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Biased and superficial Science Fiction reviews


Copyright 1980 by Harry Harrison

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SOJALS rating:     
one SOJALS point one SOJALS point one SOJALS point no SOJALS point no SOJALS point    Good (3/5)

I first read this on the 22nd August 2004.

Hundreds of years in the future in a rebuilt United Kingdom, Jan Kulozik is a top-flight computer engineer. His private life is one of luxurious privilege, but in his work he struggles with the incompetence of the workers who use and abuse the products of his skills.

A chance boating accident brings him face to face with unexpected and unpalatable truths about his culture. He learns that the world is different from what he had been taught, that it is a lot harder and tougher, nastier and more cruel than he had ever imagined.

His world has fusion, an FTL drive and interstellar colonies, but it also has millions of people living short, painful lives in misery under a system as evil as any in history.

Once he knows the truth, he is dragged into support for the revolution. But he has very little time to spend on his new mission, and little ime with Sara, the beautiful revolutionary. The secret police are are closing in.

Will the revolution succeed?

A short musical interlude is appropriate here.

On no, I can't find the early seventies revolutionary song on YouTube; I can't find my copy of the 45rpm vinyl single, and I can't remember the song title nor the band. But here's the first two lines of the song:

"Standing on the rooftops, waiting for a sign.
Pull your hand-grenade pin and I'll pull mine."

Anyone who can identify the title and the artist will get a free SF Reviews astronaut pen*. Email me at max@sfreviews.com with "song" in the subject line.

*Note that these are not NASA astronaut pens and the ink may have dried up. While stocks last.

To compensate, here's an entirely different piece of music: War performed by the great Edwin Star

Yes, it sounds like a rather predictable thriller, and that is how it starts. However as the book progresses its harsher undertone comes more to the surface and the ending is something of a shock. Well, not some much of a shock if you've read "1984", as Harrison must have, but still enough to make me write this review immediately rather than leaving it for a couple of weeks as I normally would. The book is well and simply written and I positively want to read the remaining two books in this twenty-five year-old trilogy. As I am writing this I finally remember that Harry Harrison wrote the 1963 novella "Make Room! Make Room!" which became the dystopian movie "Soylent Green". How could that have slipped my mind?

I recommend reading or re-reading this book, along with Orwell's superb "1984". These books remain relevant to our world today. Particularly so in this current climate of the War against Terror and as a reminder of various governments' forgetfulness about why the rights of all people, and not only their own citizens, must be respected.

Now I wrote this review back in June 2004, and it's now March 2005 and believe me, things haven't got any better.

It's now Janaury 2021 and, yup, much the same, possibly worse.

Loaded on the 20th January 2021.
Cover of Homeworld
Cover art by Peter Gudynas

Reviews of other works by Harry Harrison:
War With The Robots
Deathworld 2
Deathworld 3
In Our Hands, The Stars
One Step From Earth
Invasion Earth
Rebel In Time

Reviews of other works by Harry Harrison and Gordon R. Dickson:

Reviews of other works by Harry Harrison and Marvin Minsky:
The Turing Option