Read Stand on Zanzibar by John Brunner Online


A Hugo-award-winning novel of over-population, political struggles, and warped ethics. "A quite marvelous projection in which John Brunner landscapes a future that seems the natural foster child of the present...Everything compounds into a fractured tomorrow--from the population explosion to Marshall McLuhan to the Territorial Imperative to the underground press..."--KirkuA Hugo-award-winning novel of over-population, political struggles, and warped ethics. "A quite marvelous projection in which John Brunner landscapes a future that seems the natural foster child of the present...Everything compounds into a fractured tomorrow--from the population explosion to Marshall McLuhan to the Territorial Imperative to the underground press..."--Kirkus Reviews...

Title : Stand on Zanzibar
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780345312129
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 650 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Stand on Zanzibar Reviews

  • mark monday
    2019-01-01 19:03

    :: Stand on Zanzibar is one of my favorite novels ::a) Stand on Zanzibar is about overpopulation. if the entire world's population were to stand on Zanzibar, it would sink.b) Stand on Zanzibar is about information. how is it processed? what does it really mean?c) Stand on Zanzibar is about the evils and cupidity of corporatization. it is about how a corporation may be able to do a good thing, despite itself.d) Stand on Zanzibar is about the evils and stupidity of the State. it provides many examples.SCANALYZE: "brown-nose" is a casually derogatory term for blacks.CAST INCLUDES: Norman House is a muslim african-american and a ruthlessly ambitious rising star in General Technics. in the early part of the novel, he acts quickly and sprays an amok terrorist's hand with liquid helium, causing it to freeze and then break off. later in the novel, he is given de facto control of the african country of Beninia, which is being taken over by his company.:: this book made me angry at times ::LOCATIONS INCLUDE: Beninia has somehow remained a neutral refuge throughout its history. it has resisted slavers, colonial forces, mass waves of immigrants, and many other external influences. its people are malnourished, poorly housed, and only marginally educated. there has not been a murder in Benina in over 15 years. its residents do not have a phrase to explicitly describe "losing your temper". instead they use a phrase that means "went temporarily insane". once, several years ago, in a different village, a boy saw a man "lose his temper" while arguing with his wife. everyone laughed at the man's outlandish behavior. so silly and so strange!:: i lose my temper. it is one of my flaws. i say terrible things sometimes ::PROFILE OF NOVEL: Stand on Zanzibar was written by John Brunner in 1968. it is a New Wave science fiction novel about a future dystopia. it won the Hugo Award in 1969. it won my heart and mind in 1990. i just reread it.PROFILE OF AUTHOR: John Brunner has written over 50 books. this novel was inspired by the cut-up technique of John Dos Passos' U.S.A. Trilogy. i was occasionally reminded of William S. Burroughs and Kathy Acker. and Robert Silverberg. and William Gibson. and the way my own mind processes information.PROFILE OF NOVEL: according to my best friend wikipedia, "Stand on Zanzibar was innovative within the science fiction genre for mixing narrative with entire chapters dedicated to providing background information and worldbuilding, to create a sprawling narrative that presents a complex and multi-faceted view of the story's future world. Such information-rich chapters were often constructed from many short paragraphs, sentences, or fragments thereof — pulled from sources such as slogans, snatches of conversation, advertising text, songs, extracts from newspapers and books, and other cultural detritus. The result is reminiscent of the concept of information overload."SCANALYZE: "eptification" is a process in which the government can turn an ordinary man into a trained assassin.CAST INCLUDES: Donald Hogan is a white american and a synthesist - a rather dilettante-ish position paid for by the government, in which the practitioner studies patterns in the mass flow of information. in the early part of the novel, his unwitting presence in a non-white ghetto inadvertedly causes a riot in which hundreds are hurt and a helicopter pilot is beaten to death. later in the novel, he is turned into a spy and sent to the angry country of Yatakang.:: at times this book made me irritated and frustrated ::LOCATIONS INCLUDE: Yatakang is a military dictatorship along the lines of modern-day Pakistan. it was once a part of the Philippines, which is now called Isola. Yatakang hates the U.S. and is on the verge of U.S.-sponsored revolution. Yatakang is home to a brilliant and humane geneticist. this brilliant geneticist may be able to create super-children.:: i am half-Filipino. i do not want children, super or otherwise ::1) due to overpopulation, nearly the entire world has severe restrictions around giving birth. people are obsessed with genetic make-up. if you have flaws in your genetic make-up, you are not allowed to have children.2) overpopulation + ennui + a lifetime of frustration can equal many things, including the potential for murder & rape & incest. did you know that?:: this book made me laugh a lot. a great sense of humor. malevolent, merciless, mordant wit. my favorite! ::[Stand on Zanzibar can be an off-putting experience. many people do not like it. some find it challenging; some find it boring; some find it frustrating. it does not take it easy on the reader. it throws a lot of things the reader's way. the reader is given a mass amount of information to digest. can the reader find patterns in this information? does the reader even care?]CAST INCLUDES: Shalmaneser is an all-knowing computer created by General Technics. is Shalmaneser growing consciousness?SCANALYZE: "shiggies" are a common type of lady. to be specific, they are attractive, upscale, vaguely whorish young women with no permanent residence. they move or are passed on from guy to guy to guy. guys share shiggies. most young women appear to be shiggies. unless they are daughters, wives, or business leaders.CAST UPDATE: Norman and Donald are roommates. one is full of cold anger and the other is full of passive idleness. they toke up together. they share shiggies. Norman likes the scandinavian babes and Donald likes the black hotties. the two go to a jail and then to a party together. the two have great and terrible things in store for them. later, they actually become friends. sorta.#what is "friendship" anyway? #does anyone really know anyone?CAST INCLUDES: Begi is a Beninian folk figure. he is a trickster of sorts. he exists to punish the greedy, the pretentious, and other assorted pricks and assholes.((i have too many favorite scenes in this novel to count. my favorite may be the riot. or it may be a party that turns out to be a colossal fail. another favorite may be the scene in which a trained assassin takes down a mucker.))SCANALYZE: "muckers" run amok. overpopulation and other factors drive them insane. that insanity endows them with the strength of many and causes them to seek the immediate death of everyone around them. they are a sign of the times.:: sometimes, in crowds, i feel like running amok. but i don't. whew! ::[i have a Goodreads friend who didn't care for this book. he said the plot didn't start for over a 100 pages and all the random snippets of information became wearisome. sometimes i read his reviews and i wonder my God, does he even like reading? still, his opinion is a valuable one to me.]CAST INCLUDES: GT Buckfast. Eric Ellerman. Chad Mulligan. Poppy Shelton. Guinevere Steel. Sheena & Frank Potter. Arthur Golightly. Stal Lucas. Sasha & Philip Peterson. Victor & Mary Whatmough. Elihu Masters. Gerry Lindt. Dr Sugaiguntung. President Zadkiel Obomi. Jogajong. Olive Almerio. Grace Rowley. Pierre & Jeannine Clodard. Jeff Young. Henry Butcher. Bennie Noakes. all of these characters have POV chapters. ~ by the time the novel ends, ten are dead ~#do you want to live forever?(the constant racist language against asians really bothered me. is this because i am half asian? the novel itself is not racist. quite the opposite.)CAST INCLUDES: Bronwen Ghose does not have a POV chapter. if i have one critique, it is that Bronwen in particular deserved one. a moving character, and a very appealing, very attractive one as well.PROFILE OF AUTHOR: John Brunner also wrote a book called The Sheep Look Up. i love that title.* Mr. and Mrs. Everywhere go everywhere... just for you! watch them from the comfort of your living room, on your television! they look just like you! *>SCANALYZER: SCANALYZE!<Stand on Zanzibar should be read carefully, over time. there is too much going on, so you should go slow. i think if you read it too fast It May Become Like A Long Night With Too Much Coke And Too Many People And You Are Almost About To Lose It But You Don't Have Anywhere To Go So You Just Do Another Line And All Of A Sudden It Is Too Much But All You Can Do Is Smile Smile Smile And It Begins To Hurt And Your Brain Begins To Hurt And You Feel Like Freaking Out And Crying.Stand on Zanzibar should be read quickly like a big rush of information just let it sweep all over you because you know that's what life is anyway just a big rush of random and not-random information so just take it all in like a good little sheep and maybe the information will eventually have some meaning or maybe not.Stand on Zanzibar has a happy ending. that is, if you consider an ending where (view spoiler)[one protagonist is basically insane after being brainwashed by the government and the other protagonist learns that the only way to stop humans from being ferociously aggressive animals is to tamper with them genetically (hide spoiler)] to be a happy ending.STAND ON ZANZIBAR IS ONE OF THE BEST SCIENCE FICTION NOVELS EVER WRITTEN. ⇨ i bow before its genius ⇦["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>

  • Lyn
    2019-01-08 19:11

    Stand on Zanzibar by John Brunner is an amazing book. First of all, the title comes from the idea of putting all the people on the planet in one place. A nineteenth century commentator speculated that if everyone were to stand, and have maybe a couple feet square around him or her, then everyone could stand together on the Isle of Wight. Some time later this concept was expanded due to population increases to speculate that the same experiment could be done on the Isle of Man. Brunner, setting his novel in the not too distant future of 2010, extrapolated that then, with population continuing to expand exponentially, the gathering would need to be conducted on the African island of Zanzibar.Stand on Zanzibar uses a narrative technique pioneered by the Lost Generation novelist John Dos Passos in his USA trilogy. Brunner used a cacophony of voices and characters, news bulletins, and illustrative sketches and a large cast of characters and settings to create an experience of out of control, inevitable and relentless over population. Winner of the 1969 Hugo Award, this is a thought provoking, dystopian tour de force that can overwhelm the reader, but through masterful crafting, stays on track and has a satisfying, if not disheartening end. Eclipsed by other dystopian novels like Brave New World and 1984, this is nonetheless a worthy entry in that list.I have long been a fan of writers like Philip K. Dick and William Gibson who bravely set their stories in the near future and there could even be an ever-growing sub-genre of science fiction whose vision has now become contemporary. Brunner has done an admirable job in contemplating a time, only 40 odd years in his future where over population and increasing poverty are progressing at an alarming rate. Most alarming to me was Brunner’s prophetic ideas of “muckers” those people who have run amok and go on mass murder killing sprees. Brunner’s vision is not without hope, but his predictions fall too close to home to go without notice, and hopefully, with some contemplation.

  • Henry Avila
    2018-12-31 14:01

    This psychedelic novel, is set in the far distant future, 2010! When we can look forward to picture phones, holographic t.v. sets , Moon bases looking down on the poor, struggling, threatened Earth, and battery powered cars everywhere, (can't wait) but no cell phones or internet, the book was written in 1968, which shows how useless forecasting the future is, if the obvious has to be stated again... The happening man is Mr.Norman Niblock House, he lives in a domed Manhattan, the rest of New York City's citizens, are not important enough to have that structure, is this a Republic? Busy Norman works as an executive and only black man, for General Technical Corporation, (G T to its loyal and not so loyal employees) and still run by the legendary founder Georgette Tallon Buckfast , a sprightly, 91- year- old. Donald Hogan is his rather lethargic, mysterious , intellectual roommate, the city, much overcrowded, who apparently from an unknown source of income, somehow has plenty of money. That era's mad prophet Chad C.Mulligan, a best selling writer, read by millions of people, (real books too) trouble is, no one follows Mulligan's advice, so the wealthy, disgusted man drops out, and becomes a street wino...Yes, he is rather weird , things are not perfect in the second decade, of the 21st century, the endless Vietnam War, is going on after 50 year , also the draft, the population bomb has finally arrived, and crime rates have increased to unprecedented levels, anarchy prevails. The Earth is dying slowly, a sad end for the former, magnificent, blue planet, Donald disappears and Chad reappears, not to worry though, Shalmaneser, G. T.'s , powerful computer, that doesn't make mistakes, (they believe) will come to the rescue, and the all knowing machine will save the day...An American diplomat, stationed in the little west African state of Beninia, ( I haven't heard of it either, my friends) comes up with a scheme to take over that impoverished country, in all but name and bring prosperity to Beninia (this, right after the end of oppressive, colonialism in Africa). Plus a nice little profit to the great corporation , being strictly a business deal only, they're not a charity organization, Norman becomes head of the project in Africa, as an African-American, it looks appropriate, to the rest of the world. Mr. House has a vast amount of reading to do, though, too bad there is no internet or cell phones in this alternative future, the job would be a whole lot easier, all those books to carry around... A product of its time, but still a terrific novel, worth reading, a fascinating glimpse of what could have been..

  • Manny
    2019-01-11 20:03

    Definitely one of the best SF dystopias, which IMHO deserved more attention. OK, it's fair that "1984" and "Brave New World" received greater critical acclaim - there's no doubt that they are better. But there must be a hundred people who have read them for every one who's read Zanzibar, and that's not an accurate reflection of the difference in quality. Brunner has some interesting things to say that you won't find in either of the other two books, and he writes quite well.By the way, in case you're wondering: the title is based on the computation that, when the action takes place, you would require the surface area of the island of Zanzibar to find standing room for the entire population of the Earth.

  • Bradley
    2018-12-31 18:06

    Some novels should only be read once. On my second read, I wanted to downgrade my estimation of the novel by a star.I felt sad.Sure. Shalmaneser was and still is my go-to model for a hell of a kick-ass supercomputer developing true intelligence and will, with all of it's concomitant problems, such as addiction and hallucination. (How very 1969 of a novel, Mr. Brunner.)And yes, when I first read this back in 1990, I was surprised and oh so pleased by all the counterculture, drug use, clandestine exploration of assassination techniques, and heavy exploration of genetics within a sociological backdrop. And now?I'm only reminded of the great effort that I had to put into reading it. Both times.I can honestly say that I'll be giving Brunner props forever for all the effort he put into all the digressions, the advertisements, the worldbuilding, and the dystopian outlook of an extremely overpopulated world. I can't say that I particularly liked its readability, though. It annoyed. Greatly. But I can step back and admire it from afar and pray I'm never called on to read the novel again.On the other hand, I did get into Donald's story easier this time, and Norman with Chad C. Mulligan kicks all sorts of ass from the beginning to almost the very last line in the novel. (What can I say? I prefer letting the computer get the last laugh. It usually does, anyway.)My hat goes off to the novel, once again, but I'm now hesitating as to whether I'd put this at the top or even in the top twenty novels that I've loved. Even though, in memory, I always put it there before.Hell, the novel was one of the first fifty novels that cemented my love of SF, and it certainly pushed me off the bridge to go on a hell of a John Brunner spree where I wouldn't touch any other novelist for eight months. I can stand in awe of Stand on Zanzibar all I want, but honestly, I think I LOVED The Sheep Look Up and Shockwave Rider MUCH better. There's a great deal to be said about readability and adventure. Just having a great premise doesn't always mean you've got a truly timeless story.(I'm speaking to you, Mr. Love Aerosol.)"God damn you for crazy idiots! All of you! You're not fit to manage your silly lives! I know you're fools- have you watched you and wept for you. And... Oh my god!"His voice cracked to a breathing moan. "I love you! I've tried not to, and I can't help it. I love you all..."

  • Megan Baxter
    2019-01-06 14:23

    That was 600+ pages of sheer eccentricity! Not in a bad way, but wow. I love books like this, that push the boundaries in some way, play around with indirect narrative. As long as they know why they're doing it. This one did.Note: The rest of this review has been withdrawn due to the changes in Goodreads policy and enforcement. You can read why I came to this decision here.In the meantime, you can read the entire review at Smorgasbook

  • Stephen
    2019-01-06 17:08

    6.0 stars (One of my All Time Favorites). A staggering novel. Rich in characters, a superbly crafted story that moves very quickly and deals with some very important issues. I absolutely loved this book and consider it one of the true classics of Science Fiction. Winner: Hugo Award for Best Science Fiction Novel (1969)Nominee: Nebula Award for Best Science Fiction Novel (1969)Winner: Britsh Science Fiction Award for Best Novel (1970)

  • Stephen
    2019-01-11 15:02

    6.0 stars (One of my All Time Favorites). A staggering novel. Rich in characters, a superbly crafted story that moves very quickly and deals with some very important issues. I absolutely loved this book and consider it one of the true classics of Science Fiction. Winner: Hugo Award for Best Science Fiction Novel (1969)Nominee: Nebula Award for Best Science Fiction Novel (1969)Winner: Britsh Science Fiction Award for Best Novel (1970)

  • Erik Graff
    2018-12-27 21:08

    Reading this before discovering DosPassos' U.S.A., I was mightily impressed by Brunner's originality of technique. Discovering U.S.A., I was even more impressed by DosPassos, of course, but did not fault Brunner's employment of the other's proven methods for painting an enormous, richly textured picture of a possible future.The book was anxiety-provoking in 1969. The accuracy of many of Brunner's predictions makes one wonder about the increasingly large subgenre of science fiction books which are set in futures which have now happened. This device has been employed, self-consciously, in many books and movies of the alternative timestream variety, books such as The Iron Dream by Spinrad or movies such as Brazil or the recent Richard the Third. But what about the naive products of the past? What of their influences on us? What of our avoidance of seeing the contrast between past anxieties upon reading such prognostications and present calm acceptance of such horrors?I think, in this instance and in reference to Brunner's theme, of Haiti and the global misallocation of resources between first and third worlds which Haiti represents. People are starving, really starving, because it is now more profitable to make biofuels for the vehicles of the rich than it is to produce food. The response is piddling 'charity' and police repression. And we see this, if we wish, live, on television, on the web. We can talk to people over there, on the ground, amidst the riots, by cell phone. Meanwhile, the trends towards ever-greater accumulations of wealth and power, on the one hand, and ever-wider immiseration, on the other, continue.Stand on Zanzibar is set at about now, at the time you may be reading this. A subsequently set novel by Brunner, The Sheep Look Up, is also available and worth reading for many of the same reasons.

  • Jokoloyo
    2019-01-03 14:16

    This is not a proper review. I just want to share my opinion.One of the fictitious nation on this novel, Yatakang, is a good analogy/shadowing of Indonesia at second half of 1960s period condition. Maybe that helps me to give high rating for this book. There isn't many SF books that picturing the Indonesia as details as this book. Until now, this is the best that I have found so far.

  • Stuart
    2018-12-24 20:06

    One of the best SF dystopias from the late 60s about overpopulation in the future, and deserving of a much broader audience. One of my early high school favorites.

  • knig
    2018-12-26 16:56

    I asked sci fi guru Mark for a recommendation, and I all I got was this Stand on Zanzibar. (Well, Dhalgren as well, but that may have to wait for another lifetime). Well phew. Climbing Mount Everest might have been a tad easier than ploughing through this ....erm, actually, Mark may have threatened me with Shalmaneser obliteration if I don’t show proper encomium so I better not say ...this clunker. Well, but it is: its chunky and clunky and all 1960s ‘groovy baby’ and full of revolutionary hype and tips: you know, how do you start one? Well, eat a prune, start a movement, I always say.It does have very inspirational moments, though. Particularly ‘groovy’: the narrative sequence. Broken into four distinct parts, each seemingly independent yet inextricably symbiotic: each strain creates parallel, utopian building blocks which buoy the next disparate section forward and so on: a very, very cool technique which reminded me of what Sherwood Andersen was doing in Winesburg, Ohio (yeah, a far fetched connection, but if the shoe fits....).If the ideas (overpopulation leading to eugenics and mass riots) are a little stale nowadays, the language and presentation style are crispy fresh: a particular pinnacle is the rendition of a party scene where all laws of narration are broken down and we end up with a unique cacophony of ‘shiggy’ voices talking over each other, and strangely, registering on statistical graphs, anomalous ‘situations’ and entropic Venn diagrams. Groovy. (Wait, I already said that). Brunner is big on the voice over technique: one of the four threads (tracking with closeups) is just that: an amalgamation of voices clamouring to be heard: the fate of Mr and Mrs Everymans (sic) through whom the dystopian atrophy of an overpopulated world is laid bare. It makes for oppressive reading, and a change from the descriptive qualia of a single narrator presence. Author Blake Butler later on is actually pretty good at this sort of thing.I think overall my main gripe with this doorstopper of a tome is just that: its just too loooong, baby, and it could do with a little less talk and a lot more action. (as I keep telling MJ)

  • William
    2018-12-20 14:19

    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 early in his career, and then "something happened (LSD?)", and then he wrote these two masterpieces. Truly Awesome books!Set in 2010, note that the book features a president named "Obomi" !!

  • Bill
    2018-12-20 14:57

    Found it interesting; a unique style of writing. I've read different ways; the normal way from front to end, then also by sticking to the sub-headings; context, the happening world, tracking with closeups, etc. Either way, it made for excellent reading.

  • Kate Sherrod
    2018-12-21 18:25

    Simultaneously reading like a deadly earnest Illuminatus! Trilogy scrubbed of all the conspiracy nuttiness*, a fictionalized parable of Toffler's classic Future Shock, a finger-wagging sermon about the evils of overpopulation, and a whacked-out Jeff Noon media scramble, Stand on Zanzibar is one of the coolest bits of New Wave science fiction a reader could pick up.A lot of people who pick up a John Brunner novel -- or indeed any older science fiction novel -- in the 21st century get hung up on either the eerie prescience the author seems to have had about our contemporary world (the book was written in 1968 but set in 2010) or on what the author got wrong about it, but to do either is to miss the point here. Good fiction is good fiction, whether or not someone guessed there would be smart phones; ditto good social criticism. Stand on Zanzibar is both.The title comes from an observation made by a wag/sage of the novel's world that the world's current population of 7 billion (yes, one of things he got right; we hit that number pretty close to the same time he projected) if stood together in one place shoulder-to-shoulder, would take up the area of the island of Zanzibar (when the book was written, the world's population could fit on the Isle of Man, a much smaller bit of land). The world he depicts will remind fans a bit of that in Soylent Green**; its be-domed New York might also make one think of the be-domed city-as-spaceship New York in Cities in Flight. And as I suggested above, I kept thinking of Jeff Noon's fiction, particularly Channel Sk1n.The plot Brunner chooses from among the billions of possible stories on that/this overcrowded world concerns a mega-corporation that is getting ready to buy a country, the men chosen to spearhead the project (which takes a long view of a Third World nation's economic development into a new kind of global economic powerhouse as just another opportunity to increase shareholder value -- eerily, kind of the way our modern private prison industry works!), and some of their friends. Because the nation in question is in Africa, the company's single African-American (abbreviated "Afram") vice president, Norman Niblock House, gets the nod, along with the U.S.'s equally Afram ambassador to that little nation, Elihu Masters, who's been best friends with the country's president-for-life for some twenty years. Said president*** being a tired old man now, who has been pretty much single-handedly holding his little nation together since the British abandoned the whole colonialism thing and more or less forced him into the role of someone to whom they could hand off all their problems. But there is no good prospect for a successor, so why not bring in a corporation? The project is not viewed as the president selling out so much as a father with hundreds of thousands of helpless dependents trying to secure a future for them. Believe me, it sort of works.This is largely because there is so much else going on in this novel, which is apparently modeled on John Dos Passos' U.S.A. trilogy ****, at least structurally, for the narrative, plot forwarding chapters are interspersed with all sorts of non-narrative interludes of pure, hypermediated texture, including extended excerpts from the works of one Chad Mulligan, sociologist, who is this novel's Austin Train figure (see The Sheep Look Up), a wise man who has gone ignored but may now be called somewhat resurgent, but only because drinking himself to death in disgust is taking too long and is actually kind of boring.But wait, there's more!Because Norman has a white roommate, Don, a guy with a freak gift for pattern recognition who has spent the last ten years in deep cover as a member of the U.S. Army's "Dilettante Corps" in which his job is basically being a sort of Cayce Pollard for the government. In the course of the story, Don gets called up and has to go overseas to help out with an international problem involving a fictional Pacific Rim nation with whom the U.S. is in a seemingly endless and bitter Vietnamesque war. Said country having made an announcement regarding a Great Leap Forward in eugenics and genetic engineering that holds incredible possibility and also, of course, incredible threat to the rest of the world.For the reaction of the First World to the planet's overwhelming population problem is to plunge into eugenics with all enthusiasm. Laws governing who may have children and how many children they may have get stricter and stricter all the time -- and in the United States, differ from state to state, so, for example, Nevada is close to a free-for-all whereas Louisiana is flirting with the idea of not allowing anyone to breed who can prove three generations of residency in that state in addition to the standard prohibitions on anyone with genetic defects of any kind reproducing. As the novel opens, the latest trait under fire is color-blindness. But what everyone is really afraid of is that someday producing too much melanin is going to be a prohibiting factor.Which is to say that racism -- and sexism, which I'll get to later -- are prevalent elements throughout the text. As the U.S. is at war with an Asian power, plenty of anti-Asian sentiment and offensive slang gets slung about (which, about the slang, get ready for that. The slang in Stand on Zanzibar could be the subject of a whole big and fascinating paper, to be pored over like that in A Clockwork Orange, but unlike Burgess' novel, all of Brunner's slang is derived from English), and blacks don't get any better treatment. It's all presented very matter-of-factly, even casually, which can be shocking but which is part and parcel of the societies we're examining. Kinship and tribalism and associated inter-group violence, sociologists tell us, tend to come very much to the fore in cases of crowding.As is, apparently, a very casual, even cavalier, attitude towards women, the young and attractive variety of which are referred to in this world as "shiggies" and are passed around like party favors, traded like Magic the Gathering cards, apparently happy with this state of affairs and the nomadic, uncertain life they lead on the "shiggy circuit." Older women are only ever noticed if they happen by some freak of affairs to have somehow achieved serious corporate power, with a depressing few exceptions, and even the one younger-than-the-alpha female executive type who crosses our path is at first dismissed as on the scene just because her boss got tired of sleeping with her. To the slight credit of the man making this internalized observation about her, he does eventually include that she might be there on her own actual merits as well, perhaps. Partly. Ugh.The only other reason a woman might matter, of course, is as breeding stock. But only if she's genetically OK. But hey, at least the potential father has to pass genetic muster as well. So I guess there's parity somewhere. Ugh.But hey, all of literature has taught me how it sure do suck to be female, so I can hardly single out this book for special castigation. Especially in a year in which I have taken on Robert Silverberg. I do not cry out for a fan-edit of Stand on Zanzibar from which my gender has been removed, but, you know, yuck.That aside, this is a pretty fantastic read, a worthy companion to Brunner's other blisteringly awful masterpiece, The Sheep Look Up. But where we could sort of, kind of, desperately cling to the idea that The Sheep Look Up was a self-denying prophecy, Stand on Zanzibar still feels like it could happen, is happening.But we already knew that, didn't we?*Which, I hasten to assure you, is still a very entertaining, if somewhat depressing, thing.**Itself based on a novel by Harry Harrison, Make Room! Make Room! that came out two years before Stand on Zanzibar.***Whose name is Zadkiel Obomi, and I'll refer you to the rest of the internet for points of view on that amazing coincidence/prediction. Yawn.****Which I haven't read but now really want to.

  • ruby
    2018-12-22 20:59

    this is perhaps one of the most prescient science fiction novels ever written.i picked this up relatively recently, aware that it had a certain reputation as a classic of the genre, but also expecting it to have aged relatively badly, like many classics of the time. i was aiming to fill a gap in my reading, but wasn't expecting it to be particularly it is i was very pleasantly surprised. Brunner's style is very contemporary and not in the least stuffy. his speculative science, though not really exact on the technology, hits very close to the target on the effects of the technology (e.g. Brunner predicts a massive supercomputer to which we all log in to get whatever information we want, instead we have a massively distributed network of computers serving the same function). his social and political commentary is very pertinent today. while reading Stand on Zanzibar i felt like i was reading a contemporary work of near-future science-fiction, transported over from a parallel history. if it weren't for the errors in science and technology, it reads as if it had been written in the closing years of the century, and set to happen might perhaps compare it to William Gibson's All Tomorrow's Parties, but pulled from an alternate history, and much better written.

  • Saul Bennett
    2019-01-11 20:17

    Well, what an amazing novel. Totally unique and ahead if its time. I was intrigued by the fact it was written in 1968 and the story was set in 2010!I loved the phrases the author invented - codders and shiggies (men and women), mockers, sheeting hell (I say that a lot myself now!), pint of whaledreck.I loved the vast array of colourful characters - especially the inimitable Chad C Mulligan.Some of the scenes (most of them very short and shocking) will stick in my memory for a long time. Such as the teenager who kills his mother, the riot, the priest who is slipped a 'truth' drug, the old colonial guy who has an affair with a younger woman - he then finds out she is in a relationship with two men..The theme of the book is of course overpopulation. Brunner expertly details how this problem leads to despair and lack of hope, breakdown in society and moral values, which in turn leads the populace to take refuge in drugs, sex, and random acts of violence.I would highly recommend this book and I can't wait to read more of John Brunner's work.

  • Denis
    2019-01-10 16:59

    A difficult to read. Difficult to rate. It's a masterpiece.Many others have summarized it brilliantly. I wouldn't even try.However, it is an outstanding and unique work from a guy who, until then (1967) primarily published - as did PKD - in Ace Double paperbacks.It's a book about everything, and written in a very unusual and clever fashion with simultaneous overlapping segments: Context. The happening world. Tracking with closeups. Continuity.The bulk of the "actual novel" is in the "continuity" sections. One could simply read that, but all the world building and "spirit of the society" are written within the other sections.Took me a while to get to this one, but glad I finally did. A must read.

  • fromcouchtomoon
    2019-01-06 17:12

    A dystopic collage of media overstimulation and neocolonial globalization, a highly textured sensory experience of our own world, five years ago, predicted nearly 50 years ago. Most interesting is not what he got right, but the few things he got wrong.

  • Maggie K
    2019-01-15 17:05

    A lot of folks love this book, and I really tried to like it, and maybe I just wasn't in the right mood, but these characters, and the way they treated women, was just too annoying to me. I gave up.

  • Mike
    2019-01-12 17:15

    Where to start when talking about Stand on Zanzibar? Maybe the meaning of the title:"And to close on, the Dept of Small Consolations Some troubledome just figured out that if you allow for every codder and shiggy and appleofmyeye a space one foot by two you could stand us all on the six hundred forty square mile surface on the island of Zanzibar ToDAY third MAY twenty-TEN come aGAIN!"By the end of the book, several months later, poor Zanzibar can no longer hold all of humanity and some of our number would be forced into knee deep hypothetical water.To me the overriding theme of this excellent book was the consequences to human society when its numbers expand unchecked.The time: The future year of 2010 (well, the past now, but in the sixties 2010 WAS the future). The place: our little green and blue marble. Humanity's numbers have swelled putting a heavy strain on Earth's resources and space. Most of the advanced countries of the world have instituted eugenics boards to manage population numbers and try to weed out unwanted genetic deficiencies (such as color blindness which drives the decisions one set of characters make). Naturally these conditions cause strain on society, and we see this strain played out across a wide variety of characters that we get occasional glimpses of between the main action.Initially I found this book somewhat difficult to access. Brunner tells the story in a very interesting way, using short chapters of various types to both tell the main story which follows the major actions of the book (these chapters are called "continuity") and chapters that flesh-out the wider world. Some follow specific characters ("tracking with closeups"), some are informational chapters that exposit on a given topic ("context"), and some that provide brief snips of events going on around the world ("the happening world"). This was at first jarring to me, but once the main action ("continuity") picked up, all the other pieces beautifully fell into place and really enhanced my experience. Instead of getting a rather narrow look into this fascinating world through the main protagonists we get a cross section of the wider world. This method further fleshed out the world Brunner has conjured up and shows the reader how the main action is having a ripple affect across the world.This story is, at its root, a cautionary tale about how we humans just can't get out of our own way in spite (and sometimes just to spite) ourselves. I almost feel like the character Chad Mulligan, highly regarded, if abrasive, sociologist, stood in for Brunner as he bemoans and derides what human society has devolved into (Don't worry, it doesn't come across as preachy; he serves as an accessible character for a reader not of the book's time and place). Humanity, as far a Brunner/Mulligan is concerned, excels in the arts of crass consumerism and killing. Humans are dumb animals, even more so in large numbers. Considering the picture of the then future Brunner paints it is hard to disagree. International conflict, strained natural resources, brinksmanship that places national interests above that of humanity, living conditions in society that strain the psyche of its inhabitants. Fortunately this message wasn't pounded into the me on every page (cough::AtlasShrugged::cough) but seeped into my awareness through the small peeks Brunner allows us into his world. It was clearly there, but let me approach and understand it on my own terms instead going all Alien facehugger on me.Once I got into the groove of the writing style and world (plus the future slang Brunner threw at me; see the quoted passage above) I was completely immersed in his world. He kept the main action flowing along nicely, taking some unexpected turns that delighted me, and really evolved the continuity characters quite well, having them grow and naturally react to what circumstances thrust upon them. I will no doubt be rereading this book to pick up on all the things in the beginning I probably missed the first time through. Heck, I might even try reading it by chapter type, that could make for an interesting experience. In any event I think this is a very worthwhile book if because it does raise some interesting ideas and encourages the reader to examine our present time for the sort of madness we see crop up in Brunners's 2010.Or maybe the book was all just a set up for a joke whose punch-line was the second to last section. In which case: Christ, what an imagination John Brunner's got!

  • Jason
    2019-01-08 16:03

    Some love this book and some hate it. I find myself more in between, because this is a serviceable novel, with occasional exciting and insightful bits, but not one that coheres or gels in a satisfactory way. Yes, the narrative technique Brunner used to tell his story was, I guess, unique at the time it was written, but I believe its "experimental" nature has been grossly exaggerated. Basically, there is a definite plot in the middle of all this, a rather dull one, but it is interspersed with advertising slogans and newspaper excerpts and mini-anecdotes, and then, every few pages, the book returns to its normal story. How will the modern reader react to these distracting chapters, sometimes interesting and sometimes tedious? Probably as irrelevant. Do they build a picture of the world of the novel? Sure, sort of, I guess, but not in the most effective way - that would be, I think, in normal linear narrative. (It's not like George R. R. Martin needed to borrow this technique to make Westeros feel real.) Essentially, what I'm saying is that the famous "technique" of this novel is just a shtick, one that feels very anchored in the 60's, and not one that alters or improves the basic, conventional storyline at its centre. The biggest problem, though, that I had with this novel is that it's all so distant, so intellectual and smug. We don't care about any of these characters, not the extras in the background, not the main characters. The best character, because he is the only one with a perceivable personality, is Chad, the mouthpiece for the author. Everyone else is unreachable and flat. The world itself, drowning in overpopulated mire and violence, is not one we grow to care about either, since we only access it in bits and pieces. It never feels real or comes to life. I can't smell it and taste it. So, there is very little tension or narrative momentum throughout the book, because I am not worried about this place. The book, really, is just hundreds of pages of cultural criticism of the obvious kind. For proof of this assertion, just look at the majority of commentaries about this novel: everyone talks about how prescient Brunner was, and how cleverly he predicted all this. That's really all they have to say, that he predicted accurately. Well okay, fine, I give him that, and that would be great if the job of a fiction author was to predict the future. But it isn't. That's what gypsies are for. What Brunner has are useful and intelligent things to say about the world he inhabited, but he fails to find a compelling set of characters to populate his dystopian world, and a compelling story to happen in it. There are some great science fictional gems hidden here, for sure - the shenanigans with Shalmeneser, the resident AI, are fun, and the mystery surrounding the strange peacefulness of the fictional African country is a good old fashioned sci fi conundrum. There is a party-chatter chapter in the middle of the book that is brilliant, probably the best section of the novel. But the book fails to grip for more than 10-20 pages at a time. As I read, I was reminded, constantly, of the far superior The Windup Girl. This is another dystopian novel about how we are destroying ourselves, but man, is it suspenseful, and scary, and incapable of being put down. In fact, John Brunner's own The Sheep Look Up is a much more convincing and horrifying novel about our self-imposed doom. Zanzibar, though, is more dry, more academic, more dated, and overall just less involving.

  • Matt
    2018-12-27 17:19

    I've read this book twice now, once a few months back and once in the early 90's. While I still greatly enjoyed the novel, it didn't stand up to a second reading as well as I thought it might.'Stand on Zanzibar' is told in a very modern style that could be off-putting to some, although it is far more approachable than some other canonical stories from experimental 'New Wave' science fiction from the same period. And, as 'New Wave' there is some casual brutality to the story that some others might have a hard time enduring.The central story is about the generally separate adventures of two roommates that know comparatively little about each others lives. These larger stories nestle in and are enriched by snippets of from a variety of invented voices from the broad-spectrum multimedia of the setting. The effect is the literary equivalent of being in a room with twelve different loudly blaring TV's set to different channels. The setting itself is typical of the 'Future Shock' dystopia's of the late '60's and early '70's, but this one is I think, by virtue of the format in which the story is told, by far the most compelling and best realized of these.The novel does a very good job of predicting the culture and desperation of the 1970's, but is other than that its take on the future seems very dated and ultimately too tied to the political and social conceits of the period. The ties between this story and many others like it to the culture of the late '60's and the decade that followed it is so close, that I can't help but think that its predictive power is owed in no small part not just to having its ear to the pulse of the time, but also to the extent that it was the pulse of the time it helped shape the way people saw the world around them. As a prophetic work, it primarily seems to me to neither exactly prophetic nor exactly self-fulfilling, but certainly expectation fulfilling in the same sort of way that a deeply religious person sees evidence of God in everything that they see.The other nasty surprise I found in rereading was that my standards of what constituted well-written changed between being 20 and being 35. While by no means a poorly written novel, it wasn't nearly as mind blowing the second time as the first time when I’d never read anything like it. Even the first time through though, the way that the story is ultimately wrapped up seemed a bit silly, but, also while it is silly, the fact that Brunner was willing to end the story on at least a partially hopeful and not a completely irrational, nihilistic or Luddite note for me improves the story. I won't give away the twist directly, but, who could have known that all our problems were at their root so easily solved? I have to smile at thinking that the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil must have been a Durian rather than an apple.All in all, the above criticisms must be seen as fairly minor. This is still one of the most important science fiction novels ever written, and would be certain to appear highly placed on any respectable list of the best 100 sci-fi novels of all time.

  • Randy
    2019-01-04 15:12

    A difficult book to wade into. Not due to the subject matter, but rather getting to know the vernacular of Brunner's near-future, becoming acquainted with largish cast of characters (of whom only 5 are so are of primary importance, but there are dozens of ancillary characters), and the organization of the book. Chapters of plot (labelled as 'Continuity' in the header) are cut and spliced with scenes that have no direct bearing on the primary plot or advertising scripts or some other such thing. By around chapter 3 or so I found my bearings and once I did, I couldn't put it down. This is a nightmarish and broken book cannily depicting a nightmarish and broken future. Recommended reading for fans of hard sci-fi.

  • Jason Pym
    2019-01-15 16:10

    I understand this was a breakthrough novel for 1967, and it is full of ideas that are staggering for the time it was written, but for me this didn't work as a novel. The characters all leave me cold (with the exception of Chad Mulligan - he was great), which is a problem for such a long book. I like the idea of all these snap shots of the world, like a photomontage, but for me it would have worked better if they were fleshed out a bit more, given a more personal focus. And as for the two main plots that emerged (once I'd figured them out), neither needed 650 pages. One of those books that if someone tells you about it, it sounds so much better and more interesting than it actually is (looks good on paper?)...

  • J. Mark
    2019-01-08 17:11

    This and "The Sheep Look Up" are Brunner's masterworks, though there are dozens of worthwhile reads from his amazing pen. This involved work, structurally based on John Dos Passos' "U.S.A. trilogy," gives a full worldview of what was then a not-too-distant future. Brunner had a knack for extrapolating current events and where they were likely to lead, and what we have in "Stand on Zanzibar" is a world that is in many ways like the one in which we now live. A cloak-and-dagger mystery as well as social critique, it locked me onto Brunner's beam for a long time.

  • Jenny (Reading Envy)
    2018-12-19 16:08

    I posted a longer review to my blog, but one basic summary is that the present isn't that different from Brunner's imagined future, and it is all our fault.I loved how Brunner presented the feeling of information overload, in fact I had more fun reading the first half of the book, which is less story and more atmosphere, than I did reading the actual plot-heavy parts.

  • Danielle Tremblay
    2018-12-19 16:10

    Like most of the science fiction-books that deal with the near future, John Brunner's "Stand on Zanzibar" takes place on an overcrowded dystopic Earth.The title of the book comes from the fact that by the time of World War I you could stand the whole of the human race on the 147-square-mile Isle of Wight. In the year 2010, when this book takes place, you would need a larger island, like the 640-square-mile Zanzibar.In this future world the government tries to stop the overcrowding by eugenic legislation that minimizes the number of people who can have children and sterilizes you if you, for example, carry the gene that causes colour-blindness.Neither countries nor corporations can make decisions without asking a huge super-computer.At any time anyone can turn into a mucker (someone who has been made crazy by the rush and pressure of the society and the drugs that are an accepted part of it) and run amok killing everybody in sight.Most people are kept passive and happy by the soothing powers of television, where Mr. and Mrs. Everywhere (a computerized couple of characters that can be programmed to look just like the viewer) travel around the world and experience new things for them."Stand on Zanzibar" is built up by short episodes, jumping between different characters and forming a mosaic of individuals, which describes the world they live in perfectly. There are two main narratives (one of them is about the way the government can turn an ordinary man into a killing-machine, and the other is about the plans of a corporation to buy a peaceful African country) that really don't have anything to do with each other, except for the fact that the main characters of these plots are friends and live together. Although these two characters and plots are the main outlines of the book, they are just parts of the collage of destinies and lives that the reader jumps into for a moment.There are chapters that are built up by one- or two sentences long scenes that grant the reader short glimpses into the personalities of individual characters or a brief but accurate explanation of a concept. All of these individual threads are weaved together into a massive, impressive and believable description of the future Earth.I thought the way the book was written was really hard to get used to and understand at first, but once I got it, it made the book even better.The book was written in 1968, but many of the issues it deals with (like the overcrowding, the replacement of real experiences with the experiences of television figures, and the way normal people suddenly snap and turn psychotic (which is particularly noticeable in the USA (for example the murders at Columbine and other high schools), but has started to happen here as well)) have to some extent come true today.The thing I liked most about the book, however, was the feeling of the sixties that floated over everything. Some of the things in the book where clearly influenced by the psychedelic spirit of '68, like the free sex and frequent drug use, but there is something about the sixties that affects the entire book.I don't really know if it's something about the clothes, the way the characters talk or the furniture, buildings and cities described, but I think it's all of these things and more that subtly mix and make me feel as though the book, if it was made into a movie, would look just like Kubrik's "A Clockwork Orange".

  • Bryan
    2019-01-01 18:58

    A couple weeks have gone by, and I'm still thinking of this book. That's probably a good sign. I've finished other books in the time since, but I've spent more time mulling over Stand on Zanzibar. I think my original rating was perhaps a bit harsh, and I'll give it an extra star, so it's now sitting at 3.5 stars. Worth reading, but I won't be rereading it any time soon.---Hmmm... I'll give this one 2.5 stars. Yes, it was a good book, and yes it was a great concept, but there was some big drawbacks as well that really hindered my enjoyment.The book takes place in 2010, so it seemed like a good time to actually read this Hugo winning novel. I put it aside many times, but finally when I got to around page 400 the pace picked up and I was able to move pretty quickly until about page 580. Then the last 70 pages was tough slogging again.PROs: - great ideas about the future (overpopulation and the craziness that comes with it) - really innovative way of arranging chapters - superb worldbuilding - the reader really gets drawn into the setting and experiences it in a more direct, first-hand wayCONs: - really annoying jargon that sounds 60-ish instead of modern 2010 (shiggy, codder, prodgie, poppa-momma). Made me cringe to read. - pace really gets sacrificed in the first 400 pages for "context". I really understood the world Brunner built, but it felt like he was condescending ("you're probably slow to understand this future, so let's stop the narrative and give you yet more contextual details"). It got to the point of overkill, and added little to the novel. I should have treated them like the "deleted scenes" on the dvd, and went back to them after if I wanted. - not an easy read. I enjoy a challenge, but this one is admittedly a bit of a monster. And I absolutely hated the party chapter - that almost made me abandon the book forever. At 30+ pages, this was the longest chapter in the book, and the absolutely most pointless. I didn't skim it, I read the whole thing and tried to connect the conversations to make sense of it. It wasn't worth the time I spent on it.Recommendations - go back to the early "context" chapter called "Read the Directions", and reread that about every 100 pages or so. - skim some of the chapters that seem pointless (never skim the "continuity" however). Later, near the end, go back and reread the "tracking with closeups" and perhaps some of the "context" if you skimmed them. - use wikipedia's page to get some details on what RUNG is, or Dahomalia, or Isola, or even MAMP.

  • Bettie☯
    2019-01-04 14:16

    John Brunner - Stand On Zanzibar (1968) [2011] Reader: Erik Bergmann UnabridgedRuntime: 21h 14mn 59sec Total Number of Audio Files: 120 Audio: MP3 1969 Hugo Winner; 1969 BSFA Winner; 1968 Nebula NomineePublisher's Promo: Norman Niblock House is a rising executive at General Technics, one of a few all- powerful corporations. His work is leading General Technics to the forefront of global domination, both in the marketplace and politically - it's about to take over a country in Africa. Donald Hogan is his roommate, a seemingly sheepish bookworm. But Hogan is a spy, and he's about to discover a breakthrough in genetic engineering that will change the world...and kill him.Plot help from wiki: The story is set in 2010, mostly in the United States. A number of plots and many vignettes are played out in this future world, based on Brunner's extrapolation of social, economic, and technological trends. The key main trends are based on the enormous population and its impact: social stresses, eugenic legislation, widening social divisions, future shock, and extremism. Many futuristic concepts, products and services, and slang are presented. A supercomputer named Shalmaneser is an important plot element. The Hipcrime Vocab and other works by the fictional sociologist Chad C. Mulligan are frequent sources of quotations. "codder" (man),"shiggy" (woman), "whereinole" (where in hell?), "prowlie" (an armored police car), "offyourass" (possessing an attitude), "bivving" (bisexuality, from "ambivalent") "mucker" (a person running amok).A lyric prose that is great fun to listen too; I suspect that the listening is better than reading. 3*Dog-sitters, novice knitters, new adults recommendations:4* Snow Crash3* Ready Player One3* Mr Penumbra's 24-hour BookstoreTR Hacker3* Stand on Zanzibar