Stand on Zanzibar

John Brunner
Stand on Zanzibar Cover

Stand on Zanzibar (don't bother)


Not sure why it was published. Called a 'non-novel' is an excuse for bad techniques.

Positives: Unique, and daring.

Negatives: There are no characters. There are some named individuals, but they are pure stereo type behavior. No real emotion, ideas, thoughts, motivations or insights. No real plot. Nothing actually progresses through any intellectual or emotional development. Style is abismal. There were examples of good (not great) sentences. More examples of sentences which should have been multiple paragraphs. The SF aspect was dreadfully out of context for its own time. I went back and looked at contemporary reviews. Not a lot of favorable comments from respected reviewers of SF content. The ideas are droll, and the best one, over-population turned out to be merely an alarmist perspective, not a causal or scientific analysis to back up the claims of "disaster." The over appreciation of media, which some think was foreshadowing is at best reactionary, and certainly not wholistic. The dialogue is couched in fantasy-language development slang from South Africa. Thus it is very difficult to read, and tedius for no real value or insight. The individuals (not characters) demonstrate behavior which is racist, sexist, bigoted, and violent, again for no literary purpose. The medium for the visual, auditory and even textual presentation (a book with sections and headings passing as organization) is inappropriate, ineffecient, and ineffective in this format. The concept might work in a sophisticated screen format like 24 or Mission Impossible. But the content is inane and there is no message.

Conclusion: Not sure why this book was nominated for anything other that for a New York Metropolitan Landfill marker. They marketed me, and got their $9. So, I would chalk this one up to art for art sake, and be cautious about assuming a Hugo Award is as significant as I have to this point. Extremely disappointing. I'd say a waste of paper, but it was a Kindle version, so a waste of electrons.