29 Following


Currently reading

The Theory of the Leisure Class (Modern Library Classics)
Thorstein Veblen, Alan Wolfe
Make Room! Make Room! - Harry Harrison In 1966, Harrison published this tale of the New York City of 1999. Unrestrained population growth and gluttany of natural resources have led to a world packed to bursting with people. There are riots over cracker crumbs, you have to pay up-front to get a job, and people live packed like sardines. The novel follows a few characters: Andy Rusch, a detective assigned to solve the murder of a politically-connected racketeer, and Billy Chung, whose panicked attempt to make money end disastrously. The real thrust of this story is on the city, and the pathetic lives of those living in it.

The strength of this novel is in the little details: the sliver of grey soap Andy uses every morning, the unremarked use of slates (presumably because there is too little paper for every-day use), the way Andy has never tasted whiskey before (because grain is too precious), someone being proud of going to the "full three years" of school. Harrison writes the slow grind of scarcity and being constantly surrounded by other people so well that I found myself getting tense every time I opened the book.