Friday, September 24, 2010

The Hugos: Stand on Zanzibar

I gave the Hugo winner for 1969 2 stars out of 5 on Goodreads.  

Pointless even doing the review, right?  I mean, that's a pretty low rating that says: it was o.k.  

That's MY bad.  I like fun, sexy sci-fi.  Short, swift books (ideally comics) where guys with atomic powered rockets visit exotic worlds and teach alien women how to LOVE!  Or robots.  To love.

But, see, this was not a book built for fun, sexy times.  John Brunner took home the Hugo in the summer of love by reminding everybody that free love in 1968 equals 7 (with a Capital B) Billion hungry hat-wearing monkeys in 2010.  It's called 'Stand on Zanzibar' because that's where we'd have to stand shoulder to shoulder so as not to drown, unlike the metaphorical 3 Billion standing there with a joint in each hand on the Isle of Wight back in the sixties.

Anyway, what was Brunner so worried about?  Here it is, 2010 already, and we've ONLY got 6.8 Billion peeps!  See?  What's 200 Million less of us between friends?  And we COULD have had it down to 6.5 if condoms weren't so sinful!  And break-y!

Brunner's characters of 2010 are selfish, drugged up, semi-illiterate jerkholes and his predicted world is a worn-out misery.  So, overall pretty accurate!  Just not any fun contemplating.

Overpopulation is a controversial subject, of course, and I shouldn't treat it so flippantly.  I guess it comes down to trying not to breed beyond your means if you like having air and water. 

Brunner's 'The Sheep Look Up' continued his wallowing bleak-fest with a look at how Earth's ecology will fail before we'll notice we're dead.  Oh, oh, stop!  My sides!  This guy!  Ha! (wipes eyes)

I kid. Why am I so hard on Brunner?  Is it because prophets of doom are usually right and I can't think of any other response but to belittle his desperate efforts to educate us, possibly averting our hideous fate?  

Or is it because I love my species and I keep persisting in thinking we have turned out better than the often dystopian Hugos make us out to be?

I think it's because when I did an image search for this post I found a picture of a cute kitty!
See?  It bees okay.  (Sez da kitteh.)

What can I say?  I'm not profound.  I gotta watch 'The Good Guys' now.
Be magnificent!

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