14 Responses to “Jo Walton on THE SPACE MERCHANTS”

  1. Anonymous says:

    Why is it always the chicken as deformed food source? Oryx & Crake, this book…

  2. Durandal says:

    Such a great book. If you find the advertising biz as utterly fascinating as I do (or even if you don’t), this is an absolute must-read. Better than “Gladiator At Law” IMO, and chock-full of memorable moments. (I think everyone I’ve spoken to about this book has carried the image of Chicken Little with them ever since they read the book).

    Cory, I’m eager to check out the tribute collection, especially your Chicken Little piece.

  3. agentouchie says:

    this book seems infinitely more interesting when i add “of venice” to the end of the title.

  4. arbitraryaardvark says:

    I don’t like the cover. Pohl and Kornbluth were coauthors, but Pohl’s name is splashed across the cover. Kornbluth died young, Pohl went on to be a big name as an author critic editor and now blogger.
    But it’s a great book, a classic, and nice to see a reissue.

  5. Stefan Jones says:

    GREAT book. You could easily update the science if you were going to do a screenplay. (In fact, it almost WAS a movie; see Pohl’s blog.)

    * * *

    Number two on my To-Do list when I get a time machine:

    Shovel out Cyril Kornbluth’s driveway; leave a bottle of beta blockers in his mailbox.

    Number three: Go watch the whale explode.

  6. Anonymous says:

    This is odd timing because I just read Gateway the other night and was curious if anyone else has read the other three books from the Heechee saga. I didn’t care for the stuff taking place in Sigfred’s office but everything else was pretty good, although not great. Should I read the rest of it or just move on (I own a lot of unread classic sci-fi, including The Space Merchants)?

  7. straponego says:

    Cool, I’ll have to check this out. Kornbluth’s “The Marching Morons” is one of my all-time favorites. Idiocracy was a near-verbatim copy of it, and they gave no credit at all to the original. Some of the flavor or Robocop was lifted from that one too– the rest was a ripoff of a Harlan Ellison story. Eh, what are ya gonna do. We ought to be grateful when Hollywood plunders from something decent for a change.

  8. Anonymous says:


    Loved that book. My fave Pohl/Kornbluth collaboration is Wolfbane, which presaged the Matrix franchise by half a century.

  9. dr.hypercube says:

    This and Gladiator at Law are must-reads – really fine stuff. The details are off, but as cautionary tales they’re pretty much perfect – especially when put in the context of 50′s USA.

    Wa-wa-wabbit twacks!

  10. Anonymous says:

    Every time I read about Congress and the lobbies I think about “the Senator from Yummy-Cola”.

  11. StRevAlex says:

    I agree with the people who say this new edition is Pohl-heavy (at least on the cover). Incidentally, it’s an absolute classic of sci-fi. Also, don’t you love old-school sci-fi author names? Frederik Pohl, C.M. Kornbluth, E.E. “Doc” Smith, etc. I think my personal favorite has to be A.E. van Vogt, because of the initials and the bonus points for ‘van.’

  12. hawamahal says:

    Space Merchants was also adapted into a 1957 radio play by CBS Radio Workshop. Audio files are available for downloading from the Internet Archive. The producers managed to compress the novel into one hour and still retain the gist of the storyline. Additionally, the audio play has the charming feel of the period, the sound effects, and whiskey-filtered speedy accent of the Madison Avenue advertiser. You can almost choke on the greed and superiority complexes of the advertising executives, very similar to the venal jackals of our own times…

  13. MrMonkey says:

    I first read The Space Merchants after reading Jennifer Government (by Max Barry, I think), in which one of the main characters reads it. I don’t remember the exact details, but that character’s reaction to the book made me go out and hunt down a copy. I don’t remember much in particular about either book, but I do remember that it was really interesting to read both the inspiration and the modern result back-to-back.

  14. blue balaclava says:

    Number two on my To-Do list when I get a time machine:

    Shovel out Cyril Kornbluth’s driveway; leave a bottle of beta blockers in his mailbox.

    Damn skippy. And pushing him to be pals with Michael Bennett, so Shark Ship could become Bennett’s followup to Dreamgirls….

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