any thoughts on John Brunner?


message 2: by mark, personal space invader (new)

mark monday (happy-end-of-the-world) | 1274 comments Mod
you pretty much described my own reaction to Stand on Zanzibar. loved it, it blew me away, and after finishing it, i just went back and read it again immediately. the style and the themes truly excited my mind in a way that few books had before it. one of my favorite novels. it is unfortunately the only Brunner i've ever read. i own Shockwave Rider but have never gotten around to reading it.


message 3: by Peter (new)

Peter (wire-154) | 23 comments What I admire about John Brunner is his optimism. One of his books , Born Under Mars, uses diplomacy to solve problems instead of an impressive battle scene. He does it so subtly, that you don't notice that a lot of the action is in conversation rather than in some kind of bleak violent outburst. Don't get me wrong, there's still plenty of action , but it's usually not the sole focus.


message 4: by Traci (new)

Traci Wow. I have Stand on Zanzibar waiting to read...might get bumped up.


message 5: by Simon (new)

Simon (friedegg) "Stand on Zanzibar" is apparently highly regarded by many but personally I didn't like it at all and just gave my copy away to a charity shop.

I will try some of his other works at some point though, I have "Jagged Orbit" on my shelf...


message 6: by Banner (new)

Banner | 138 comments Too bad Simon, it's an upcoming read i'm looking forward to trying it.


message 7: by David (new)

David Merrill | 66 comments I loved Stand On Zanzibar too. It didn't get me reading it again immediately, though I think I did have the urge to do so. I think that comes from how unique it's structure is and you know there isn't anything else like it. Nothing else will satisfy in the same way. IVe only read a few other Brunner books, but I own a lot of them.


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