The Sheep Look Up pdf epub – Blockdiagramwiring.co
Why are all the dystopian novels I read in my teens coming true I have to keep reminding myself that this is science fiction from the 70s, not real life here and now Don t Drink notices warn people when the tap water isn t safe to drink The less fortunate are given synthetic food to eat, while the well to do pay top dollar at an organic food supermarket The President s dictum regarding the press is If the papers know what s good for them they ll print what s good for America 192 When I first read The Sheep Look Up, I enjoyed it as I did most science fiction as a work of pure imagination I didn t see that Brunner s dark vision of the future was a prophecy that I would see fulfilled I was too young and unaware Reading it again in December 2016 was a radically different experience I read it knowing that The people of Flint still cannot drink their water The only alternative to eating genetically modified food is paying top dollar for organic We just elected Tr Nope I still can t say it But this is what Brunner says in The Sheep Look Up there s an ingrained distrust in our society of highly intelligent, highly trained, highly competent persons One need only look at the last presidential election for proof of that The public obviously wanted a figurehead, who d look good and make comforting noises 336 337.Prophetic, right Hopefully it won t get as bad as it does in the novel But it s not easy to be optimistic Still no hallucinogens in the food though Believe it or not, this book was the assigned reading in a high school English class I took back in the late 70s Coolest teacher ever If you visit American city,You will find it very pretty.Just two things of which you must beware Don t drink the water and don t breathe the airHow often do I have to tell you You never go outside without your mask Brunner s book, published in the early seventies, has to be one of the earlier ecopocalypse novels His descriptions are stunningly prescient Take a look at his portrait of the Pacific Ocean The water looked like oil It was dark gray and barely moved to the breeze Along the edge of the sand was a rough demarcation line composed of garbage, mainly plastic Big signs read THIS BEACH UNSAFE FOR SWIMMING.It s not fiction any Lots of things there that you can drink,But stay away from the kitchen sink The breakfast garbage that you throw into the BayThey drink at lunch in San Jose. This book is a difficult read First, there is the thoroughly depressing subject matter REALLY BAD THINGS happen to grownups, children, and infants There are a ton of characters, some pop up only for a chapter or two Much of the narrative is disjointed and difficult to follow, particularly on an e reader But, stick with it You ll be horrified and outraged See the halibuts and the sturgeonsBeing wiped out by detergeons.Fish gotta swim and birds gotta fly,But they don t last long if they try. Corporate greed, riots, and epidemics there s a real ripped from today s headlines feel to this one, and it s not pleasant.I d take some Valium, but then the plastic container will end up in the ocean I suppose banging one s head against the wall is another option So go to the city,See the crazy people there.Like lambs to the slaughter,They re drinking the waterAnd breathing cough the airPollution by Tom Lehrer Stop you re killing me 0XDavid The Postman Brin says in the intro that John Brunner scared the crap out of people in the 60 s , well he scares the crap out of me today The label Science Fiction could be safely removed from this book as it is sadly becoming a realistic portrait of our very own moment in history A primal scream treatment for anyone who survived the dread and anxiety of the Bush years written 30 years before it occurred and a dreadful prophecy of the environmental grave we are digging for ourselves This is supposed to be a pitch black satire, a warning, which makes it even poignant This book seems to infect reality as you read it, I read about uncontrolled avalanches hitting ski resorts than hear about it on the radio the next day, food born illness hitting country wide and then peanuts Leaner and darker than Brunner s other magnum opus Stand on Zanzibar this nightmare needs to be read to be believed Trust me we are already living in its pages The Sheep Look Up is a prime example of Science Fiction at its scariestly prescient like that word, scariestly John Brunner portrays a world where the United States is run by a president who is eerily reminscent of George W Bush a complete idiot, a figurehead run by his cabinet and given to fighting many small wars The world is in the middle of an ecodisaster brought about by inexorable population pressure and the systematic abuse of chemicals Antibiotic resistant diseases are in full bloom, insects have evolved significant resistance to insecticides and are starting to overwhelm the huge industrial farmers, organized crime runs nearly everything as a shadow government looking out only for itself I mean, it is really spooky.On top of this general background, a load of food produced as one would imagine by an industrialist with political connections who makes a bundle on the deal is delivered to a small village in war torn Africa Upon eating it, the villagers go mad they die, kill one another horribly, have strange hallucinations The government blames the United States, of course, which blandly denies it and the book moves on to a stunning conclusion with all SORTS of plot that I m going to omit.When you first start to read this book it feels a bit odd Brunner uses a very strange literary style, one that he or less invented and used as far as I know only in two novels Stand on Zanzibar where it didn t work, at least for me and The Sheep Look Up, where it is pretty amazing His story consists of a staccato burst of short chapters presented as anything from straight prose to journalistic blurbs The chapters at first seem inchoate, scattered, disconnected, but as the story evolves they are gradually, smoothly, wound together until they form a completely coherent whole and the book moves through to its inevitable conclusion.Given that our world of today corresponds with Brunner s vision to an absolutely terrifying extent, all readers should pay careful attention to that conclusion Evolution in action indeed although that s a line from another excellent SF novel I ll review at another time and place rgb This has to be one of the most frightening books I have ever read My favorite science fiction author is Phillip K Dick, whose sense of extrapolation was amazing However the extrapolations that Brunner has made in this book leaves most PKD novels in the dust, and that s one of the reasons this books is so unsettling.While I was reading I couldn t resist to urge to write down some of the speculations that Brunner made in this novel that are uncomfortably like the world we see right now Here is my non exhaustive list A right wing government that wishes to promote it s own version of reality despite of the facts on the ground Also a group of people that are willing to follow that government no matter what The rise of a culture of false dilemma i.e You re either for us or you re against us The rise of Wars on that are used to bring states of emergency and suspend civil rights A contracting media sector that is interested in entertainment and ratings than providing solid information and that is centered on a corporate agenda Wars meant to secure raw materials that the U.S is running out of The rise of unemployment and a class of people considered unemployable The classification of anyone concerned about environmental issues or concerned with corporate power as Un American, Hippies, or the like ironically causing a backlash where reasonable people are marginalized which gives rise to real anti American and anti Corporate radicalism A system of new classes were the rich live behind armed gates and have access to good food, water, etc., while most others are relegated to slums I know we aren t at this point yet, but we re headed in this direction and we do already have gated communities The staunch belief that anyone sick somehow a fault for that sickness a kind of neo Purtainism and the inability for most people to find good health care at a fair price Insects and micro organisms becoming resistent due to the constant use of insecticides and antibiotics Corporations not held accountable for breaking laws massive infractions given low fines The rise of false health food and similar corporate fraud Corporations preventing legal actions by way of SLAPP lawsuits and other legal harassment of individuals Government handouts to corporations keeping badly managed companies out if bankruptcy yes it s in there and other rampant corporate socialism.And that s just what I have written down There s a lot of minor predictions, too For instance, computer modeling takes a center stage near the end of the book However I like sci fi authors Brunner didn t foresee the personal computer revolution, leading to that odd situation you sometimes see in PKD novels where the people live in a computer society but people writing letters still use mechanical typewriters Anyway these type of parallels makes reading this book a spooky experience Luckily the massive breakdown of environment we see in this novel is not currently happening, though we sure have seen instances on a limited scale like the 1980s Union Carbide disaster and towns that have been contaminated by PCBs and caused massive birth defects The reason why is, for the most part, we haven t taken an all or noting attitude to these problems However these attitudes have been increasing and it still makes this book seem like it could be one of our possible futures.While looking around on the Internet for people s comments on one of these books, on reviewer referred to this book as Marxist because of it s comments against industry Isn t the irony in that delicious This reviewer helped show how right Brunner was in one nasty review The hungry sheep look up, and are not fed,But swollen with wind and the rank mist they draw,Rot inwardly, and foul contagion spread Lycidas, MiltonLucky thing no one in power has ever taken seriously the warnings of science fiction writers such as John Brunner and those anti business, anti progress commies and hippies and scientists that claim the world s air and water is being poisoned and its resources rapaciously plundered Glad we are getting rid of all those pesky scientific fake news studies extending back to Rachel Carson and we can go on with things as usual I am sure everything will be just fine if we do nothing.I am quite sure that I picked up this 1972 dystopian novel in the mid seventies and did not finish it, finding it too grim and pessimistic for even my environmentalist inclinations at the time Hey, Earth Day circa 1970 was taken seriously by some of us, then, and hopefully But I saw Gabrielle s review and her claim that this book deserves a place on the shelf and in millions of readers hands with the likes of The Handmaid s Tale, Brave New World and It Can t Happen Here and I picked it up again and actually finished it And I would add its likeness to The Enemy of the People, as it involves deliberate corporate environmental devastation that everyone largely ignores until it is almost too late.It s difficult to read on several fronts 1 The prophetic bad news 2 the style of the book, which is a collage than a narrative a series of news reports, advertisements, and short vignettes of several characters, many of whom never cross paths The result is a kind of portrait of a planet, with particular focus on the USA The main plot revolves around suspect cases of deliberate poisoning by the U.S based Bamberley Trust corporation of their Nutripon relief food supplies directed to Africa and Central America The infected people go mad and kill each other Why would any human beings do that Well, think about it In the near future, the West just might need the resources of a large planet such as Africa.By the end of the book, rioting and civil unrest sweep the United States, with water and food shortages, disease, lack of services, rage against the oppressive, nationalistic government companies all services military, government, private, infrastructure break down There s an epilogue that urges action, and shows a way to a collective set of possible solutions Did we heed the dire warnings Do I recommend this book Nah, just read the news No one except possibly the late John Brunner, in his brilliant novel The Sheep Look Up, has ever described anything in science fiction that is remotely like the reality of 2007 as we know it William Gibson An Enduring Classic, This Book Offers A Dramatic And Prophetic Look At The Potential Consequences Of The Escalating Destruction Of Earth In This Nightmare Society, Air Pollution Is So Bad That Gas Masks Are Commonplace Infant Mortality Is Up, And Everyone Seems To Suffer From Some Form Of Ailment Stand on Zanzibar and The Sheep Look Up were two of my favourite books at university, and the covers even appear in my Master s Thesis.Brunner wrote a few truly awful sci fi books, and then something happened and he wrote these two masterpieces Truly Awesome books I can t say I enjoyed the majority of this book The style is very broken, telling many stories at once with very little indication of how they re related It s a bleak world where the climate is broken and polluted, the government is controlling and full of platitudes and outright lies, food and water is scarce, you need filtered masks to breath outside in the cities, and poverty is rampant The story follows the lives of a number of people and how they survive in the world as it now stands It isn t a book I d easily recommend to anyone, but I m glad to have read it It paints a very bleak picture, one that I m not certain we can avoid It makes for a great warning of the future we might have to endure while still producing an interesting plot It isn t an easy book to read, nor is it comfortable But it certainly is worth reading. See the halibut and the sturgeonsBeing wiped out by detergentsFish gotta swim and birds gotta flyBut they don t last long if they tryPollution, pollution, wear a gas mask and a veilThen you can breath as long as you don t inhaleSang Tom Lehrer, and seven years later John Brunner wrote the book of the song I love that rhyme sturgeons detergents and I have to admit it s way fun to listen to two minutes of Tom than it is to plough through this jeremiad of a novel from 1972 It s like one of those Robert Altman movies which interweave a zillion stories Short Cuts, Nashville but all the stories are about one thing THE WORLD IS FALLING APART ROUND YOUR EARS, YOUR KIDS ARE ALL ILL WITH ALLERGIES AND YOUR RIGHT BIG TOE IS ABOUT TO FALL OFF AND DON T EAT THAT, IT S MADE FROM INDUSTRIAL WASTE ALSO, YOU RE FIRED.So where it isn t confusing because of the zillion characters and the constant jump cuts no section lasting than three pages it s gloomy and depressingly accurate too one of the nasty things he mentions is that the Great Barrier Reef was turning white and dying another thing is that everyone is gradually becoming resistant to antibiotics Both of those were in the news this very week And every five minutes David Attenborough or one of his henchmen is telling me there are only 27 pangolins left in central Asia Who wants to live on a planet with no pangolins So I think The Sheep Look Up which in this novel they better not do or they ll be bound to get a faceful of DDT is a well orchestrated miseryfest which we no longer need to read as we can just turn on the tv and it s all right there.