The Space Merchants (1953) by Frederik Pohl and C. M. Kornbluth

TheSpaceMerchants1It’s a jarring experience to read ‘50s SF after devoting a month to the ‘70s. After a set of socially critical, sometimes psychedelic reads with Pohl, Silverberg, Dick, and Farmer, even a sophisticated 1953 satire like The Space Merchants feels stodgy and quaint. I often turn to ‘50s SF when my brain is tired of broody and sullen plots, because that Golden Age lightness feels fresh and inviting in comparison… especially when you recognize that every decade (even our own, omg!) has its own brand of whitewashed, gender neglect. Continue reading

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Man Plus (1976) by Frederik Pohl

ManPlus1In a criticism of the sterilized suburban existence of mid-20th America, Frederik Pohl’s protagonist of Man Plus, Roger Torraway (look at that loaded surname), celebrated astronaut on the downslope of fame, undergoes an extreme physical transformation in order to join a colonial mission to Mars, and likewise experiences a bewildering internal transformation that upsets his life, his perspective, and, ultimately, his place as a modern American male. He also gets bug eyes.

Roger and Dorrie Torraway live in Tonka, Oklahoma, “a nice couple… in a nice world,” Continue reading