The Space Merchants

Review: “The Space Merchants” by Frederik Pohl & C. M. Kornbluth

Thumbs up for The Space Merchants by Frederik Pohl and C. M. Kornbluth. Science fiction.

This one was in the top fifteen of a “Best Classic Science Fiction Novels” list I am working through (I need a project in my reading, or else I’ll be too scattered: as you may have noticed). I was sucked in from the first page and read happily all the way through, feeling undistracted by the other fine things in my “current reading” pile, which is a high compliment. While there’s enough thought here that this could qualify as a dystopian novel, it’s also hugely enjoyable on a lighter level as a satire of the advertising business. A fast read, with some big twists and turns you wouldn’t guess at.

“‘I’m going to ask you to spend the morning and afternoon with one of the world’s great lyric poets: a girl named Tildy Mathis. She doesn’t know that she’s a poet; she thinks she’s a boss copywriter. Don’t enlighten her. It might make her unhappy.
    “Thou still unravish’d bride of quietness,
    Thou foster-child of Silence and slow Time–“
That’s the sort of thing she would have written before the rise of advertising. The correlation is perfectly clear. Advertising up, lyric poetry down. There are only so many people capable of putting together words that stir and move and sing. When it became possible to earn a very good living in advertising by exercising this capability, lyric poetry was left to untalented screwballs who had to shriek for attention and compete by eccentricity.'”

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