The Space Merchants, Paperback
4 out of 5 (11 ratings)

Description

It is the 20th Century, an advertisement-drenched world in which the big ad agencies dominate governments and everything else.

Now Schoken Associates, one of the big players, has a new challenge for star copywriter Mitch Courtenay.

Volunteers are needed to colonise Venus. It's a hellhole, and nobody who knew anything about it would dream of signing up.

But by the time Mitch has finished, they will be queuing to get on board the spaceships.

Information

  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Orion Publishing Co
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Science fiction
  • ISBN: 9780575075283

£8.99

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Reviews

Showing 1 - 5 of 11 reviews.

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Review by
4

Incredibly prescient and a damning indictment of our times.

Review by
2.5

This follows Mitchell Courtenay, and the television series <i>Mad Men</i> has nothing on this advertising executive of the future trying to sell the idea of colonizing Venus. This is a world where Advertising executives <i>are</i> the ruling class--and the rest of the gray mass are "consumers."OK, at the risk of being labeled a capitalist tool without a sense of humor, I have to admit I don't like this book, while seeing while it may appeal to some. This is a sharp satire of consumer culture and capitalism, and unlike many a science fiction work of its era, it's not too dated--some parts very current. I think because the critics of capitalism have been saying the same thing about it--and it's defenders--forever. I'm no fan really of the kind of books that make Big Business the villain, I'm rather sick of them and how predictable they read, but mostly I was amused not irritated in the first half--I found this particular passage...well, resonant of attitudes of some:<i>The Conservationists were fair game, those wild-eyed zealots who pretended modern civilization was in some way "plundering" our planet. Preposterous stuff. Science is <i>always</i> a step ahead of the failure of natural resources. After all, when meat got scarce, we had soyburgers ready. When oil ran low, technology developed the pedicab.</i>And the picture Pohl and Kornbluth painted of a dystopic society was imaginative--even if I was sick of the gazillionth novel that tells us our future is soy burgers--although this should be forgiven because back then it might have been original. This was published in 1952. What made me lose patience actually is when the authors gave us a bit of the Consies (the Conservationists) Samizdat. The rift on demanding "planning of population, reforestation, soil-building, deurbanization, and the end to the wasteful production of gadgets" *clutches etablet* made me think of the Unabomber's treatise--and these are obviously supposed to be the good guys. The novel just stopped being even a little bit fun for me after absorbing that. I think if it had stuck to a satirical view of selling Venus, I'd have enjoyed it more, and even mulled over its points more. I think Sayers' <i>Murder Must Advertise</i> is a funnier, and more effective, critique of the advertising world. Bottom line: I can't honestly say I like this novel, even though I could see recommending it to a friend who finds this worldview more congenial.

Review by
5

Reading this novel felt like an episode of Mad Men, played out on an old-time radio show, in the future. The Space Merchants is about a future where consumerism is king and Mitch Courtenay is tasked with selling a new product - Venus. The writing was easy to read and fast paced. I was never bored and the length of this book was just right. Coming in a only 158 pages, this novel was as long as it had to be. The details definitely date this book to the 1950's but that, in my opinion, is a large part of its appeal. The action was intense while the imagery was still vivid. I highly recommend this book to any sci-fi fans out there.

Review by
5

Love this book - 1950's sci-fi classic, so on the ball about advertising and Chicken Little 50 years out. Prescient. Found out Frederick Pohl, who is now in his 90s, blogs over at thewaythefutureblogs.com. Too much fun.

Review by
5

Perhaps this book is not so popular these days, but I love it nonetheless. It's has a lot to say about the despicable nature of marketing, which is great because I just hate marketing :) That said, it's a deep novel with lots of interesting characters. Highly recommended for fans of classic SF with a strong message.

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