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The Sheep Look Up (1972)

de John Brunner

Altres autors: Mira la secció altres autors.

MembresRessenyesPopularitatValoració mitjanaMencions
1,443319,587 (3.97)56
An enduring classic, this book offers a dramatic and prophetic look at the potential consequences of the escalating destruction of Earth. In this nightmare society, air pollution is so bad that gas masks are commonplace. Infant mortality is up, and everyone seems to suffer from some form of ailment. The water is polluted, and only the poor drink from the tap. The government is ineffectual, and corporate interests scramble to make a profit from water purifiers, gas masks, and organic foods. Environmentalist Austin Train is on the run. The Trainites, environmental activists and sometime terrorists, want him to lead their movement. The government wants him in jail, or preferably, executed. The media wants a circus. Everyone has a plan for Train, but Train has a plan of his own. This suspenseful science fiction drama is now available to a new generation of enthusiasts.… (més)
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» Mira també 56 mencions

Es mostren 1-5 de 31 (següent | mostra-les totes)
I don't think this aged as well as some of the other landmarks of early dystopian science fiction. The whole thing feels like a very strong reflection of the post-Silent Spring, mid-Vietnam zeitgeist of its publication date of 1972. It's of some interest as a sort of historical document; a vivid depiction of an apocalypse that never came to pass. At the same time, though, all the detailed descriptions of specific threats make the whole thing feel quite dated. We might still have an apocalypse, but it won't be this one.
There are some good notes. The characters are sketched out well enough that I managed to keep track of almost all of them despite an absurd amount of jumping around to different viewpoints. And some themes still feel relevant today, like the way that environmental pressures put extra strain on race, class, and national tensions. Unfortunately, the depiction of race interactions is so clumsily antiquated that we're right back to feeling the age of the text.
It suffers from a number of non-age-related flaws as well. The plot loses its way pretty badly in the middle. Around the same time, the book starts to lean very heavily on a particular narrative device that I would have found exceedingly clever when I was in middle school but not at any point after that. I can respect this as an important work of its time, but I did not enjoy it as a book. ( )
  iangreenleaf | Jan 26, 2021 |
Gah, dystopian fiction is so depressing; yet when it's done well, it is such a good read. This is one such book. It came up on my Goodreads recommendations, and I'm surprised I hadn't encountered it before, since I've been reading a lot of science fiction & futuristic fiction in the past few years. I hadn't read or heard anything about the author before, which usually makes me a little wary. However, once I started this book, I didn't want to put it down.

In the novel, a company called Bamberly Hydroponics has created and is distributing a food product called Nutripon. Several batches of it are sent overseas as humanitarian aid; shortly thereafter, terrible sickness and mental illness strikes those countries. Meanwhile, the pollution and contamination are growing stateside; the water supply, being diverted from rural areas into the city, is recycled without proper sanitation and perpetuates a cycle of sickness that is deadly for the very young, very old, and poor; acid rain, crop failures, and transmissible disease compound the problems. Still, the wealthy business owners, such as Mr. Bamberly and his officers deny any implication of wrongdoing in the nationwide problems.

This book chronicles one year in an ambiguously future America; technology is not described at length, but the economy is faltering, food supplies are either contaminated or prohibitively expensive, air quality is so poor that you cannot be outside without a filtermask for more than a few minutes, the rich are getting richer and the poor getting poorer. It all seems so conspiracy theoretic, but on second glance, it's not too hard to see our own situation growing into this chaotic state -- the "Puritan" health food craze, the use of military force in developing countries, the manipulation of food and water supplies, the corporate zeal for profit at the expense of humanity.

This is one of those books akin to "1984" -- you shake your head and think, "That will never happen here," -- yet it is happening all around you. ( )
  resoundingjoy | Jan 1, 2021 |
El rebaño ciego está escrita en 1972, y eso hay que tenerlo presente a lo largo de la novela, muchas veces, porque parece una novela escrita el año pasado. John Brunner (1934–1995) construye aquí un vasto mosaico de lo que puede llegar a ser el mundo si se sigue abusando de la contaminación desaforada.

Entendámonos. No llega del todo a ser un libro catastrofista al estilo “arrepentíos pecadores”, y al mismo tiempo nos muestra el peor panorama posible para la raza humana en un mundo gris, contaminado, tóxico y dañino. La novela narra las vidas de unas decenas de personajes que intentan básicamente sobrevivir en unos EE.UU. (el autor es británico) donde hace mucho tiempo que no se puede ir a la playa, donde hace demasiado tiempo que no se puede salir a la calle sin mascarilla, donde las plagas son inmunes a la inmensa mayoría de los insecticidas, que de tanto usarse mal las han inmunizado. Un mundo horrible, muy bien descrito, sin sentimentalismos, son simples descripciones de cómo son (serían, según el autor) las cosas.

La novela gira en torno a Austin Train, sin llegar a él, pues aparece muy poco. Austin Train es un ecologista al que la sociedad ha puesto en el ojo del huracán sin que él mismo estuviera muy por la labor. Miles de personas se autodenominan los trainitas y emprenden acciones de guerrilla urbana por todo el país, para intentar que la gente deje de usar coches que contaminan, o que dejen de usar productos en cuya elaboración se contamina más de la cuenta.

Uno de los pasajes tragicómicos de la novela tiene lugar cuando un grupo de trainitas secuestra al hijo de una multinacional y como único castigo le dan a beber agua del grifo. Esto equivale casi a condenarlo a muerte.

El único fallo “clamoroso”, a pesar de tratarse de una novela, es que el autor habla de que de un tiempo a esta parte cada vez hay más terremotos en Denver, dejando caer que se debe a la mano del hombre. Ni siquiera en una obra de ciencia ficción soft queda bien.

Por lo demás, cuesta a veces seguir la vertiginosa historia, que salta con enorme vitalidad entre personajes que al principio nada tienen que ver entre ellos. Pero está muy bien escrita y el autor da multitud de argumentos –sin darlos explícitamente, sino describiendo sus efectos en un futuro cercano– para poner cuidado en el uso que hacemos de los recursos naturales. Es un libro ecologista escrito cuando Greenpeace estaba aún en pañales.

Mejor aún, viendo el estupendo estilo de esta novela, a uno le entran muchas ganas de leer otros libros del mismo autor como Todos sobre Zanzíbar, sobre la superpoblación mundial, y El jinete de la Onda de choque (1969), en el que se profetiza, cosa muy poco común, la aparición del ordenador personal y se habla de “hiperenlaces” y “multimedia”. Recuerden, 1969. ( )
  Remocpi | Apr 22, 2020 |
This is an early predecessor of today's cli-fi subgenre, exploring the landscape of environmental disaster. I wanted to experience the eerie prescience of its 1972 vision: a future in which the environment's total collapse is imminent, but the American president is too obsessed with political gamesmanship and keeping out immigrants to care. The signs of that collapse ramp ever up and up: smog and oxygen masks, skin rashes, tainted drinking water, birth defects, poisoned seas and oceans, antibiotic resistance, vermin invasions, epidemics ... all that I could find missing is rising temperatures and sea levels.

Brunner worked on a near future scale, with the obvious consequences fifty years on, and this is very much a product of the 1970s. I suspect he researched women's inner lives, for example, by reading Playboy magazine aided largely by the pictures. Value remains in his message: a novel centered on the topic of man-made environmental disaster speaks louder to us today than does most of his other work. When one of his characters says "You can't blame the people who can't hear the warnings; you have to blame the ones who can, and who ignore them", in the 2020s it's not difficult to read the former as his contemporary readers, and the latter as potentially us.

The novel's general population seems ignorant or uncaring of the links between human activity and the chaos they suffer under, even though these links are very direct and obvious. In place of UN environmental talks, street demonstrations and Greta Thunberg, they have only terrorists and survivalists. Brunner is telling us that if we don't prioritize the environment when influencing our political sphere, nothing meaningful enough will be done. We might congratulate ourselves in a relative sense, if we ignore how uncomfortably close Brunner's vision nears as we continue to dither. It's held back from being a classic for being too much of its time, but that time has not yet entirely run out. ( )
3 vota Cecrow | Mar 29, 2020 |
The original environmental dystopia - like a car wreck you can't look away from. Well written and disturbing in it's correspondence to our world today. ( )
  SirCrash | Jan 13, 2020 |
Es mostren 1-5 de 31 (següent | mostra-les totes)
"A complex tragic masterpiece. John Brunner is the Rachel Carson of science fiction."
 

» Afegeix-hi altres autors (6 possibles)

Nom de l'autorCàrrecTipus d'autorObra?Estat
John Brunnerautor primaritotes les edicionscalculat
Freeman, IrvingAutor de la cobertaautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Pukallus, HorstTraductorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Rubin, MarkAutor de la cobertaautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Salwowski, MarkAutor de la cobertaautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Siudmak, WojtekAutor de la cobertaautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
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PLEASE HELP
KEEP PIER CLEAN
THROW REFUSE OVERSIDE
- Sign pictured in God's Own Junkyard, edited by Peter Blake
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To
ISOBEL GRACE SAUER (née. ROSAMOND)
1887-1970
IN MEMORIAM
Primeres paraules
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Hunted?
By wild animals?

In broad daylight on the Santa Monica freeway? Mad! Mad!
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You can't blame the people who can't hear the warnings; you have to blame the ones who can, and who ignore them.
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(Clica-hi per mostrar-ho. Compte: pot anticipar-te quin és el desenllaç de l'obra.)
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Wikipedia en anglès (1)

An enduring classic, this book offers a dramatic and prophetic look at the potential consequences of the escalating destruction of Earth. In this nightmare society, air pollution is so bad that gas masks are commonplace. Infant mortality is up, and everyone seems to suffer from some form of ailment. The water is polluted, and only the poor drink from the tap. The government is ineffectual, and corporate interests scramble to make a profit from water purifiers, gas masks, and organic foods. Environmentalist Austin Train is on the run. The Trainites, environmental activists and sometime terrorists, want him to lead their movement. The government wants him in jail, or preferably, executed. The media wants a circus. Everyone has a plan for Train, but Train has a plan of his own. This suspenseful science fiction drama is now available to a new generation of enthusiasts.

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Mitjana: (3.97)
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