Sunday, May 13, 2012

Buyers and Sellers in Space

I promised yesterday that I would have a post for today, and here is the first part of it (the latter part you will receive tomorrow). Earlier this week, I finished The Space Merchants by Frederik Pohl and Cyril M. Kornbluth. I will admit, it was a little difficult to get into, but I feel rewarded that I was able to finish the novel. It's a fun little story packed wit a bit of espionage and intrigue. More or less the stuff of secret agents than a science fiction story.

The Space Merchants is set in a not-so-distant future where the moon is beginning to become populated and Venus has begun to gain some hype for much of the same reason. In this future, the United States government has essentially been replaced by corporate America. Corporations hold seats in congress, and the President is a smug little man who often gets left out of the loop (I would kind of like to see what Pohl and Kornbluth have done with the judicial system).

I guess what took me so long to get into the story was the lack of action in the first quarter to half of the book. Not that there wasn't any. There just wasn't enough. Here's what happens. We meet our protagonist, star-classed copywriter Mitch Courtenay, shortly before he is given the reins for the Venus advertising project. Courtenay is a little reluctant, but realizes it will give him a large boost in his status. We also learn that he has a wife, or a wife-to-be, though she is beginning to think about leaving him. Much of the book is Mitch dwelling on her in one way or another.

After taking over the Venus project, things begin to heat up a little for Courtenay. Firstly, he meets with the first man to visit Venus. A short man, no taller than three feet and weighing no more than ninety pounds, who was selected only to travel to Venus for his size. He ends up being more trouble than he is worth for Mitch, though really not too much trouble at all. Around this time there are two assassination attempts on Courtenay's life. This is also just about where the action starts to pick up.

I think I'll leave it at that for tonight. Come back tomorrow for a little bit more of the story. I don't want to give away any spoilers, but I do want to be honest in letting you know where some of the fun parts of the story are.

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