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15 October 2018 @ 05:21 am
New old zine  
15 years ago, I joined livejournal. It inspired me to write more, including a set of 30 book discussions I have now put together as Archive 2
nancylebov: green leavesnancylebov on October 15th, 2018 01:09 pm (UTC)
Thanks for the shout-outs-- I'd completely forgotten about the Sick Powerlessness Fantasy.

To my mind, Stand on Zanzibar isn't about overpopulation-- there isn't significant deprivation of anything but room.

The bit about a man accidentally causing a riot and not realizing (even after he's told) that his presence had anything to do it is a perfect portrait of privilege.

I found this at Charlie Stross' blog:

It was in a discussion of what might be missing in current sf.


Set in 2010, the story imagines a world with a vast social network that media organizations use to put out news in short bursts, and receive real-time feedback from their fans. The Soviet Union has lost power, and China stands as the most important US rival. America has largely left Jim Crow behind, but institutional racism persists. And, most bizarrely, there's a major world leader named President Obomi.


(1) Random acts of violence by crazy individuals, often taking place at schools, plague society in Stand on Zanzibar.

(2) The other major source of instability and violence comes from terrorists, who are now a major threat to U.S. interests, and even manage to attack buildings within the United States.

(3) Prices have increased sixfold between 1960 and 2010 because of inflation. (The actual increase in U.S. prices during that period was sevenfold, but Brunner was close.)

(4) The most powerful U.S. rival is no longer the Soviet Union, but China. However, much of the competition between the U.S. and Asia is played out in economics, trade, and technology instead of overt warfare.

(5) Europeans have formed a union of nations to improve their economic prospects and influence on world affairs. In international issues, Britain tends to side with the U.S., but other countries in Europe are often critical of U.S. initiatives.

(6) Africa still trails far behind the rest of the world in economic development, and Israel remains the epicenter of tensions in the Middle East.

(7) Although some people still get married, many in the younger generation now prefer short-term hookups without long-term commitment.

(8) Gay and bisexual lifestyles have gone mainstream, and pharmaceuticals to improve sexual performance are widely used (and even advertised in the media).

(9) Many decades of affirmative action have brought blacks into positions of power, but racial tensions still simmer throughout society.

(10) Motor vehicles increasingly run on electric fuel cells. Honda (primarily known as a motorcycle manufacturers when Brunner wrote his book) is a major supplier, along with General Motors.

(11) Yet Detroit has not prospered, and is almost a ghost town because of all the shuttered factories. However. a new kind of music — with an
uncanny resemblance to the actual Detroit techno movement of the 1990s — has sprung up in the city.

(12) TV news channels have now gone global via satellite.

(13) TiVo-type systems allow people to view TV programs according to their own schedule.

(14) Inflight entertainment systems on planes now include video programs and news accessible on individual screens at each seat.

nancylebov: green leavesnancylebov on October 15th, 2018 01:09 pm (UTC)
(15) People rely on avatars to represent themselves on video screens — Brunner calls these images, which either can look like you or take on another appearance you select — “Mr. and Mrs. Everywhere.”

(16) Computer documents are generated with laser printers.

(17) A social and political backlash has marginalized tobacco, but marijuana has been decriminalized.

I'd add a few more like mass marketed psychedelics. We don't have skullbustium yet, but are opiod crises is the result of mass marketing pushed by Big Pharma.

No genetic engineering genius in Yatakang/Indonesia but we do have CRISPR.

No endless naval war in the Pacific, but we do have an endless war in the Middle East.

We don't have Shalmanaser, but we do have Watson.

No Moon base yet but we do have commercial space flight.

And racism is still a problem, as in the book.

As for the title, it's based on the assumption that all of mankind in this overpopulated future (now our present) could stand on the island of Zanzibar if we each had 2 square feet. At 643 square miles, that works out to 8.96 billion people in the novel. Not too far off from our current world population of 7.44 billion and projected peak population of 10 billion.
El Coyote Gordo: herdsupergee on October 15th, 2018 01:36 pm (UTC)
SoZ is about a world that takes overpopulation seriously, unlike the dystopian consensus reality we inhabit.
Nation of Tire Saletdaschel on October 23rd, 2018 04:54 pm (UTC)
a remarkable resource / thanks for linking ! (ALSO: i still need to get on the case w.r.t. Recognitions : picked up a copy 5,6 years ago, so it's certainly *available*, hey !)