The Space Merchants

Frederik Pohl, C. M. Kornbluth
The Space Merchants Cover

The Space Merchants - Frederik Pohl et al


First published in 1952, this book shows a future with advertising agencies on top of the heap, and life isn't pretty for the rest of us. The environment is shot, cities are crowded and food tasteless (and very much GMO).

By coincidence, I was reading this at the same time as the non-fiction The Evening Star: Venus Observed, and unlike other science fiction from the early 50s, Venus was shown to be hot and inhospitable. Scientists have a plan to terraform and colonize, led by advertising executive Mitch Courtenay.

I enjoyed the twists and turns of the plot and nodded at some of the foresight. At the time this book didn't rate any award nominations, but it is now on several recommended lists and the SF Masterworks. It is also relatively short, and definitely worth a read. Frederick Pohl penned a sequel 32 years later, and I will probably add it to my reading list.