:: Stand on Zanzibar is one of my favorite novels ::
a) Stand on Zanzibar is about overpopulation. if the entire world's population were to stand on Zanzibar, it would sink.
b) Stand on Zanzibar is about information. how is it processed? what does it really mean?
c) Stand on Zanzibar is about the evils and cupidity of corporatization. it is about how a corporation may be able to do a good thing, despite itself.
d) Stand on Zanzibar is about the evils and stupidity of the State. it provides many examples.
SCANALYZE: "brown-nose" is a casually derogatory term for blacks.
CAST INCLUDES: Norman House is a muslim african-american and a ruthlessly ambitious rising star in General Technics. in the early part of the novel, he acts quickly and sprays an amok terrorist's hand with liquid helium, causing it to freeze and then break off. later in the novel, he is given de facto control of the african country of Beninia, which is being taken over by his company.
:: this book made me angry at times ::
LOCATIONS INCLUDE: Beninia has somehow remained a neutral refuge throughout its history. it has resisted slavers, colonial forces, mass waves of immigrants, and many other external influences. its people are malnourished, poorly housed, and only marginally educated. there has not been a murder in Benina in over 15 years. its residents do not have a phrase to explicitly describe "losing your temper". instead they use a phrase that means "went temporarily insane". once, several years ago, in a different village, a boy saw a man "lose his temper" while arguing with his wife. everyone laughed at the man's outlandish behavior. so silly and so strange!
~ i lose my temper. it is one of my flaws. i say terrible things sometimes. ~
PROFILE OF NOVEL: Stand on Zanzibar was written by John Brunner in 1968. it is a New Wave science fiction novel about a future dystopia. it won the Hugo Award in 1969. it won my heart and mind in 1990. i just reread it.
PROFILE OF AUTHOR: John Brunner has written over 50 books. this novel was inspired by the cut-up technique of John Dos Passos' U.S.A. Trilogy. i was occasionally reminded of William S. Burroughs and Kathy Acker. and Robert Silverberg. and William Gibson. and the way my own mind processes information.
PROFILE OF NOVEL: according to my best friend wikipedia,
"Stand on Zanzibar was innovative within the science fiction genre for mixing narrative with entire chapters dedicated to providing background information and worldbuilding, to create a sprawling narrative that presents a complex and multi-faceted view of the story's future world. Such information-rich chapters were often constructed from many short paragraphs, sentences, or fragments thereof — pulled from sources such as slogans, snatches of conversation, advertising text, songs, extracts from newspapers and books, and other cultural detritus. The result is reminiscent of the concept of information overload."
SCANALYZE: "eptification" is a process in which the government can turn an ordinary man into a trained assassin.
CAST INCLUDES: Donald Hogan is a white american and a synthesist - a rather dilettante-ish position paid for by the government, in which the practitioner studies patterns in the mass flow of information. in the early part of the novel, his unwitting presence in a non-white ghetto inadvertedly causes a riot in which hundreds are hurt and a helicopter pilot is beaten to death. later in the novel, he is turned into a spy and sent to the angry country of Yatakang.
:: at times this book made me irritated and frustrated. ::
LOCATIONS INCLUDE: Yatakang is a military dictatorship along the lines of modern-day Pakistan. it was once a part of the Philippines, which is now called Isola. Yatakang hates the U.S. and is on the verge of U.S.-sponsored revolution. Yatakang is home to a brilliant and humane geneticist. this brilliant geneticist may be able to create super-children.
~ i am half-Filipino. i do not want children, super or otherwise. ~
1) due to overpopulation, nearly the entire world has severe restrictions around giving birth. people are obsessed with genetic make-up. if you have flaws in your genetic make-up, you are not allowed to have children.
2) overpopulation + ennui + a lifetime of frustration can equal many things, including the potential for murder & rape & incest. did you know that?
:: this book made me laugh a lot. a great sense of humor. malevolent, merciless, mordant wit. my favorite! ::
[Stand on Zanzibar can be an off-putting experience. many people do not like it. some find it challenging; some find it boring; some find it frustrating. it does not take it easy on the reader. it throws a lot of things the reader's way. the reader is given a mass amount of information to digest. can the reader find patterns in this information? does the reader even care?]
CAST INCLUDES: Shalmaneser is an all-knowing computer created by General Technics. is Shalmaneser growing consciousness?
SCANALYZE: "shiggies" are a common type of lady. to be specific, they are attractive, upscale, vaguely whorish young women with no permanent residence. they move or are passed on from guy to guy to guy. guys share shiggies. most young women appear to be shiggies. unless they are daughters, wives, or business leaders.
CAST UPDATE: Norman and Donald are roommates. one is full of cold anger and the other is full of passive idleness. they toke up together. they share shiggies. Norman likes the scandinavian babes and Donald likes the black hotties. the two go to a jail and then to a party together. the two have great and terrible things in store for them. later, they actually become friends. sorta.
@## what is "friendship" anyway? does anyone really know anyone? ##@
CAST INCLUDES: Begi is a Beninian folk figure. he is a trickster of sorts. he exists to punish the greedy, the pretentious, and other assorted pricks and assholes.
(i have too many favorite scenes in this novel to count. my favorite may be the riot. or it may be a party that turns out to be a colossal fail. another favorite may be the scene in which a trained assassin takes down a mucker.)
SCANALYZE: "muckers" run amok. overpopulation and other factors drive them insane. that insanity endows them with the strength of many and causes them to seek the immediate death of everyone around them. they are a sign of the times.
~ sometimes, in crowds, i feel like running amok. but i don't. whew! ~
[i have a Goodreads friend who didn't care for this book. he said the plot didn't start for over a 100 pages and all the random snippets of information became wearisome. sometimes i read his reviews and i wonder my God, does he even like reading? still, his opinion is a valuable one to me.]
CAST INCLUDES: GT Buckfast. Eric Ellerman. Chad Mulligan. Poppy Shelton. Guinevere Steel. Sheena & Frank Potter. Arthur Golightly. Stal Lucas. Sasha & Philip Peterson. Victor & Mary Whatmough. Elihu Masters. Gerry Lindt. Dr Sugaiguntung. President Zadkiel Obomi. Jogajong. Olive Almerio. Grace Rowley. Pierre & Jeannine Clodard. Jeff Young. Henry Butcher. Bennie Noakes. all of these characters have POV chapters. by the time the novel ends, ten are dead.
@## do you want to live forever? ##@
(the constant racist language against asians really bothered me. is this because i am half asian? the novel itself is not racist. quite the opposite.)
CAST INCLUDES: Bronwen Ghose does not have a POV chapter. if i have one critique, it is that Bronwen in particular deserved one. a moving character, and a very appealing, very attractive one as well.
PROFILE OF AUTHOR: John Brunner also wrote a book called The Sheep Look Up.
i love that title.
* Mr. and Mrs. Everywhere go everywhere... just for you! watch them from the comfort of your living room, on your television! they look just like you! *
Stand on Zanzibar should be read carefully, over time. there is too much going on, so you should go slow. i think if you read it too fast It May Become Like A Long Night With Too Much Coke And Too Many People And You Are Almost About To Lose It But You Don't Have Anywhere To Go So You Just Do Another Line And All Of A Sudden It Is Too Much But All You Can Do Is Smile Smile Smile And It Begins To Hurt And Your Brain Begins To Hurt And You Feel Like Freaking Out And Crying.
Stand on Zanzibar should be read quickly like a big rush of information just let it sweep all over you because you know that's what life is anyway just a big rush of random and not-random information so just take it all in like a good little sheep and maybe the information will eventually have some meaning or maybe not.
Stand on Zanzibar has a happy ending.
that is, if you consider a jarringly cynical ending
Stand on Zanzibar is one of the best science fiction novels ever written.
:: i bow before its genius ::