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På tærskelen til evigheden (1975)

af John Brunner

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Serier: Club of Rome Quartet (4)

MedlemmerAnmeldelserPopularitetGennemsnitlig vurderingOmtaler
1,5942711,098 (3.83)45
In a world drowning in data, a fugitive tries to outrun the forces that want to reprogram him, in this smart, edgy novel by a Hugo Award-winning author.   Constantly shifting his identity among a population choking on information, innovation, and novelty, Nickie Haflinger is a most dangerous outlaw, yet he doesn't even appear to exist. As global society falls apart in all directions, with corporate power run amok and personal freedom surrendered to computers and bureaucrats, Haflinger is caught and about to be re-programmed. Now he has to try to escape once again, defy the government--and turn the tide of organizational destruction, in this visionary science fiction novel by the author of The Sheep Look Up and Stand on Zanzibar.   "Brunner writes about the future as if he and the reader were already living in it." --The New York Times Book Review   "When John Brunner first told me of his intention to write the book, I was fascinated--but I wondered whether he, or anyone, could bring it off. Bring it off he has, with cool brilliance. A hero with transient personalities, animals with souls, think tanks and survival communities fuse to form a future so plausibly alive it as twitched at me ever since." --Alvin Toffler, author of Future Shock   "One of the most important science fiction authors. Brunner held a mirror up to reflect our foibles because he wanted to save us from ourselves." --SF Site… (mere)
  1. 01
    State Tectonics af Malka Older (jsburbidge)
    jsburbidge: Similar concerns with the establishment if muctodemocracy using extended send publicly available networking.
  2. 02
    1984 af George Orwell (freetrader)
    freetrader: A lot of the novel feels like 1984. Less grim of course. Also 1984 is mentioned at some point in the discussion.
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» Se også 45 omtaler

Engelsk (25)  Spansk (1)  Tysk (1)  Alle sprog (27)
Viser 1-5 af 27 (næste | vis alle)
Some interesting extrapolations of Toffler's ideas. God-awful prose. ( )
  encephalical | Apr 16, 2024 |
Well this was interesting but in beginning very tiresome experience. First two thirds of the book feel like watching multiple parallel movie reels projected on the same screen and overlapping in a way that can make you agitated very soon because basic plot is hidden below these overlays and it takes time for it to come up.

If you ever watched Paul Verhoeven's SF movies then these multiple story paths play the role of Vehoeven's commercial "breaks" but in a much more aggressive manner.

So first part is crazy, its like watching a movie with 100 actors and having about 1-1.5 minute dedicated to each of them. No way you can remember all of this stuff or what is actually going on.

Story is very contemporary. Through our main protagonist, Nick, we are given a very dystopian picture of the future. Picture that unfortunately resonates with out present. It is world where data networks (what today we call Internet) rule everything, everything is run by them (whether that should be the case or not - again same as in our present) and people are considered by powers to be [that control these very networks] as nothing more than objects providing data to mainframe systems (now popularly called clouds, but you get the gist). Information is everything and humans are treated as simple data carriers - external disks or sensors.

Nick, being trained by elite corporation, uses all he knows to evade the now de-facto full control of life executed through the data network. Destined to become one of the soulless, almost robotic operatives that form think tanks for almost every political or social problem or issue, Nick manages to identify this process of eliminating empathy or anything that does not comply with the expected behavior. He proves to be quite an actor and capable to evade the tests and finally manages to escape with the goal of living off the grid. But as he tries to evade and as he lives through multiple identities spanning few years he finally gets caught by the corporation when he finally learns what love is and lowers his guard. And corporation is ruthless, they need to see what is it that turned Nick, their prize operative, against them. And they need to know how to stop it. So they use every means at their disposal.

I wont go into the details here because it would ruin the story but again I have to say story is frighteningly reminiscent of our present.

Constant bombardment of people with useless information - everything that can be useful is made difficult to find while TV shows, commercials, reality shows akin to gladiatorial fights and opinion polls [used more to push people towards certain options then to give actual options, sort of a sinister Schroedinger's cat lab] are everywhere. It is world where nothing is lacking but still life has no meaning, people are estranged from themselves, there is no family, and only constant is continuous movement, migration from one coast to other, of people for various reasons (change is always good being the most popular one) so they cannot grow their roots. Reason is simple, constantly on the move, constantly bombarded by rubbish people get more pliable and smaller problem for the government. And if in this constant movement every place is same as the other so people feel that actually nothing is changed so they remain compliant- then all the better because people will accept anything just to avoid rustling feathers of those who control them especially when they have a hint of what awaits them if they rebel.

As I said terrible, terrible view of the future that became in great part our present.

Author also shows one other part of our present that came up in last two years - how easy it is for vengeful government to foment negative opinions using various so called spin-doctors and rob people from the very means of life (asset freezing) or even their life (through mobbing and attacks via social media) in a matter of seconds. Something that would previously take court orders is now willingly done by banks and companies so they just can be spared of any pogroms by activists - as if reasoning that if people are innocent they will survive but basically leaving them in the open to die, figuratively and literally. How easy it is to erase the person .... And how easy is for the entire population to shrug their shoulders and decide to live under the mass bubble of only one source of information.

Author blames this to the links of organized crime with high levels of government and big corporations. This is only part I disagree - it is not organized crime as a third party (in terms of mafia or something like that) but those forces in government and business that always acted above the law and are now given the ultimate means of control. These are the greatest crime organizations in history of humankind.

Book has a happy ending of sorts, at least provides a dim light at the end of the tunnel. Reason is simple, actions of few can only start the change but people need to chose it and fight for it. And how many will decide to use the information provided in a way it was intended, for knowledge? Very few unfortunately, because it is easier to track celebrities and get on with the most popular political/social idea of the moment and deal with the heretics. Because understanding and attention is to be given only to those who in the end do not affect us directly - when we feel that somebody thinks differently, even by just asking questions - today, discussion is no longer an option, one must silence every difference. In day and age of so much talk about equality world has become aggressively intolerable. As author says people are no longer looked at as individuals but as some preconceived notion of human being together with all expected beliefs and thoughts. If one does not match the mold he is very soon send to recovery institutions.

I just hope there is more than one Precipice in the world. Otherwise ..... bad, bad, bad......

Very interesting book, highly recommended.

P.S.

One of the best parts of the book is the way people try to get meaning to their lives and activities - way marketing experts and other spin-doctors get treated is one of the best kicks from the book :) ( )
  Zare | Jan 23, 2024 |
Story: 5 / 10
Characters: 6
Setting: 7.5
Prose: 4

Themes: Software, hacking, government, spying ( )
  MXMLLN | Jan 12, 2024 |
The United States of John Brunner's 1975 work "The Shockwave Rider" looks much like the United States of 2019 under Trump's administration. In John Brunner's book, The saviour of the people is not Bernie Sanders, an elderly Jewish man, or a person of color, but a young white man, naturally. This young man is among a group of youngsters who were found to have exceedingly high IQs and the US government spent millions on training them to be super adepts. To pay back the$ spent on them, they are expected to work in the service of the government for the rest of their lives, programming the people in different ways to serve the needs of the predator class.
But one of them escaped, and used his government codes to try to help undo the harm done.

Haven't you always wondered why people that are good at hacking computers don't turn to hacking computers for the good of the people?

Give them bread and circuses...
P.215:
"For the convenience of the lazy plebeians, the monthly distributions of corn were converted into a daily allowance of bread... And when the popular clamor accused the dearness and scarcity of wine... Rigid sobriety was insensibly relaxed; and although the generous design of Aurelian does not appear to have been executed in its full extent, the use of wine was allowed on very easy liberal terms... And the meanest Roman could purchase, with a small copper coin, the daily enjoyment of a scene of pomp and luxury which might excite the Envy of the kings of Asia... But the most Lively and Splendid amusement of the idle multitude depended on the frequent exhibition of public games and spectacles... The happiness of Rome appeared to hang on the event of a race."

P233
" 'Be assured they're typical. They've been systematically steered away from understanding of the single most important truth about mankind. It's as though you were to comb the continent for the kindest, most generous, most considerate individuals you could find, and then spend years persuading them that because such attitudes are rare, they must be abnormal and should be cured.' "

P.241
" 'Oh...' Posta took a deep breath. 'More or less this; the cost of staying out front--economically, in terms of Prestige, and so forth -- has been to invoke the counterpart of the athlete's "Second wind," which burns up muscle tissue, you can't keep that up forever. And what we've been burning is people who could have been useful, talented members of society if the pressure had been less intense. As it was, they turned to crime or suicide or went insane.' "

P.254
" 'Anybody here get nightmares because you know data exists you can't get at and other people can? Anybody suffering with chronic anxiety, insomnia, digestive trouble, general stress response syndrome? Turn any wet stone and you find victims. And as to the underlying cause... Any of you play at fencing? Yes? Then you know how frustrating it is to find that your opponent has claimed a point slam in the middle of your best potential triangle. All your cherished games go crash because he outsmarted you. Well, that's a game. When it's a matter of real life it's not fun anymore, is it? And up to now the data net has been consciously manipulated to prevent us finding out what we most need to know.

" 'We know, we feel in our guts, that decisions are constantly being made which are going to wreck our ambitions, our dreams, our personal relationships. But the people making those decisions are keeping them secret, because if they don't they'll lose the leverage they have over their subordinates. It's a Marvel we're not all gibbering with terror. A good few of us do wind up gibbering, don't they? Others manage to keep afloat by denying -- repressing -- awareness of the risks that it's all going to go smash. Other still drive themselves into null passivity, what's been called "the new conformity.". . Which is sick. Is the purpose of creating the largest information- transmission system in history to present mankind with a brand-new reason for paranoia?' " ( )
  burritapal | Oct 23, 2022 |
Robert Slade es una creación del héroe (un genio de la computadora) usado como herramienta para terminar con la segregación y opresión de la élite dirigente. El mundo de `El Jinete en la onda de shock`, (los Estados Unidos en un futuro no muy lejano) tiene una red de información universal. Canales de audio, video y datos están todos unidos y cualquiera puede solicitar cualquier cosa desde una terminal. La élite, por supuesto obtienen la información, las masas obtienen información filtrada y propaganda.
  Natt90 | Jun 23, 2022 |
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In a world drowning in data, a fugitive tries to outrun the forces that want to reprogram him, in this smart, edgy novel by a Hugo Award-winning author.   Constantly shifting his identity among a population choking on information, innovation, and novelty, Nickie Haflinger is a most dangerous outlaw, yet he doesn't even appear to exist. As global society falls apart in all directions, with corporate power run amok and personal freedom surrendered to computers and bureaucrats, Haflinger is caught and about to be re-programmed. Now he has to try to escape once again, defy the government--and turn the tide of organizational destruction, in this visionary science fiction novel by the author of The Sheep Look Up and Stand on Zanzibar.   "Brunner writes about the future as if he and the reader were already living in it." --The New York Times Book Review   "When John Brunner first told me of his intention to write the book, I was fascinated--but I wondered whether he, or anyone, could bring it off. Bring it off he has, with cool brilliance. A hero with transient personalities, animals with souls, think tanks and survival communities fuse to form a future so plausibly alive it as twitched at me ever since." --Alvin Toffler, author of Future Shock   "One of the most important science fiction authors. Brunner held a mirror up to reflect our foibles because he wanted to save us from ourselves." --SF Site

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