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Nothing says "I Love You, Dear" like screaming lower back pain!

Sometimes Wrong but rarely in doubt!

13 February 2009

Make Room! Make Room!

Harry Harrison
ISBN 0-553-56458-7
Rating: Steal From Library and Burn to Protect Others.

I finished reading Make Room! Make Room! last night, Mrs Bugbear came into the room and asked me how I found the book. I answered honestly, "Terrible". Make Room! Make Room! is one of the few books that I've read that is actually improved by someone making a movie from the book. I'm not going to waste time and words excoriating Harry Harrison and Make Room! Make Room! nor am I going to be an apologist for the book or my opinion thereof.

Make Room! Make Room! is a Cassandra tale, and sort of like Cassandra no one should believe the bleak future it paints. You can take the product of every fearmonger of 1966 and Harrison has faithfully extrapolated it thirty-three years into the future. Malthusian population pressure soil exhaustion, soil erosion, fresh water exhaustion, fresh water poisoning, communism, planned economies, extreme heat, extreme cold...almost any environmental and social ill you can imagine graces the pages of Make Room! Make Room! Perhaps my rating should have been commit suicide after reading.

Before I posted this review I thought I should read the author's comments about the book to be sure that his intention wasn't to subtly poke fun at the fearmongers. I could have perhaps missed the subtlety. Nope, Harrison was fearmongering with the best of them. Close to a decade has passed since the date that Harrision set his apocolyptic novel. A quick fact check shows that Harrison missed the 1999 population of the United States by over seventy million and that in 1999 New York represented about 2%-3% of the total US population rather than 10% represented in Make Room! Make Room! Soil exhaustion..nope. The list goes on.

I wouldn't tar all of Harrison's books with the same brush, I enjoyed the To the Stars Trilogy, and this is the same guy who wrote the The Stainless Steel Rat Books. I would recommend both series, but he dropped the ball with Make Room! Make Room!

If you want to read a better Delphic novel I'd pick John Ringo's The Last Centurion. Ringo at least is obviously poking fun at the popular fears of our time.

Mrs Bugbear asked me what I was going to do with the book since I didn't enjoy reading it. I told her I was going to take it camping.

"Camping?" asked my darling wife.

"Camping," I said, "I'm going to put it in the outhouse"

"You're not going to read it in the outhouse?" Mrs Bugbear asked, a look of disgust on her face.

I paled "You're right! Someone might read it in there by mistake, I'll use it for starting the campfire instead"

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