For those of you who follow the book review rotation on the right column of my Home Page where I introduce new
book reviews, you will recall that I've been presenting the "Dover Doomsday Classics" of which I have six more to go as I write this. I
decided to take a break, and review this one, which has proven to be far more doomsday and absolutely realistic. Technically it is classified as
"science fiction," but, as I always say, sci-fi is the science of the future. It really didn't take long for Harrison's future to come true. And
though there are obviously points he got "wrong" (but not many), this
man had an uncanny—almost frightening—ability to prophesy the future. Here is the
This is the book on which the movie Soylent Green is based. Loosely based, but they both portray horrific futures, emphasizing different points. Many of the characters are the same, but go by different names. I would hope anyone reading this review has seen the movie. If not, watch it right now for free. It stars Charlton Heston and Edward G. Robinson, who died twelve days after the filming was complete, so when Heston was crying over his death in the movie, I suspect the tears were real, since they were friends and had starred together in other films.
First let me state just a few basics about the book and the film, and make comparisons, then I will go on with the book review. The book was first published in 1966, but takes place from August 9, 1999 to the ringing in of the New Year on January 1, 2020. What is particularly chilling is the dedication which reads, "To Todd and Moira: For your sakes, children, I hope this proves to be a work of fiction." It isn't. The picture he paints was off by a couple decades, but what we have now is, well, let me put it this way. It could be one of Dane's GAN broadcasts. On steroids.
Soylent Green, (meaning soy and lentils), however, was filmed in 1973 and set in 2022, so the population numbers in the book are much more accurate for that date, overall. The current global population is nearly 8 billion—7,800,000,000, but in 1999, it was 6 billion. In the book it was 7 billion, so, really, that figure is pretty accurate. However, the figures for NYC, where the book as well as the movie are set, are way off. In the book, it is 35 million, but in reality, in 1999 it was 7.4 million—still WAAAY too many people. Now it is 18,823,000—over double in just twenty years. In twenty more it probably would be 35 million, but we won't be here by then, I'm quite certain, at least in the same state we are now. If any humans do survive what is coming, global populations will be drastically reduced. By the time all the people die who have allowed these toxic vaccines to be injected into their bodies, that will wipe out 75 percent of the population, the rest dying from heat and starvation. As I said, Dane's GAN on steroids, and he has the data to back it up.
In the movie, the detective's name is Thorn (Heston) and his roommate is his close friend Sol Roth, a retired detective. In the book the detective's name is Andy Rusch, and his roommate, Sol, is a retired engineer, who wasn't a friend, but there is a law that the apartments have to be filled when there's an opening. Over the years, however, they have become friends. In the movie, the rich and corrupt Simonson is murdered for hire for a reason. We learn as the movie progresses that he knows something really horrible about the tasty and nutritious wafers, Soylent Green, supposedly made with plankton, but in reality contain other less palatable ingredients . . . . Anyways, that becomes the main theme of the movie, ending with finding out the truth about Soylent Green. Other elements of the book, however, are present in the movie. The WAY over-populated planet, starvation, poverty, riots, especially when the government runs out of food. Imagine that. And the dystopian living conditions—little food, little water, little electricity, almost no phones. Except of course for the hated rich. It's coming here and now, in reality.
Shirl, the hired, live-in mistress, has remained the same, except in the movie, she truly cared for Simonson and he treated her well. In the book, the wealthy and corrupt victim is "Big Mike" O'Brien, and treated Shirl like crap. No one, even on the police force really cared about his murder, but someone high up demanded it be solved. That's because they suspected an enemy gangster was trying to get their territory. Because the rich people were all racketeers. Gosh. Can't imagine . . . .
In the book, the murder was an accident. An Asian boy by the name of Billy Chung had gotten a job with Western Union and had to deliver a message to Mike. He had never seen such riches. The refugees from Taiwan all lived in a community of abandoned ships. When he delivers the message, not only does he see the wealth, he sees Shirl, naked on the bed and is determined to have it all. He finds a place to break in through the basement, then plans to rob the flat. Shirl and her bodyguard, Tab, who is Black in the book and trustworthy, go out for groceries, but Mike is still at home and surprises Billy in the process of robbing him. Billy hits him with a tire iron, which goes through his skull, drops his loot, and runs.
Other than painting a portrait of extreme poverty and misery in the city, really, the whole Billy/Mike incident becomes minor. The book focuses on the fact that there isn't enough food, there are serious problems with the water supply. There is extreme drought, fighting with the farmers for resources, and always on the verge of riots when the people can't get enough. Not to mention the searing, unrelenting heat. Harrison has truly focused on overpopulation, which, back in 1966 was not acknowledged publicly. In fact, people had no clue that it was a problem which would become a gargantuan problem in the near future. Harrison spells things out clearly. He sounds a lot like me, pointing out the ridiculous attitudes people have about having children. WHY do, especially women, think they are not complete, or whatever, unless they are a mother, so we have ALL THESE WOMEN having babies they really deep down DO NOT want, because they are trained to believe that's what women should do. I made up my mind at a very early age that motherhood was not even remotely on my list of things-to-do, and it was one of the wisest choices I ever made. Not that fathers aren't to blame, but, except in cases of rape, which absolutely should be prosecuted to the fullest degree, and the woman not coerced into continuing a pregnancy, but fully supported in abortion. But in other cases, women need to learn to take control of their reproductive organs, then men will be forced to also. Towards the end of the book, Sol becomes very vocal on this subject, and ultimately, it is the main message of the story.
Other than the urgency of awakening readers to the coming catastrophic overpopulation issue, the rest of the story consists of a dysfunctional romance between Shirl and Andy. She is kicked out of the apartment at the end of the month because Mike's bitchy, greedy sister wants everything for herself and thinks of Shirl as nothing but a whore, which I guess she kinda is. So Shirl moves in with Andy and Sol, and, having grown up poor and abused, she can cope. Andy loves her, but she just wants more attention from him, which he can't give, because he is needed for the ever-expanding disasters taking place in the city, with shortages of everything and rage, anger, and riots always ready to break out. Andy is a walking zombie, yet Shirl gets fed up with him because she's not getting attention. But in the end, she does have legitimate reasons for walking out.
The descriptions of the food they have to eat and quality of water, what little there is, gets pretty gross, but nothing like the movie. Weedcrackers are the main foodstuff, but Shirl, from her time with Mike, has the ins with a "meatlegger," who along with selling a bit of beef, has a nice leg of dog. OK, so that is gross. People are living on soylent burgers, if they can afford it. Most can't. A great part of the country has been converted to farmlands and water disputes and sabotage are frequent.
So that's the gist of the story, but I took copious notes, and will continue with quotes and specifics. I want to begin with a couple quotes from the Prologue, which also sounds like Dane, and the documentary, Planet of the Humans which EVERYONE needs to watch. He begins by quoting Eisenhower, who was president when I was born. "This government . . . will not . . . as long as I am here, have a positive political doctrine in its program that has to do with the problem of birth control. That is not our business." Harrison then says that it has not been the business of any American government since that time. But of course, it IS now, from those fighting against abortion rights, to those covert activities aimed at depopulation. Harrison then goes on to say this:
In 1950 the United States—with just 9.5 percent of the world's population—was consuming 50 percent of the world's raw materials. This percentage keeps getting bigger and within fifteen years, at the present rate of growth, the United States will be consuming over 83 percent of the annual output of the earth's materials. By the end of the century, should our population continue to increase at the same rate, this country will need more than 100 percent of the planet's resources to maintain our current living standards.
Yep, he got it right on all accounts. Anyways, since I've told you the basic plot of the story, here are
some interesting and way too familiar points. Because of the ongoing heat and drought, there are constant water shortages. OMG, in a city of 35 million, when
everyone must be turned away from the water stations for a couple days. YIKES! There are no vehicles or mass transportation to speak of any more, at least in
NYC, so no shipping in of bottled water. Plus the farmers in upstate New York have dynamited the aqueduct again. Geez. Sounds like the Klamath threats . . . . It
is 93 degrees at 8 a.m.. Sounds like Redding, California. "I hear the reservoirs are so low that some of the outlet pipes are uncovered." Sounds
like just about anywhere out west, except maybe parts of Arizona and New Mexico, which have been flooded with these engineered "monsoons."
There are frequent (mostly peaceful) demonstrations by the "Eldsters of America," forced into retirement and complaining of the way they are treated. These usually end up in riots, however. It is so hot, they start keeling over. Yep, sounds like out west again. Klein's has a flash sale of "soylent steak," and someone brags to a TV reporter. Yep, again, as Dane says over and over will happen, the law of the jungle takes over, a riot ensues, and "memory wire" is dropped from helicopters that immediately, when released, forms, on its own, a barricade. Nifty. Anyways here's where we meet Billy Chung, who steals a whole box, then after stuffing himself with the raw burgers, he sells the rest to a vendor for twenty "Ds," more money than he's ever had at one time in his life. I won't speak more of him, because his scenes are just background to the main theme. But I want to include two quotes, when Billy returns "home" to his family who lives in a section of one of the abandoned ships mentioned above. Of course, no matter where he goes, it is misery.
There was nothing to do, no place to go, the city pressed in around him and every square foot of it was like this, filled with people, children, noise, heat. He gagged over the rail into the darkness but nothing came up.
After that, he gets a job with Western Union, which is how the city communicates—by runners delivering messages. His first (and only) message is to Chelsea Park, where he is to end up killing Mike O'Brien, which makes a lot of people happy and the cops would prefer to just forget it and move on. When Shirl asks the cops if they will find his killer, the reply is "We won't even try. Aside from the reason that we have no time, we feel that whoever did Mike in performed a social service." Anyways, here is a quote about Chelsea Park.
He knew the address and, though he had passed the buildings an untold number of times, he had never been inside the solid cliff of luxury apartments that had been built in 1976 after a spectacular bit of corruption had permitted the city to turn Chelsea Park over to private development. They were walled, terraced and turreted in new-feudal style, which appearance perfectly matched their function of keeping the masses as separate and distant as possible.
But it, like everything else, had somewhat fallen into decay.
A pondlike moat, now just a dry receptacle for rubbish, was crossed by a fixed walkway tricked out to look like a drawbridge, complete with rusty chains and a dropped portcullis of spike-ended metal bars backed by heavy glass.
To add to the misery, the city turns off the little power it has overnight. Sol has rigged up a bicycle that
charges a battery in their apartment. That was in the movie, too. When Shirl and her bodyguard, Tab, go shopping the next morning (when Billy will break
in), she forgets the empty soymilk bottles, which is a serious financial mistake, because the deposit on them is two "Ds" each!
The Empire State Building is, like everything else, in a state of disrepair. There is only one working elevator, and it only goes to the 25th floor because of the power shortage and lack of replacement parts. Any of this beginning to sound like what's coming NOW?? And talk about relevant. Here's a quote when Andy is telling Shirl about his childhood. He came from California! Shirl thinks he's a cowboy.
Not that kind of ranch, fruit trees, in the Imperial Valley, I was just a little kid when he left and I hardly remember it. All the farming in those valleys was done with irrigation—canals and pumps. My father's ranch had pumps and he didn't think it was very important when the geologists told him he was using fossil water, water that had been in the ground thousands of years. Old water grows things just as well as new water, I remember his saying that. But there must have been little or no new water filtering down because one day the fossil water was all used up and the pump went dry. I'll never forget that, the trees dying and nothing we could do about it. My father lost the farm and we came to New York, he was a sandhog on the Moses Tunnel when they were building it.
OMG, well that sends me chills, it is so relevant, although here in 2021, there IS something to be done, and that
is STOPPING the climate engineering/weather warfare that is using H.A.A.R.P. to
block water from the west coast. See Dane's link above for more information on that.
Incidentally, I believe that is a typo in the first sentence, which should read "when we left." There were a number of them in this copy.
Here are some very familiar descriptions of what is becoming more relevant every day. "
The street outside was a tub of hot, foul air, unmoving and so filled with the stench of dirt and sweat and decay that is was almost unbreathable." "Ninth Avenue simmered in the afternoon sun and every patch of shadow was filled with sprawled figures, old people, nursing mothers, teen-agers with their heads close together, laughing with their arms about one another. People of all ages on every side, bare and dusty limbs projecting, scattered about like corpses in the aftermath of a battle.
Then someone catches a large grey rat. There would be feasting tonight . . . . And on the subject of food, except
for the wealthy who can obtain "real" food illegally, almost nothing the characters eat is "real" although that's not necessarily bad. I
eat soy burgers and other "meatless" foods, being a vegetarian, with Quorn products being my absolute favorite, which are made with various types of
fungus—mushrooms, truffles, morels. But through the book, they talk about the rare luxury of drinking "kofee," and it wasn't until nearly the end
of Part One that they explained it was not "real" coffee, and didn't taste like it either, but was still a luxury. OK, I would definitely miss my
I made a note that Chapter 15, the last in Part One, was a very good chapter. The pumping stations have had a disastrous thing happen. They were pumped too low, and salt water managed to get in the water supply. They will bring in fresh water some way, but until then, water only for drinking and cooking. No washing, and dishes wiped off with a rag. Another prophesy of what is to come to the west, and soon. In fact, I posted an article months ago on my site about salt water seeping into Louisiana water supplies, but that was because of the flooding.
And it gets worse. Andy is now a walking zombie. Not only is he assigned to find Mike's killer, even though the ones who demanded it have long past cared, but he is working overtime with crowd control. He comes home and can barely make it to bed before falling asleep. Shirl and Sol talk. Shirl asks, "What are all these people doing here? Why don't they go somewhere else if there isn't enough water?"
"For that there is a simple answer—there's no place to go. This whole country is one big farm and one big appetite. There's just as many people down South as there is up North and, since there is no public transportation, anyone who tried to walk to the land of sunshine would starve to death long before he got there. People stay put because the country is organized to take care of them where they are. They don't eat well, but at least they eat. It takes a big catastrophe like the water failures in the California valleys to move people out, or the Dust Bowl—which I hear has now becomes international and crossed the Canadian border."
OMG. I was stunned when I read that. Let me remind you once again this book was written in 1966. And all the
other countries are the same, except Denmark. Hmm . . . . Not sure why Harrison made Denmark an exception.
Just a little from Part Two. I think you all probably "get it" by now. Andy is called in, with the rest of the force, to deal with an even bigger problem. The food warehouses are almost empty and no food rations will be issued for three days. And after that, smaller rations. (THIS IS NOT FICTION. Some places already, such as South Africa, have become a starving war zone, as Dane pointed out in his July 24 Global Alert News broadcast.) There have been crop failures, droughts, storms and flooding. A fertilizer shortage. And soybeans poisoned with an insecticide. (Was it made by Monsanto, perhaps??) The only other source of food is the venders, and even though the cops are there, the crowds are SO BIG that they get looted. The law of the jungle, once again, as Dane has been saying . . . .
I want to quote from just one more conversation, and that is between Sol and Shirl, when he tries to explain that the ONLY way to solve ANYTHING on this planet is population control, which no one in power would speak of, nor will anyone today, except those involved in the covert depopulation program. No, they don't have a right to decide who lives and dies, but people have been SO FUCKING STUPID, thinking they can proliferate (again to use Dane's term), as much as they please. I do NOT UNDERSTAND why people feel the way they do about having babies, other than they are obviously being mind-controlled and rendered absolutely brainless by it.
"But, Sol—you can't force people to practice something they don't believe in. A lot of them still think that it has something to do with killing babies."
"So they think wrong. Am I to blame because the world is full of fatheads? You know me well enough that birth control has nothing to do with killing babies. In fact, it saves them. Which is the bigger crime—letting kids die of disease and starvation or seeing that the unwanted ones don't get born in the first place?"
He goes on to say, "But doing something means that people must change, make an effort, use their minds, which is what most people do not like to do." Gosh, this could be one of my articles, eh? It gets even more familiar. Sol speaks again.
"I blame the stinking politicians and so-called public leaders who have avoided the issue and covered it up because it was controversial and what the hell, it will be years before it matters and I'm going to get mine now. So mankind gobbled in a century all the world's resources that had taken millions of years to store up, and no one on the top gave a damn or listened to all the voices that were trying to warn them, they just let us overproduce and overconsume, until now the oil is gone, the topsoil depleted and washed away, the trees chopped down, the animals extinct, the earth poisoned, and all we have to show for this is seven billion people fighting over the scraps that are left, living a miserable existence—and still breeding without control. So I say the time has come to stand up and be counted."
In the first quote, when Shirl says, "you can't force people to practice something they don't believe in
. . . ." Hmm. Well, they are currently trying to force people to submit to a toxic vaccine. But . . . well, that's OK, right" For the good of the
people? God, what a fucked up world.
Anyways, I will leave you with lots of material to ponder. I ended up buying this book from Amazon, whom I try to avoid, but got it really cheap as a "used like new book," which it is. It looked like it had never been opened.
I cannot even begin to tell you how immensely I recommend that everyone on this planet NEEDS to read it. It is no longer fiction, it is current news, and the news gets worse every day. The only possible way to avoid the nearly unavoidable near-term extinction we now face is to CHANGE, drastically. And STOP climate engineering. Will the majority of the population do that? Possibly. Because the population is heading toward a vast reduction, mostly out of apathy and ignorance. When the majority of the population is gone, then hopefully those remaining will be the awakened ones.
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