The Classic Novel of an Overpopulated Future - Make Room! Make Room!

By Harry Harrison

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Readers` Reviews

★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
sushrut
Very dated material. If this story was based in China, might be more plausible. The population bomb is placed squarely at the feet of Christian Religion. China and India are not largely Christian, and the population in both places is overwhelming the systems. Kind of makes me wonder if the global warming folks should stop feeding the beast ( countries that have lax regulations ) and support American and European businesses that have been regulated to the point of extinction. If you buy TV's, shirts, shoes, etc. , etc., from places that pollute because of price please check your own conscience before you criticise the people who are now actually doing SOMETHING. Thanks for any effort you can make to drag much of the world into the new century. They will continue to ruin the world if we continue our free trade agreements. We need to insist that fair trade agreements include the protection of environmental resources in the countries that we do business with.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
yasmin
When I was about 16 years old I was at a Thanksgiving family gathering where I was talking with one of my uncles about our love of scifi and dystopia. It came out that though I had heard of Soylent Green I had not yet seen it. My uncle was so appalled that he took me to a local video rental store, he rented Soylent Green, and then proceeded to make the entire family watch it. I have since introduced it to others. About 8 years ago I found out that Soylent Green was in fact based on a book, and that this book is called "Make Room! Make Room!" Out of curiosity, I read some reviews to find out some of the differences between the book and the movie before reading the book. Last year I finally read, and ended up really enjoying "Make Room! Make Room!" It's a detective story set in an overly populated dystopian world. We get to learn more about this world and how it works than the movie covers. Soylent Green is basically taken from just the first part of "Make Room! Make Room!", but with less detail and the addition of the "soylent green is people" aspect, which was added to the movie out of concerns that audiences would lose interest. "Make Room! Make Room!" does an amazing job without the cannibalism. There is such a rich, in depth world in this book that kept me hooked. There are multiple POVs which allows us to explore and learn so much more about this society than I had expected. I don't always like multiple POVs but it worked quite well for this particular book. I am one who enjoys reading dystopian books where we get to know and explore the worlds, see how people live in that society, everyone is just going about there lives, and there's no revolution nor change by the end of the book. Sol was my favorite character in Soylent Green, and after reading "Make Room! Make Room!" my love of this character grew stronger as I got to know him better. I think that expecting "Make Room! Make Room!" to be so different than Soylent Green was helpful. Though I admit that Soylent Green wasn't as different as I though it would be, I feel it largely was a more shallow and less detailed version of what we find in the book, and like I said earlier, it was taken from just the first part of the book. I think that the lack of the "soylent green is people" aspect in the book was a great disappointment that some people have trouble with. Had I known about and read "Make Room! Make Room!" before I ever saw Soylent Green, I think I wouldn't have been able to love Soylent Green as much as I do.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
taweewat
Back in 1968, a book entitled The Population Bomb, written by Stanford University Professor Paul R. Ehrlich, fueled paranoia and help perpetuate the myth of overpopulation. Harry Harrison's visionary novel Make Room, Make Room preceded this non-fiction work, but capitalized on the urban overcrowding zeitgeist and he succeeded. The book at the core is a Sci-fi detective story with a murder to solve against a claustrophobic backdrop and insufferable temperatures and living conditions. Class issues and corruption don't fade with the future along with a seemingly senseless crime investigated by Detective Rusch, 12-A Precinct.

Many are critical of the Hollywood adaptation of the book that became the film Soylent Green, however, I am not one of them. In my opinion, this is a great example of where Hollywood made an improvement on the original source material. The adaptation of Make Room by screenwriter Stanley R. Greenberg (Who primarily wrote for television and scripted Skyjacked starring Charlton Heston) increased the suspense, played off the conspiratorial spirit indicative of the 70s and gave us one of the most memorable payoffs in cinematic history. "Soylent Green is People." We are not only being crowded off the edges of the earth, but standing in the breadlines (Soylent lines in this story) feeding on each other. Unwittingly cannibals in this hell on earth tale.

The book is good. The movie is good. Read and see both. You decide.

As I write this review, there are over 7 Billion people in the world and US population at 313,914,040. Los Angeles, where I reside, is 3,819,702. It's safe to say, the population bomb has stopped ticking. It was diffused and debunked a long time ago. Take solace in knowing that we can still exist without climbing over each other... literally not figuratively.

Relax. We still have elbow room... but not much, depending on your point of view.
The Forgotten Room :: Yo antes de ti / Me Before You (Spanish Edition) :: Blue Wide Sky (A Smith Mountain Lake Novel Book 1) :: 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die :: The Whispering Room: A Jane Hawk Novel
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
manxman27
Since the early 1800s we have known that population is growing faster than land is being created. There are about 4 billion hectares of arable land in the world. Historically it takes about 1/2 hectares of land to feed a person. With advances in technology, most of which use non-renewable resources such as fossil fuels for agricultural equipment and mining industrial waste for fertilizer, the amount of land required per person is about 1/4 hectares.

Population is increasing exponentially. Natural resources are dwindling. Most reviewers think of this as something that might have happened, the truth is the world is still moving toward this happening. We can't predict exactly when, thirty, fifty a hundred years from now the population/agricultural production curves will cross. Not might, will.

We might manage things better, plagues might get rid of a few percentage points of the population, we might develop some more new technology, genetically modified foods, maybe we burn down more rain forest and desalinization could be used to farm deserts, and create radical climate change. As long as population continues to increase no matter what we do the population/agricultural production lines will cross.

Harry Harrison wrote a story that captures this absolute eventuality very well.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
andrea barreras
It's clear by reading this book that Harry Harrison was an environmentalist. Maybe he was a `60s `be as one with the environment' hippy or perhaps he was just a forward-thinker. Either way, the book is filled with his prophesies of global collapse. He was pretty close in a couple of the predictions - he thought the world's population would hit the 7 billion mark in 1999 and the US population would be at 344 million. The other predictions were off but that's not to say they won't happen. The world Harrison created is one possible outcome of humanity's consuming tendencies.

The book is set in New York which has become a welfare state. In this world, most animals are now extinct because of us. Fresh water is hard to get and is doled out at filling stations in minute quantities. Regular showers are a thing of the past. Topsoil has mostly eroded and what farmers there are left are battling with the Government for water. Most people live on crackers and cannot afford much else. Nutrition deficiencies are apparent in most of the children now. There is very little work and even if you could find a job, the income tax rate is now at 80% to pay for those who don't work so no one really gets ahead. Crime is rampant with people doing what they must to survive.

The story follows Andy, a police detective. He lives with one roommate in a tiny apartment. He meets a woman named Shirl while he is investigating a murder. Her boyfriend's murder but she didn't do it - it was a senseless death that happened while someone was breaking into his home (another person just trying to get by). Since it was her boyfriend's place, she has to move out at the end of the month. Andy and Shirl get to know each other and he invites her to live with him. This doesn't last long.

There isn't a whole lot more to the story. There was nothing accomplished. No Government defeated. No adversity overcome. The human race didn't end. There wasn't even a happy ending for Andy. The story seemed to be a means of Harrison getting his point across that we are killing the planet and what's going to happen if we don't do something now. Good story but not great.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
apache
This book was disappointing to me when compared to the movie. It is usually the other way around but this time the book doesn't have a lot of the memorable parts of the movie. It was not as exciting & the characters are not as interesting. I liked the movie a lot. The book was well written enough to be pretty good if the comparison is not made but it was relatively dull & not at all like some dystopian books that are many of my favorites. The character development was okay, but I didn't have any real feeling of knowing or caring very much about the main characters.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
jessica n n
I was genuinely surprised and pleased by this book. I've been reading a lot of classic sci fi that has influenced classic films as of late with mixed results. The awful conditions are palpable, especially the overwhelming heat, and all of the major characters feel like real people with motives worth thinking about. The setting is also very convincing, mostly it's in the lower East side, near Union Square, and it seems as though the author knew NYC pretty intimately.
Also, a word of note: Charlton Heston's revelation isn't really a thing in the book. The end is satisfying, but don't read it waiting for him to reveal the truth about Soylent Green, like I did!
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
britney
... well told, and very interesting. I read mysteries rarely and sci-fi even less often, but this story kept me engaged. It's about all of us as lemmings, adhering to our ignorant superstition at our own peril to our ultimate destruction, but there are some serious parts too. If the consequences of pompous prudery and religious excess did not quite bring Armageddon by the turn of the millennium, as suggested, remember we're still a work in regress and other perils than overpopulation are in the waiting room. (Oddly, the census in the story set from 1999 into the new year - 300 million in the U.S. and 7 billion on earth - are approximately correct for today.)

I came upon the book by accident and like it well enough. If you appreciate thoughtful studies of grim futures without hope or solace - our just reward - then so might you.
★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
michael reynolds
I thought this was a terribly boring book for the given topic, not a whole lot going on at all and I felt like the main police case in the story was not really fitting. I hated the lead female role as she was weak and obnoxious, always complaining. The only thing I liked about it was the short discussions of how stupid humanity can be when it comes to not embracing birth control education and trying to reign in our rapidly growing population problem voluntarily before it becomes too large of an issue to solve. Other than that, this book dragged on about nothing for far too long.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
benjamin miller
In 1999, New York City suffers from overpopulation as 35 million people live there. The country as a whole is also struggling with population issues. In that environs Chinese American Billy Chung lives in the floating slums of New York Harbor. During a food riot, Billy escapes with meat that he sells so that he can fund his effort to become a telegram delivery person. During a delivery, he finds an apartment that looks easy to break into, which he does. However the occupant is home and Billy kills "Big" Mike O'Brien.

Since O'Brien was connected, the overworked NYPD assigns Andrew Rusch to solve the case immediately just in case this was a professional hit. However, clues lead Andrew to believe Billy killed the victim. Meanwhile Andrew meets O'Brien's girlfriend Shirl and soon she moves in with him and his roommate Sol. Billy flees to Brooklyn, where he finds sanctuary with Peter, a religious fanatic. Andrew finds and kills tracks Billy. Shirl is gone and the brass punishes him over the O'Brien case as their intended solution changed and he failed to keep up with that.

Apparently this novel was the basis for the movie Soylent Green. MAKE ROOM! MAKE ROOM! is an interesting reprinting of a 1966 cautionary tale that using theories of Malthus and Ehrlich ("The Population Bomb") which warned of the impact of overpopulation on the food supply and the environment. The story line stars everyday people trying to survive in a dying world with no hope for the future; in fact the only person with aspirations beyond his next meal is the young thief. Well written and exciting, part of the fun is to see how close Harry Harrison was in predicting the world of 1999.

Harriet Klausner
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
henrik
I picked this up because I love genre mixtures such as this book's blend of crime with speculative fiction, and also because I was curious to see what relation it bore to the film (Soylent Green), which is based on it. The book is a very direct representation of the concerns of its time -- namely overpopulation and environmental degradation. It's set in Manhattan (and one portion in Brooklyn) thirty years into the future, during the summer and winter of 1999. The city is home to some 35 million people (a figure currently surpassed by the Tokyo-Yokohama metro area), everything from water to food to clothing is strictly rationed, and those with any wealth must travel with bodyguards. And while alcohol is certainly at a premium, proteins such as meat are even more so -- hence, "meateasies" as opposed to "speakeasies."

Against this backdrop we meet NYPD detective Andy Rusch, whose job is largely futile, and whose personal life consists of a shared apartment with an spirited elderly man named Sol. We also meet street kid Billy Chang, whose ill-advised attempt at burglary leads to murder -- a murder that Rusch gets assigned to investigate. The dead man is some kind of mob-connected bigwig, and the politicians who are in bed with the mob want some clarity as to whether it was a hit from a rival gang or not. The corruption is left more or less implied, and it's kind of nice that it's left mainly as background context, while Rusch attempts to pound the pavement in his almost soleless shoes to find an answer. What he does find is the murdered man's arm candy, Shirl, who is a beautiful young woman tying to survive using her looks.

The story kind of follows familiar noir themes thereafter, and you know nothing is going to turn out well for anyone. It's a textbook example of a writer using genre as framework for a larger message. The crime story is completely incidental -- the real meat of the book is overpopulation, lack of birth control, lack of research in environmental consequences of consumption, etc. Unfortunately, a lot of this comes in the form of direct rants from Sol, which are fairly clumsy info/editorial dumps and not even all that necessary. The depiction of the desperation in the streets, water riots, and such, all paint a vivid enough picture that the reader is well able to make the connections on their own, without the in-your-face monologues.

On the whole, it's kind of interesting, but a bit tepid. The plot of the film is somewhat different, and the book doesn't turn people into food.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
caroline sheedy
Make Room! Make Room! is a 1966 science fiction novel by Harry Harrison. Set in a vastly overpopulated New York City of the future, it is, on the surface, a whodunit, although it has particularly more to do with overpopulation, lack of resources, and the societal effects of such developments.

Harrison's writing is well-paced, his world is immersive, and his characters are well done, although it's awfully convenient how often they happen to run into each other in a city of 35 million people. His tone is fairly bleak, and it's obvious he's got a message to communicate. And his concerns about the amount of resources the U.S. consumes are still relevant.

To those familiar with Soylent Green, the film this novel inspired, know that that movie's creators went in an entirely different direction thematically. Charlton Heston's classic Soylent Green moment is nowhere to be found here. Harrison's theme is population control, specifically through birth control and sustainable development. Harrison bludgeons the reader over the head with this toward the end of the book, when the main character's roommate launches into a rather lengthy soliloquy on the birds and the bees, in which he sings the praises of preventative birth control. This is rather out of place, and reminiscent of the way Upton Sinclair presented his socialist propaganda at the end of The Jungle.

Make Room! Make Room! is a solid, entertaining science fiction novel, with a still-relevant social message.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
elizabeth craig
Very good, As someone who usually hates crowds this book struck a nerve. Claustrophobic. The book does not have my two favorite scenes from the movie; the book focusing instead on the overpopulated society.

The pacing is a little slower but allows you to really feel the grimness of the situation. Great ending. Very believable.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
matt heimer
This excellent little book is often compared to "Stand on Zanzibar" by John Brunner, which is a very lengthy, complicated book on a technologically oriented future. Harry Harrison's "Make Room! Make Room!" is more realistic to my eyes: the cities are vastly overpopulated and there are shortages of everything, including food and water. There isn't much technology and it almost seems like human culture has reverted, by necessity, to a simpler, regime of satisfying basic needs for food, shelter, etc. The situation is described well, and there is a neat plot to boot that revolves around a detective trying to solve a murder and his girlfriend. Don't look for happy scenes or happy endings in this well-written book. Written in the simple, straightforward style of Asimov and Simak, it constitutes a thoroughly enjoyable, if depressing, read that makes one wish for a sequel...
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
isabella
Soylent Green the classic movie is loosely based on this novel.

Every once in a while a story will stick with me and this is one of them. It is interesting to see what the future might look like.

Written in the1960's, it is a typical concept of what a bleak future mankind has created for himself. Just like Planet Of The Apes it looks at how man is destroying himself and everything around.

It is good read and commentary on how we better start taking better care of ourselves and environment.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
michael murdock
Written in 1966 and set in 1999. Detective Andy Rusch is a detective in New York, a city of 35 million people, working for a police department understaffed and overworked. When he begins investigating the murder of a man with important political connections, he finds himself doing twice as much work to finish an investigation that is soon forgotten by everyone else. Set against the backdrop of an overcrowded city (and world) with ever dwindling resources, this book is at its best in its descriptions of the desperation of the starving, essentially homeless citizens. We are drawn into the squallor and get a glimpse of the lengths people will go to survive. These compelling glimpses tie an otherwise pedestrian story together and make it an interesting read. The biggest weakness here is the sermonizing about the merits of birth control. While these concerns may have been valid at the time the book was written, the author's worst fears have not materialized, and birth control is now widely accepted and practiced, so that this book reads a bit like someone preaching to the choir. Over all, a diverting book, but certainly not the greatest distopia ever composed.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
nicolas
Soylent Green is one of those milestone films marking a shift in Hollywood's attitude toward science fiction. The new prestige was evident by the presence of Charleton Heston, Edward G. Robinson, and Joseph Cotten, all very heavy hitters in their day, renowned for dramatic performances in classic films. The end result was a new classic worthy of their names. I never bothered to read the novel until just recently, and based on the proverbial wisdom regarding literary adaptations, I expected the novel to be much better. That wasn't the case. It's a good enough book, for sure, but not particularly better than the movie. In this case, the novel and the film are two entirely different creatures, with the novel's focus on overpopulation serving as a jumping off point for the film's now iconic conspiracy. They concur only on less significant points, in that several character's names were retained (but not the central character); there's a subsistence diet manufactured from seaweed or soy bean, the production and distribution of which is managed by the government; there are riots and protests; a detective becomes involved with a beautiful woman who's provider was murdered; the murder weapon was a crow bar; and there's a scarcity of everything so that the concept of comfort is relative.

A major difference which changes the entire course of events and the impetus of the novel is that the murder was NOT the result of a contract killing to cover-up industrial cannibalism. Cannibalism isn't even a feature of this story at all, and was invented solely for the screenplay. I'm not giving anything away here by stating that the murder was incidental, a burglary gone wrong because a Chinese street urchin believed the apartment was empty. This is revealed early on, and because the victim was a man with some questionable associations, City Hall feared the possibility that a mobster could be expanding his territory. The powers-that-be then put pressure on the police force to solve the crime, to prepare themselves for a territorial war. That's the setup. In my opinion, the movie's plot was more layered, covering all of Harrison's points, and then some.

As a stand-alone read, it's a very good book, and I find myself looking back at it with fondness. The author has a fluid vivid style, and Harrison kept the tone relentlessly bleak. Little things are thrown in, in passing, such as the moment Detective Rusch contemplates buying a new razor -- IN THE FALL -- suggesting the numb acceptance of penury in every detail of existence. The investigations by the detective and the experiences of the young Chinese fugitive provide situations in which Harrison can detail the magnitude of displacement. He gives a lot of thought to the ramifications of shortages on different segments of the social order, especially the underbelly employing stinted resources in a constant hardscrabble. Existence is an endurance test most people are passing with a D minus. The novel drags you right down into it, and the closest the reader ever gets to peace is a sense of melancholy. Any disappointment I felt with the book was the result of my anticipation that the story would intersect in more important points with the film. But by the end, it didn't matter, and I'm glad I read it.
_________________________________________________________
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
ashley garver
Widely unread, I've only ever met one person who has heard of it, it was made into a film in the seventies - Soylent Green.

Make Room, Make Room tells of a future on the brink, over-populated and under-fed, where only the vey rich get food as we know it, and the rest get processed garbage, called Soylent, the most prized item of which is Soylent Steaks. Ruthless police enforce draconian laws on a desperate population whose daily struggle for food and shelter takes up their whole lives.

There is a central plot for the main character to follow, but quite frankly, I've forgotten it, so long is it since I read this book.

The reader discovers the truth about the source of the misleadingly named Soylent in the book's closing chapters, and may be amused to find The Netherlands portrayed as the Promised Land.

Richard Barlow
[email protected]
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
justin barnette
Harry Harrison is normally a funny writer so reading this book from him was a bit of a shock. It's not funny at all and rather depressing actually, the ending isn't all that happy and nothing has changed, society keeps plugging along on the same path to oblivion, people have lived and died and in the end it's all the same. No wonder why it was taken out of print. But by the same token, it'll be one of the best books you've ever read. For those who watch movies, the film Soylent Green was based on this but the main point of that movie doesn't even come into play here. If anything it's a love story disguised as a mystery story, showing how people still try to live and love with too many people crammed into too many creaking, cold and leaky apartment buildings, the measures the police have to do to survive along with everyone and it submerges you completely in this world that makes you glad that you can go outside and not have to withstand the crush of millions of people. One of the best books in this line of reasoning, a very similar and probably better examination of this (though not by much) would be Thomas Disch's 334 and for a wider look at the entire planet with too many people try John Brunner's Stand on Zanzibar. All three form some of the keystone books of thought on the matter of overpopulation in fiction and if you want to do even more exploring, look for The World Inside by Robert Silverberg, which I haven't read but I think deals with the same issues. Make room for it on your shelf today.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
brian liebenow
The only thing in common with the movie was the basic premise; over-crowding and depleted natural resources. Soylent anything was merely a scene setter.

So if you are looking for that gruesome shock value, go find a zombie book.

I found it to be especially interesting and revealing when you consider the book was written in 1964. Things we take for granted today (like birth control) were very controversial issues in '64.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
sheilla allen
Stunning commentary on a bleak possible future. A story without a happy ending. My only issue - I kept waiting for someone to discover that they were all eating human bits in their food, a la Soylent Green. Well, that never happens in the book. It's simply a slice out of an imagined terrible future time.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
maksim abovi
I love the movie Soylent Green, which is based on this book, and had heard that the book was substantially different than the movie. Many of my favorite ideas from the movie - the whole 'soylent green is people' concept, Sol's poignant suicide scene - are not present in the book; the plot lines are substantially different. Instead, the book develops a sensitive and beautiful relationship between the cop, Rusch, and the girl from the apartment, Shirl. These characters are exactly as they are in the movie, as are Sol and the police chief, but are more fully explored in the book. The background is the same dystopian vision of an overcrowded future. In the book I found this interesting backdrop used to tell a very realistic and somewhat bittersweet love story. Highly recommended.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
tamica
I wanted to read this book because the classic Sci Fi B-movie "Soylent Green" was supposedly based on it. Not having seen the movie I thought I would read the book before watching the DVD. The hook of the movie is the stunning realisation that "it's made of people!" but the book's plot is the investigation of a murder set in an unbelievably over populated City of New York. The only apparent similarity between the book and the movie is the word 'soylent', NOT 'soylent green' just 'soylent'. The phrase 'soylent green' does not appear anywhere in the book and nothing is made of people except the ever-present crowds.
In spite of the non-alignment with the movie, this is a pretty good book. I have enjoyed Harrison's writing before and his writing style is engaging as well as entertaining. The reader instantly sympathises with the main character, Detective Andrew Rusch, as he wakes up to yet another scorching day in the population choked city. The most entertaining part of the book is not really the murder mystery but rather the gritty reality of living in a city where nearly every essential to living is in dangerously short supply. Particularly interesting was how well Harrison depicted the cancer of apathy that infected an overwhelmed bureaucracy. That apathy is only set aside for one case when the murder of a high-ranking mobster causes the politicos to pressure Rusch's superiors to find the murderer.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
eric herron
Actually better then the film is an understatement, the book is filled with a dread that never lets up even now you can sense some truths in it. No big plot lines just a few well written characters living their life in a hard environment the best way they could.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
bhavesh
In the 1970s, many science fiction writers (Asimov included) were concerned about overpopulation, and it's effects on the planet. Make Room Make Room is Harry Harrison's take on this world gone amuck. The book is Science Fiction at it's best - not just technology as a background, but science as a premise. Outstanding reading by one of the grand masters of the genre. Perhaps the book received it's audience from the movie Soylent Green, but this reader has not seen the movie to compare. Value the book on it's own!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
miranda
This book comes from a time when the environmental movement was just getting under way, and Paul Ehrlich's "The Population Bomb" enjoyed pride of place on the bookshelves of environmentalists everywhere. It was also a time when it was easier to discuss overpopulation without drawing charges of racism. In the book (presumably), and in the 1973 movie Soylent Green (definitely), most of the characters and people seen in the street are white, as they would have been in 1966 and 1973. Hence there was no need to discuss issues of immigration and demographic shift, which are closely linked to America's soaring population today. As a result, in both the book and the movie, the issue of overpopulation is completely de-ethnicized, which makes it a universal, human problem. For that reason alone everyone should either read the book or see the movie.
★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
r nathaniel fifer
I ordered this book because it was based on the movie Soylent Green, although it would turn out that it had little to do with the movie. "Make Room! Make Room!" is hopelessly outdated. Overpopulation is no longer a threat for America, in fact, throughout most of the Western world, depopulation is much more of a problem. This book not only failed to retain its relevance into the 21st century, but it is also a poorly written book. The motivations of the characters are never explained, and their personalities are never explored. Shirl, a major character in the book, is only described as beautiful. Descriptions of her past relationships with her father and her suitors are left out. This creates no emotional resonance for the reader when someone dies, or leaves.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
randah
Originally written back in 1966, the book has been put on the big screen with actor Charlton Heston as "Soylent Green". But whereas the movie told a terrible crime story of a government creating "food" from corpses, the book is basically a love story between young cop Andrew and top callgirl Shirl. Andrew lives in the cruel world of an over-populated New York with 35 million inhabitants, whereas Shirl uses her exceptional beauty to live with the "upper class". Both are led together by the assassination of Shirls "lover", that Andrew has to investigate, and they fall in love with each other. But love is luxury in an over-crowded world that isn't affordable anymore... Basically, a very sad and pessimistic story, but definitely a milestone in non-technical SF.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
sahar farah
"Make Room! Make Room!" is an excellent sci-fi novel which envisions our overcrowded future. It is a very entertaining read, with vivid characters and a neat premise. The book will make you realize how much you take simple things like drinking water and living with only your family members rather than strangers. I think this book needs to be reprinted, and am saddened that more books of this nature aren't written today.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
thewarinkansas
This novel was the basis for the 1973 sci fi classic SOYLENT GREEN. I would have to say that this is the one time where an adaptation is much better than the original novel; the film is a detective story; the novel just sort of wanders around so the author can show the disastrous effects of overpopulation. This is worth reading, but don't expect Soylent Green.
★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
dana
My less than stellar review is based on the ridiculous number of spelling and other editing errors. I don't know it is exclusively in the Kindle edition, but there was even a passage that made no sense, and then that same phrase showed up a paragraph later where it was supposed to be. I know the book was not expensive, but I still question if it was worth the money for such a poor quality edition.
★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
julie edwards
I read this book after seeing "Soylent Green" because it was the basis for the movie. The book is very different and I preferred the movie. While Harry Harrison is an excellent writer, the book dragged on and on. Where was the drama? Rather it was a love story set in the dirty overpopulated future NYC. And the ending left me with the bitter feeling of why did I spend my time reading this for it to end like that? I spent a considerable amount of time locating this book and I have buyers remorse.
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