The Space Merchants by C. M. Kornbluth

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In a vastly overpopulated near-future world, businesses have taken the place of governments and now hold all political power. States exist merely to ensure the survival of huge transnational corporations. Advertising has become hugely aggressive and boasts some of the world's most powerful executives.

Through advertising, the public is constantly deluded into thinking that all the products on the market improve the quality of life. However, the most basic elements are incredibly scarce, including water and fuel.

The planet Venus has just been visited and judged fit for human settlement, despite its inhospitable surface and climate; colonists would have to endure a harsh climate for many generations until the planet could be terraformed.

Mitch Courtenay is a star-class copywriter in the Fowler Schocken advertising agency and has been assigned the ad campaign that would attract colonists to Venus, but a lot more is happening than he knows about. Mitch is soon thrown into a world of danger, mystery, and intrigue, where the people in his life are never quite what they seem, and his loyalties and core beliefs will be put to the test.


About C. M. Kornbluth

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Frederik Pohl was born in New York City and attended public schools in Brooklyn. More interested in writing than in school, he dropped out of high school in his senior year and took a job with a publishing company. After serving in the United Stated Air Force from 1943 to 1945, he returned to publishing as an editor and literary agent. His first science fiction novels were published in the mid 1960's, some written in collaboration with other writers, others created alone. Since then he has produced a steady flow of novels. Pohl describes his particular kind of science fiction as "cautionary": the novels he writes point out the negative, long range consequences of present actions. Pohl takes some aspect of contemporary society and projects it into a future time as if to say, "If our society keeps doing this here is what the result will be." He is particularly concerned with rapidly developing technology that is not matched by a corresponding improvement in the quality of living. According to Pohl, science fiction is "the only kind of writing which takes into account the most important fact of life in the world today: change.
Published December 6, 2011 by St. Martin's Griffin. 256 pages
Genres: Science Fiction & Fantasy, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Space Merchants

Publishers Weekly

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In 1953, Pohl and Kornbluth (1923–1958) published this wry tale of a future run by corporations, a groundbreaking narrative in its time.

Sep 19 2011 | Read Full Review of The Space Merchants

SF Signal

BRIEF SYNOPSIS: Advertising associate Mitch Courtenay is assigned to run the stolen Venus Project, which aims to sell an overpopulated America on the idea of colonizing the planet Venus.

Nov 28 2003 | Read Full Review of The Space Merchants

The Zone

The Space Merchants is very much of its era, and while there's a nice line in futuristic slang, Courtenay doesn't ring true as a real character when compared to characters created by some of Pohl and Kornbluth's contemporaries, such as Dick and Vonnegut, whose humanity and depth transcend t...

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