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by Harry Harrison


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Make Room! Make Room! is a 1966 science fiction novel written by Harry Harrison exploring the consequences of unchecked population growth on society. It was originally serialized in Impulse magazine.

Make Room! Make Room! is a 1966 science fiction novel written by Harry Harrison exploring the consequences of unchecked population growth on society.

Harry Harrison Make Room! Make Room! To TODD and MOIRA For your sakes, children, I hope this proves to be a work of fiction. In part, this is directly due to the population explosion - people are being born at a faster rate than they are dying. But population growth also.

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Make Room! presents a gripping scenario of where current trends may be leading. Such scenarios are important tools in helping us to think about the future, and in bringing home to people the possible consequences of our collective behavior

Make Room! presents a gripping scenario of where current trends may be leading. Such scenarios are important tools in helping us to think about the future, and in bringing home to people the possible consequences of our collective behavior. When such a serious goal can be achieved through an engrossing work of fiction we are doubly rewarded. Thank you, Harry Harrison. From the other side of the thin partition that divided the room in half there came a clanking whir that quickly rose to a high-pitched drone.

HARRY HARRISON IS ONE OF SCIENCE FICTION’S MOST PROLIFIC AND ACCOMPLISHED CRAFTSMEN. Though the Americans are. A Stainless Steel Trio (Stainless Steel Rat,

Author: Harry Harrison. Publisher: Doubleday, 1966.

Make Room! Make Room! Annotation. Author: Harry Harrison. Sometime in the dark future of urban jungles, riots, food shortages, and senseless violence, a cynical New York City detective embarks on a desperate hunt for the truth.

Sometime in the dark future of urban jungles, riots, food shortages, and senseless violence, a cynical New York City detective embarks on a desperate hunt for the truth. Reprint.

Comments: (7)

Bliss
Recently, for reason on which I cannot quite put my finger, I’ve been reading books from which some of my favorite SF movies have been made, particularly from my younger days. In the past few years I’ve read Logan’s Run, A Clockwork Orange, and, now, this book which is the basis for the Charlton Heston/Edward G. Robinson movie Soylent Green. Typically, I avoid this, since the book is always better and I don’t want the books to ruin my movie experience. However, I’ve come to realize that I’m better able than I thought to separate the book and movie, and these books are excellent.

It’s clear from reading Harrison’s novel where the movie comes from; and yet, there are significant differences, most notably in the nature of soylent green. Still, the basic premise is there: in an overcrowded nation, a cop searches for the murderer of one of New York City’s elite. The detective, Andy Rusch, lives in a small apartment with Sol, an older man who yearns for the days before scarcity.

As I expected, the story of the novel is much more involved and layered than the movie. In the novel, we get to know the story of the murderer and his part in this hard world. Also, Andy develops a long term relationship with Shirl, the girl who was originally in a relationship with the murdered man. Most importantly, perhaps, we see a world where overcrowding and overuse of resources is leading to destruction (written long before these things became a modern political touchstone).

In the end, this is a very good novel. Though I still enjoy the movie immensely, it hits very different notes from its source material. There is value in experiencing both.
Dodo
Knowing that this book was the basis of the movie “Soylent Green,” I expected a very different book. While I haven’t seen the movie “Soylent Green,” I--like everybody not living under a rock--knew that the movie’s big twist was that “Soylent green is people!” Meaning, society has unwittingly been led into cannibalism.

I wouldn’t so much categorize “Make Room! Make Room!” as dystopian science fiction as I would a detective story that happens to take place in a Malthusian dystopia. (For those unfamiliar with the work of Thomas Malthus, he predicted a massive crash resulting from the fact that human population in his day [18-19th century] was growing much faster than food production and resource discovery. Some dismiss Malthus as a doom-and-gloomer who was unable to foresee that great technological breakthroughs would make it possible for humanity to support its growing numbers. Others, like Harry Harrison, have maintained that it’s merely a matter of time before humanity outstrips its resources and Malthus’s prediction is vindicated.)

While the story is about a detective investigating the death of a wealthy businessman/criminal and said officer’s love affair with the deceased man’s girl, Malthus’s idea sets the tone of this novel. Written in 1966, “Make Room! Make Room!” describes the world of 1999 as one in which food and drinking water are in scarce supply. Harrison predicted the population would then be 7 billion. He was off a bit. The population in 1999 was closer to 6 billion. While we have presently reached 7+billion, we aren’t surviving off SOYbeans and LENTils (SOY-LENT, get it) for protein.

It’s probably good that the story is about crime and romance, because when it becomes too focused on the Malthusian dystopia—rather than letting it play in the background and give the story a visceral edge—the book can be a bit preachy. This is best exemplified by the brief diatribes of Sol, the protagonist’s roommate and the character that occasionally drags us out of this fictional story and into a lecture on the dangers of unchecked population growth. Such brief lectures might have been well worthwhile if the author (and Malthus) had been correct, but they read a bit alarmist in the wake of both men’s overreaction (or incorrect timelines?) Readers with strong feelings on the subject of birth control may find that issue positively or negatively impacts one’s perception of the book depending upon one’s stance on the issue, but most will find it to be just an another issue that dates the work.

If this had just been about the 1999 Malthusian dystopia, it might be so dated as to be unreadable today. However, the story is more timeless than that—if with an inescapable retro feel.
Kinashand
Very well written. A page turner and interesting as well as exciting. Downside? Unfortunatly I think that " Soylent Green" may have been better. The relationships as well as discriptions in this book were amazing, however over all plot concept didn't really go anywhere. The focus was on over population and how the world got that way, rather than on an end result or exactly what society's solution was to try to fix the problem (as in the movie). Kinda sad when you think the movie is better than the book. I'd suggest reading the book before watching the movie. The movie ruined the book for me. I liked the political angle more in the book, but again I didn't feel that these relationships really went anywhere. In the end I was asking myself "what was the point?" Almost as if he didn't know how to end it, or he became bored with it, or he got sick and couldn't finish it. I could see how this book was a hit for it's time the classic dystopian society concept, yet in the end I was somewhat disappointed.
Felhann
Written in 1966 about the possible future of New York City in 1999, this gritty and grim novel follows the lives of a hard-working police detective, a discontented teenager who immigrated from Formosa as an infant, and a young woman who depends on her beauty and the men it attracts for her room and board, as they try to survive in an overpopulated and under-resourced world. These characters are likeable yet realistically imperfect and sometimes disagreeable. Fortunately, this particular future has not come to pass because of many changes the author did not foresee: widespread use of birth control and family planning, advances in agricultural production, more options for women to be independent, and more. Yet it made me think about those all over the world who live in crowded slums or worse, and all the problems we have not yet solved.
Make Room! Make Room! download epub
Science Fiction
Author: Harry Harrison
ISBN: 0553564587
Category: Science Fiction & Fantasy
Subcategory: Science Fiction
Language: English
Publisher: Spectra (May 1, 1994)