THE SPACE MERCHANTS Mass Market Paperback – Sep 12 1976
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“A novel of the future that the present must inevitably rank as a classic.” ―The New York Times --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
About the Author
FREDERIK POHL's writing career spans over seventy years. He won the National Book Award in 1980 for his novel Jem. From about 1959 until 1969, Pohl edited Galaxy magazine and its sister magazine, If, winning the Hugo Award for it three years in a row. His writing also won him four Hugos and multiple Nebula Awards. He became a Nebula Grand Master in 1993. Pohl won the 2010 Hugo Award for Best Fan Writer, based on his writing on his blog, "The Way the Future Blogs."--This text refers to the Paperback edition. See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
There were few awards back in 1952 so it is not too surprising that "The Space Merchants" didn't win the first Hugo when measured against Bester's "The Demolished Man", but it is a little surprising that it wasn't considered for the International Fantasy award in 1952 when Kornbluth's much inferior "Takeoff" was one of the nominees, or in 1953 when "The Demolished Man" was considered and lost out to Sturgeon's "More Than Human". Perhaps it is the humorous premise on which the future society is based, and/or the light-hearted feel of the narrative which resulted in the work not gaining favor with those who select which works are worthy of consideration for awards. It was the fans who first recognized the book with the Astounding/Analog polls of 1956 where it tied for 22nd on the list of books, and in 1966 where ten years later it still finished 22nd on the list of books, and in 1975 when the Locus poll where it was tied for 24th for all-time novel. That is a pretty impressive feat to finish in roughly the same spot in polls taken over a twenty year period.
The story is told from the point of view of Mitch Courtenay, an employee in the Fowler Schocken advertising agency and a star-class copysmith. Mitch receives a promotion to take on the job of selling Venus to people, an account which Schocken has stolen from his rival Taunton.Read more ›
Although the political aspects of the novel are important, don't forget that really, the Space Merchants is a humorous book in addition to being a work of science fiction. It's just brisling with irony, and because of this, it is a fun read as Mitch takes a darkly comedic ride from the very top to the very bottom and tries to get back on top again. In conclusion, buy this novel, even in this lousy edition, and then repurchase it in hardcover. It's worth the effort.
The story involves a top ad man who finds his task of developing a campaign for the colonisation of Venus dramatically undermined by dark forces. In this complex stew of industrial espionage are competing ad companies and the underground conservationist guerillas. The mystery moves along at a good clip although it sputters a bit towards the end.
Overall this book touches some deep issues along the lines of Aldous ('Brave New World') Huxley, and has a satiric (and weird) feel like the works of Philip K. ('Ubik') Dick. Certainly a minor classic in its own right.
THE SPACE MERCHANTS is remarkable for the way it combines advertising, corporate culture (especially relevant today with the Enron and Worldcom scandals), and reflections on ways it might be possible to exploit the solar system economically in the future. Like the best of Sci-fi, it presents a plausible vision of the future that seems equally to life today, while also managing a great plot. The ending (which, of course, I cannot describe without giving too much away) is one of my favorites in all of Sci-fi. The book feels like it was written much more recently than 1952.
Definitely worth seeking out.
Most recent customer reviews
Short and to the point in the story, (no 600 pages monster to read) shows very little ageing. A greate read.Published on Feb. 19 2004 by Amazon Customer
Written over 50 years ago, this book anticipated much of what is wrong in the world we now live in -including corporate imperialism, environmental degradation and the villification... Read morePublished on March 1 2003 by Joseph Davis
Written 50 years ago, you might expect this book, set in "the future", to be hopelessly trite and dated, but it holds up remarkably well. Read morePublished on Jan. 16 2003 by DataDame
This book should be required reading for everyone. The prescience of the book (written in the early 1950s) is simply incredible. Read morePublished on Jan. 7 2002 by Silverwoodchuck47
I had to read this for Dr. Frost's SciFi class. In the beginning I had my doubts. I don't think I actually finished it in time for the test. Read morePublished on Sept. 25 2001 by Ashley Wynn
I bought this book but put it aside for a couple of years until finding it again. I decided to read it. Boy was I in for a surprise! Read morePublished on May 14 2000 by B. Tindall
When you put together a list of possible best novels ever written in the SF field, this novel has to make the short list. Read morePublished on Nov. 21 1998 by David N. Reiss
I think if I hadn't read John Clute's SF Encyclopedia, I would have missed out on this amazingly entertaining novel. Read morePublished on Aug. 5 1998 by A TMBG fan (firstname.lastname@example.org)