Stand on Zanzibar

  • by John Brunner
  • Narrated by Erik Bergmann
  • 21 hrs and 20 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Norman Niblock House is a rising executive at General Technics, one of a few all-powerful corporations. His work is leading General Technics to the forefront of global domination, both in the marketplace and politically - it's about to take over a country in Africa. Donald Hogan is his roommate, a seemingly sheepish bookworm. But Hogan is a spy, and he's about to discover a breakthrough in genetic engineering that will change the world...and kill him.
These two men's lives weave through one of science-fiction's most praised novels. Written in a way that echoes John Dos Passos' U.S.A. Trilogy, Stand on Zanzibar is a cross-section of a world overpopulated by the billions and society is squeezed into hive-living madness by god-like mega computers, mass-marketed psychedelic drugs, and mundane uses of genetic engineering. Though written in 1968, it speaks of our present time and is frighteningly prescient and intensely powerful.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

perfect audio experience

this is one of the best novels I've listened to. it is less scifi to me than i would have thought, and not dated and reads more like Pynchon. while it may not be of the poetic density of Moby, this narrator coupled with this material, makes for a superb listen. Great narrator, one of the best. Wonderful slang and word play. This novel is a scattershot type structure, with multiple blasts of images and ideas--more ideas than a dozen current pop novels.

the story itself involves our near future (written in 1968 it predicts 7 billion people by 2010 and we are near that) and concerns to an extent overpopulation and corporate greed with side stories involving genetic engineering and sterilization and computer intelligence but don't get caught up in arguing whether he got all the "predictions" accurate. He's much more concerned about people existing in such a possible world and what they might go through. Poverty, drug abuse etc.

it will be helpful to know that it is structured with "rotating" sections, i took this from wiki entry:

"Continuity" – Most of the linear narrative is contained in these chapters.
"Tracking with Closeups" – These are similar to Dos Passos's "Camera" sections, and focus closely on ancillary characters before they become part of the main narrative, or simply serve to paint a picture of the state of the world.
"The Happening World" – These chapters consist of collage-like collections of short, sometimes single-sentence, descriptive passages. The intent is to capture the vibrant, noisy, and often ephemeral situations arising in the novel's world. At least one chapter of the narrative, a party where most of the characters meet and where the plot makes a significant shift in direction, is presented in this way.
"Context" – These chapters, as the name suggests, provide a setting for the novel. They consist of imaginary headlines, classified ads, and quotations from the works of the character Chad C. Mulligan, a pop sociologist who comments wryly on his surroundings[3] and in one chapter, actual headlines from the 1960s.


a key line from opening: "A point of view can be a dangerous luxury when substituted for insight and understanding." Marshall McLuhan: The Gutenburg Galaxy

loved it. going on my list of best novels. hoping for Sheep Look Up and Shockwave Rider now, definitely interested in Brunner more.
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- Darryl

Incredible Prescience

In spite of the obvious places where he missed, the accuracy of some of the predictions of 2010 (written in 1968) are astounding.
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- Stephen "I'm just this guy, y'know?"

Book Details

  • Release Date: 08-02-2011
  • Publisher: Macmillan Audio