The Space Merchants
I’m very close to re-organizing the site, please bear with me. Meanwhile, here’s a book that I came across and will read soon. I’m drawn to dystopian sci-fi literature like it’s a car wreck. Horrifying, yet I can’t stop looking.
The Space Merchants by C. M Kornbluth and Frederik Pohl, 1958
In a vastly overpopulated world, businesses have taken the place of governments and now hold all political power. States exist merely to ensure the survival of huge trans-national corporations. Advertising has become hugely aggressive and by far the best-paid profession. Through advertising, the public is constantly deluded into thinking that the quality of life is improved by all the products placed on the market. 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; the colonists would have to endure a harsh climate for many generations until the planet could be terraformed.
The protagonist, Mitch Courtenay, is a star-class copywriter in the Fowler Schocken advertising agency who has been assigned the ad campaign which would attract colonists to Venus. But a lot more is happening than he knows about. It soon becomes a tale of mystery and intrigue, in which many of the characters are not what they seem, and Mitch’s loyalties and opinions change drastically over the course of the narrative.