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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.

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic in the genre July 25 2011
Format:Paperback
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. At the time I read it in the early 00's, I had been taking a summer class to make up some credits for my history degree, and thought taking a "dystopian fiction" English class sounded interesting. Turns out I wasn't disappointed. There were a few other gems I read that summer, and I've been in love with the genre ever since. But Mockingbird really sticks with me.

Many of the scenes I recall from the novel are so vivid...but it is the more disturbing messages that Tevis was trying to convey through this masterpiece that really cut me to the bone. Robert Spofforth, the human/android that is all too human, who desires the world to die so that he might die, is one of the more fascinating (and disturbing) characters I've ever encountered in fiction. I've always found myself sympathizing with Spofforth even though he is a repugnant abomination, not quite human, not quite machine,but something in between, whose deep melancholy (and latent anger against the humanity which created him) is somehow touching, but chilling, all at the same time.

A magnificent novel that everyone should take up without delay. You won't be disappointed. Tevis' grasp of language and his central message about the value of human emotion in the face of technological error and decay has lost none of its potency today.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Beyond Five Stars Feb. 9 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 Great book! Feb. 3 2004
By Eric
Format:Paperback
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 new interest in literature within me. It brings up a lot of issues that were and are relevant in society. Anyone who likes Sci-Fi must read this book! I highly recommend this read!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Re-read after a long time... Nov. 18 2003
Format:Paperback
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.
It was great reading it again. I appreciated Tevis' way with storytelling and the fact that he didn't waste time with too much scientific explanation.
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5.0 out of 5 stars One of my favorite future novels Aug. 1 2003
Format:Paperback
I think the other reviews explain and commend this book pretty thoroughly, I just wanted to add one more 5 star review. If you're still sitting on the fence when you're reading this, get off! And buy this book! It was unavailable for many years, buy it while you still can!
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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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Most recent customer reviews
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 Nearly Perfect Cautionary Future Tale
Since the earliest science fiction novels, the novel of a future gone bad, or "dystopian" novel, has become a staple of the genre. Read more
Published on May 31 2002 by Robert H. Nunnally Jr.
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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