Make Room! Make Room!

  • by Harry Harrison
  • Narrated by Eric Michael Summerer
  • 8 hrs and 25 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

The world is crowded. Far too crowded. Its starving billions live on lentils, soya beans, and - if they're lucky - the odd starving rat.In a New York City groaning under the burden of 35 million inhabitants, detective Andy Rusch is engaged in a desperate and lonely hunt for a killer everyone has forgotten. For even in a world such as this, a policeman can find himself utterly alone....Acclaimed on its original publication in 1966, Make Room! Make Room! was adapted into the 1973 movie Soylent Green, starring Charlton Heston along with Edward G. Robinson in his last role.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Excellent book, well read

An excellent dystopian view of the future, "Make Room! Make Room!" shows a world that is depressingly believable...vastly overcrowded cities, failing infrastructure and the struggle to secure the basic necessities (especially water) dominate every-day life. The book is very prescient; it reflects current concerns over environmental destruction and exhaustion of natural resources, which seemed remote and hypothetical when the book was published in 1966 (only 4 years after "Silent Spring" started the environmental movement).

The novel is written as a police procedural set in the New York City of 1999. Making the protagonist a detective was effective as it allowed the reader to see many aspects of the "Make Room!" world in a natural manner. However, between the setting and the realities of police work, the book is very bleak.

The movie "Soylent Green" was loosely based on "Make Room! Make Room!" Very loosely. More accurately, the movie setting was taken from the book and some of the plot elements, but the story, the themes and the conclusion are very different. For example, there is no "soylent green" in the book at all. If you've seen the movie, you haven't read the book, or vice versa.

Those who want to study such things might want to compare "Make Room! Make Room!" to the more antiseptic future envisioned in "Brave New World" (which was written about 35 years earlier).

Summerer's narration is quite good. He really pulls the listener into the story, and his reading is well paced and the characters are voiced distinctly without much apparent strain on Summerer's part, or the listener's (it helps that there aren't really all that many characters).

In conclusion, an interesting, if depressing, listen.
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- Joel D Offenberg

Neither story nor expectations are realistic

I always seem to expect more from these classics than I get from them. This one is okay... kinda... it is very dry and we don't actually care that the whole world is starving to death (well, all of NYC is anyway)... the characters are all a bit of a jerk and the female character trades on her sex to get by. Oh, sure, this is par for the course for the genre and the era, but I always prefer when authors put some work into character development and have women be something other than independently mobile sex toys, or, perhaps, slothy neglectful mothers.

I guess Harrison's underlying premise is that overpopulation would starve out humanity (because "someone"/"the MAN" bans birth control) and, while that might have been an issue in the 60s, nowadays it is more likely that we will starve out humanity by virtue of genetic modifications, disease and toxic water contamination... End result = the same, but the process of getting there is mildly different (only mildly though because it is still "someone"/"the MAN" who puts their profits from fracking and oil pipelines ahead of clean water, for example).

Anyway, I am glad I read it and can accept that it is a product of its era, driven by the concerns of that era. I won't be looking for more books by Harrison though. The narration is fine. There is no swearing, sex or graphic violence.
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- crazybatcow

Book Details

  • Release Date: 06-23-2009
  • Publisher: Audible Studios