Make Room! Make Room!

Make Room! Make Room!

eBook - 2010
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Movie lovers might recognize Make Room! Make Room! as the basis for the 1973 film Soylent Green, which starred Charlton Heston. While Soylent Green has become a cult classic, fans of the novel have taken issue with its interpretation of what Harrison was really trying to say. Concerned about audiences losing interest, the creators of the film made cannibalism and not overpopulation (as it is in the book) the thematic focus of the story. As a result, fans of the movie and critics alike may want to visit the story in its original unbowdlerized form. Make Room! Make Room! is set in the year 1999 and the world has become a grim and terribly overpopulated place, bleak and foreboding. This sets the premise for Harrison's novel, and fans of his earlier more comic works may be surprised at the seriousness of this novel. Although Harrison's fears did not become a reality for the inhabitants of New York or the rest of the United States, the novel remains nonetheless a gripping, thought-provoking work about privacy, deprivation, and desperation. A teeming New York City and a detective's pursuit of a killer and nefarious racketeer comprise this novel. While the novel contains elements of classic detective fiction--the hard-boiled protagonist, the seductive mistress, the portraits of corruption and perfidy--Harrison's true concern is less the story itself and more the opportunity the story offers to give the reader a glance at a dismal and broken world. The state of overpopulation has altered life in innumerable ways, and Harrison is keenly interested in documenting the catastrophic effects of this burden on all human relationships.
Publisher: [United States] : RosettaBooks : Made available through hoopla, 2010
ISBN: 9780795311659
0795311656
Branch Call Number: eBook hoopla
Characteristics: 1 online resource
Additional Contributors: hoopla digital

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thomd
Jul 29, 2015

Author Harry Harrison wrote in 1984 about the technique of background-as-foreground - the story for the main characters is really a means to capture the readers attention and draw them to the greater truth of the setting. He uses this to great effect in Make Room! Make Room!

This novel shows what the world will be like "if we continue in our insane manner to pollute and overpopulate Spaceship Earth." The observed limitations of oil and aquifers play right alongside the conflict between farmers and city dwellers. Disease plays only a small role here, but then the scope of the novel is roughly 6 months.

The main character is a policeman, with side stories covering his target and a judge who influences his duties. These characters and the various side characters are well described and interesting, and only once (towards the end of the book) does the story digress into a few pages of exposition as Sol rants about birth control and sustainable development.

As you probably know, this book was appropriated and turned into a movie. Well, some of it was. Harry Harrison wrote all about it in an article published in Omni, which fortunately lives online here - http://www.iol.ie/~carrollm/hh/soycan... The book of course doesn't contain cannibalism, and when Soylent shows up, it is where it makes more sense - Soy and Lentil steaks.

All in all, a really excellent book. Though published nearly 50 years ago, it is still quite relevant today, and a very good read. Recommended!

mrmervis Jul 11, 2013

A great story with engaging characters. Some of the politics is still relevant today.

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