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Mockingbird [Hardcover]

Walter S. Tevis
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)

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Book Description

January 1980
Mockingbird is a powerful novel of a future world where humans are dying.  Those that survive spend their days in a narcotic bliss or choose a quick suicide rather than slow extinction. Humanity's salvation rests with an android who has no desire to live, and a man and a woman who must discover love, hope, and dreams of a world reborn.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Review

"A moral tale that has elements of Aldous Huxley's Brave New World, Superman, and Star Wars."--Los Angeles Times Book Review

"Set in a far future in which robots run a world with a small and declining human population, this novel could be considered an unofficial sequel to Fahrenheit 451, for its central event and symbol is the rediscovery of reading."--San Francisco Chronicle

"Because of its affirmation of such persistent human values as curiosity, courage, and compassion, along with its undeniable narrative power, Mockingbird will become one of those books that coming generations will periodically rediscover with wonder and delight."--The Washington Post

"I've read other novels extrapolating the dangers of computerization but Mockingbird stings me, the writer, the hardest. The notion, the possibility, that people might indeed lose the ability, and worse, the desire to read, is made acutely probable."--New York Times bestselling author ANNE MCCAFFREY

"Walter Tevis is science fiction's great neglected master, one of the definitive bridges between sf and literature.  For those who know his work only through the movies, the lucid prose and literary vision of Mockingbird and The Man Who Fell to Earth will come as a revelation."  
--AL SARRANTONIO,  Author of The Five Worlds saga --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Back Cover

"A moral tale that has elements of Aldous Huxley's Brave New World, Superman, and Star Wars."--Los Angeles Times Book Review

"Set in a far future in which robots run a world with a small and declining human population, this novel could be considered an unofficial sequel to Fahrenheit 451, for its central event and symbol is the rediscovery of reading."--San Francisco Chronicle

"Because of its affirmation of such persistent human values as curiosity, courage, and compassion, along with its undeniable narrative power, Mockingbird will become one of those books that coming generations will periodically rediscover with wonder and delight."--The Washington Post

"I've read other novels extrapolating the dangers of computerization but Mockingbird stings me, the writer, the hardest. The notion, the possibility, that people might indeed lose the ability, and worse, the desire to read, is made acutely probable."--New York Times bestselling author ANNE MCCAFFREY

"Walter Tevis is science fiction's great neglected master, one of the definitive bridges between sf and literature. For those who know his work only through the movies, the lucid prose and literary vision of Mockingbird and The Man Who Fell to Earth will come as a revelation."
--AL SARRANTONIO, Author of The Five Worlds saga --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Beyond Five Stars Feb. 8 2004
Format:Paperback
When I was younger, I read a lot of books, not the ones other kids would read, because I knew the super ones when I spotted them, and my friends were not reading super books. I eventually read less and less, and besides required reading for English classes, I didn't read much, because I couldn't seem to find a book that caught my interest. I'd read the first couple chapters of books that were just altogether uninteresting, and would shelve them. I bought Mockingbird on a whim, having liked Nicolas Roeg and David Bowie, two of my biggest idols, that were, incidentally, pitted together for "The Man Who Fell to Earth," a movie I like a lot, which was based off of Walter Tevis' book, The Man Who Fell to Earth. So I got Mockingbird in the mail, hoping it would be the book to set me back in reading gear, opening it from it's package with delight, and with a ready feeling to read. "In the far future, love is the only hope," read the inset, and this was a great love story. It was the book that I finally got stuck with and I couldn't stop reading it. I'd read it in the hallway during my Photo class when I didn't have any thing to do. I'd read it after a test. I'd read it on the couch while my family watched TV. It reminded me of Farenheit 451, but I found Mockingbird to be a far more picturesque dystopia, and it got me from the start because it didn't have to blossom the way F451 did. Comparing this to F451 also creates a chain, since Nicolas Roeg did photography for the movie version of F451, and as previously stated, directed the Man Who Fell to Earth by Walter Tevis, who wrote Mockingbird. The characters still get the Guy Montag effect, while the rest of the world is drugged and oblivious to every thing, keeping privacy. Read more ›
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5.0 out of 5 stars Mockingbird by Walter S. Tevis July 18 2003
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
If you ever know of anyone that has given up on reading, give them this one last book to read.
Another Tevis masterpiece. Written simply and exactly from the point of view of two of the three main characters and narratively from the third.
The adventure is terrific, the plot is solid and the twist, although it doesn't exactly come as a surprise, it puts the reader in the perspective of the drugged population for a moment who would not dare to imagine. Tevis accomplishes this easily by making everything else so perfect that the reader, while marvelling at what he is reading, is distracted from the direction it is taking him in.
There are many books you do not need to turn the page to know what is going to happen next, their plots loosely following a formula. Loosely enough that the content feels new, but enough that you don't feel that the author had anything of importance to say. This not one of those books. Tevis is not one of those authors. I was constantly surprised by the direction the story went in and barely anything that I was expecting to happen- happened.
But the best part of the book for me, was the way Tevis managed to describe the world through the words of Bentley. Bentley was a simple, lonely man struggling to understand a whole new world that had opened up to him. He writes like a child, yet not childishly. He is a man who is experiencing everything for the first time, teaching himself and expanding his horizons while he reads; his loneliness, breifly muted with his almost spiritual connection with dead authors and poets instigating feelings which he previously had no words to describe.
I get the feeling that the larger part of Bentley's character closely resembles Tevis' own, just as Bryce's did in Man Who Fell. Somehow they are always teachers.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Nearly Perfect Cautionary Future Tale May 31 2002
Format:Paperback
Since the earliest science fiction novels, the novel of a future gone bad, or "dystopian" novel, has become a staple of the genre.
One thing I like about science fiction is the use of present trends to extrapolate the shortcomings of our current directions.
In this way, science fiction "about the future" has never been really "about the future", but instead about the time we currently live in, enlivened by scientific or social speculation.
The key issue, though, is how to keep the ideas fresh and relevant, because so many of these novels have been written.
Mockingbird avoids the "oft told tale" pitfalls that can too easily beset this genre. Tevis accomplishes the task by
creating believable characters, biting satire, and a pacing that is both leisurely and consistently interesting.
We are in a time when humankind's pursuit of happiness has
been reduced to the pursuit of pleasure. Mechanical inventions have eliminated the need to read, to write or to work.
The zero hour work week is imminent.
Who happens to the soul when it is freed from the mind?
Tevis answers the question brilliantly. This book is
a solid, strong read--it's a linear text, with little
time wasted on metaphysical author's voice. It uses quiet (if piercing) satire liberally, but not to the distraction of the plot. Tevis shows us a future all too much like our present,
only the trains have stopped running on time. My only criticism is that we are shown all the "no exit" spots in this dysfunctional world, but too few of the ways of escape.
Highly recommended. Anyone who thought Tevis' Man Who Fell to Earth was a bit difficult to follow will find this one
a breeze and yet a very thought-provoking book.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic in the genre
This novel has been seared into my memory since the moment I picked it up and turned the first page. Tevis is a masterful storyteller. Read more
Published on July 25 2011 by Trevor Busch, Taber, AB
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book!
This is a great book. I'm currently a high school senior (as of Spring 2004). Most likely, I haven't completely read 7 novels since I was concieved; but this book has sparked a... Read more
Published on Feb. 3 2004 by Eric
4.0 out of 5 stars Re-read after a long time...
I sought this book out using Amazon's new "full-book" search feature. I had read it as a kid, but couldn't remember the title or the author. Read more
Published on Nov. 18 2003 by H. Coffill
5.0 out of 5 stars One of my favorite future novels
I think the other reviews explain and commend this book pretty thoroughly, I just wanted to add one more 5 star review. Read more
Published on Aug. 1 2003 by M. Rosen
5.0 out of 5 stars Walter's Masterpiece
If I had a classroom of students before me, no matter what the subject I was suppposed to be teaching, I would give them Mockingbird. Read more
Published on Feb. 15 2003 by Dorothy C. Resch
5.0 out of 5 stars A great story and very well told - a classic.
This is one of the first 'good' SciFi books I came across as a teenager. The quality of the story-telling and the 'mood' created by the characters and the setting were quite... Read more
Published on May 9 2000 by John
5.0 out of 5 stars The best novel of the last 50 years
I began using Mockingbird in my college classes when it first came out; and, even though it went out of print, I still used it, when I could find copies. Read more
Published on March 22 2000 by William Doxey
4.0 out of 5 stars Never a shortage of negative utopias, is there?
Upon the recommendation of one of my oldest friends, I borrowed "MB" from him and gave ti a whirl. Read more
Published on Jan. 17 2000
4.0 out of 5 stars a milestone
I read this excellent work when I myself had arrived at a crossroads in my life. I had just switched from a Military career to a Civilian one and was bewildered by the huge changes... Read more
Published on Nov. 22 1999
1.0 out of 5 stars good story told bad
Great idea Walter Tevis took no where. Rotten story telling.
Published on Nov. 1 1999
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