Read Make Room Make Room by Harry Harrison Online

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The world is crowded. Far too crowded. Its starving billions live on lentils, soya beans, and —if they’re lucky—the odd starving rat. In a New York City groaning under the burden of 35 million inhabitants, detective Andy Rusch is engaged in a desperate and lonely hunt for a killer everyone has forgotten. For even in a world such as this, a policeman can find himself utterlThe world is crowded. Far too crowded. Its starving billions live on lentils, soya beans, and —if they’re lucky—the odd starving rat. In a New York City groaning under the burden of 35 million inhabitants, detective Andy Rusch is engaged in a desperate and lonely hunt for a killer everyone has forgotten. For even in a world such as this, a policeman can find himself utterly alone…. Acclaimed on its original publication in 1966, Make Room! Make Room! was adapted into the movie Soylent Green in 1973, starring Charlton Heston along with Edward G. Robinson in his last role....

Title : Make Room Make Room
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780425040430
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 153 Pages
Status : Available For Download
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Make Room Make Room Reviews

  • Stephen
    2018-11-15 08:04

    Color me happy and more than a little surprised to be decorating this review with as many stars as I am because I went into this novel with pretty subdued expectations. I would say expectations on par with those I hold for the latest cinematic embarassment by Mr. Dickoless Cage. I know that's not very nice, but I will never, never forgive that talent-free ass bozo for effectively castratingGhost Rider in front of the general public, despite being a self-described fanboy of the character. The guy should be tied up in a Pulp Fiction style basement and JAMhandled by the gimp. WOW, okay...I am way off on a tangent here aren't I?...let's get back to the book.Where was I? Oh yeah....So leaving aside shitty actors with no ability, this is an excellent novel and a very welcome surprise. Written in 1966 (but taking place in 1999) the story posits a world reaping the results of massive over-population and the depletion of natural resources....which of course we know could NEVER really happen and is just one of those wacky SF ideas these weirdo writers come up with. Hmm? Anyway, while loosely framed as a mystery involving a hard-boiled detective investigating a murder, this plot device is really just a means by which the author explores the future society of New York City (population 35 Million, as opposed to the just under 10 Million of present day 2011).What really grabbed me by the fruits about the story is the terrific sense of place the author establishes through random, but well chosen, details about life in this "future" New York. Harrison is able to seamlessly weave into the narrative the most fascinating snapshots of the world without resorting to big, drawn out expositional paragraphs. I was very impressed by his control over his story. This novel is a lesson in exceptional world-building.We learn significant background details such as information involving food riots, foodstuffs made from plankton, soy bean and lentil steaks, ever increasing prices of commodities, water shortages, debates about birth control, and that all of the characters suffer from physical ailments resultng from mal-nutrition or disease. The author provides this well fleshed, intricate picture of the world without dropping major dumps of info that would clog up the natural flow of the story. Well done, sir. Well done indeed. In addition to the exceptionally delivered background info, the characters are very much three dimensional and act pursuant to complex and subtle motivations. This kind of high level development is unusual for this kind of short 60's science fiction novel. Again the author exceeed expectations and his ability to do that consistently is worthy of serious kudos. To sum up, this is a terriific story. While not up to the "all time great" status of a book like Stand on Zanzibar (which is my standard for this kind of science fiction story), this is certainly an outstanding story and among the best of its type that I have read.4.5 to 5.0 stars. HIGHEST POSSIBLE RECOMMENDATION!!

  • Rebecca McNutt
    2018-12-04 07:55

    Before we had dystopian novels being pushed out like crazy in the 2000's, Make Room, Make Room! came out in 1966 and brought up a bleak and disturbingly believable dystopian future world, one filled with extreme overpopulation, pollution and madness. It's still just as chilling today, in fact the 21st century has made it even more believable than it used to be, making for a frightening but very intriguing book.If you're a fan of the 1970's film Soylent Green, well, Make Room, Make Room! was the basis for that film. And the film's memorable scene with the detective screaming out "SOYLENT GREEN IS PEOPLE! IT'S MADE OUTTA PEOPLE, WE GOTTA STOP 'EM... SOMEHOW..." isn't in the book. So if you're reading Make Room, Make Room expecting a movie novel, you won't find that - but you still won't be disappointed; Make Room, Make Room is an amazing novel with a nostalgic feel but a timeless message.

  • Apatt
    2018-12-07 05:40

    “So mankind gobbled in a century all the world’s resources that had taken millions of years to store up, and no one on the top gave a damn or listened to all the voices that were trying to warn them, they just let us overproduce and overconsume until now the oil is gone, the topsoil depleted and washed away, the trees chopped down, the animals extinct, the earth poisoned, and all we have to show for this is seven billion people fighting over the scraps that are left, living a miserable existence—and still breeding without control. So I say the time has come to stand up and be counted.”Is overpopulation still a thing? When was the last time you heard it discussed? I don’t know the answer to that, there are opposing views on whether overpopulation still poses a significant threat to all of humanity or, since population growth has stabilized in many countries, some demographic analysts are saying that it is no longer a serious matter. Nowadays climate change is generally viewed as a more pressing issue.In the 60s overpopulation was perceived as a major threat and it is one of the dystopian tropes often used by sci-fi authors. Several “overpopulation” sci-fi novels have become classics of the genre, John Brunner’sStand on Zanzibar,The Sheep Look Up by the same author, and Robert Silverberg’s The World Inside spring to mind. However, for me, the one emblematic sci-fi book on this subject is Harry Harrison’s Make Room! Make Room!.Make Room! Make Room! was first published in 1966, it is set in the (then) future of 1999, starting in August and ends shortly after midnight of January 1st, 2000. In this version of 1999, the global population is seven billion, food, water, electricity and living accommodations are scarce. In New York, where the novel is set, millions of people are living on the streets, public transportation is no longer in operation, and all basic necessities are strictly rationed. Wheat crackers have become a staple food, and meat is mostly only available in an artificial form called “soylent meat”, produced from soya beans.But how do you tell a story about overpopulation? The concept does not seem to lend itself to conventional plotting. Harrison does this by focusing on just a few protagonists rather than writing an epic but fragmented novel about a large cast of characters. Detective Andy Rusch is the main character of this book, he shares a cramped little apartment with Sol, a retired engineer. Andy is assigned to investigate a murder of an “important businessman” called Michael O’Brien who is, in reality, a gangster with political connections. O’Brien lives in a walled off luxury apartment with access to unlimited electricity and water supply, they even have air conditioning. This is where Andy meets Shirl Greene, O’Brien’s girlfriend who was living with the murder victim and now has to move out. The two predictably form a relationship. To the readers the identity of the killer is not a mystery; it is a destitute teenager who attempted to burgle the apartment, and was caught in the act by O’Brien and accidentally killed him in self-defense.The first half of the book is so focused on the murder investigation that I did wonder how this is a novel about overpopulation, let alone a sci-fi novel. However, the dystopia is always there in the background, in the state of Andy’s apartment, the people lying on the street that he has to step over to get into his home, his roommate powering their refrigerator by hooking it to a bicycle and cycling like mad. In the second half of the book, the murder investigation fades into the background and an accident causes sea water to seep into the water supply which is quickly shut down. Water become even more strictly rationed and is only available from “water stations” which has to be carried home in bottles and buckets. Children are beginning to contract kwashiorkor, a form of severe protein–energy malnutrition hitherto nonexistent in the US. Living condition deteriorates throughout the narrative and a massive city-wide riot seems imminent.Make Room! Make Room! paints a grim and depressing picture of an overpopulated New York, it frighteningly depicts the dehumanizing effect of overpopulation. The way of life we take for granted is not sustainable under such conditions, even the simple human interrelationships between family members and friends are corroded by the constant suffering and hardship. Make Room! Make Room! is not a fun read as such, it is too harrowing for that, but it is a good, thought-provoking read. It is quite well written, with a clear straightforward prose, the characters are well developed and sympathetic. The fact that the actual year 1999 was nothing like this is not a reason to dismiss this cautionary tale out of hand. For all we know, Harrison has only overestimated the timing but the catastrophe he depicts here is still possible.Notes:• The film adaptation of Make Room! Make Room! is much better known than the book. It is a 1973 movie called Soylent Green. It departs from the source material in many details (especially the titular foodstuff), but is true to the book’s spirit.• Q: Is overpopulation still a problem?• A: Yes / No / Maybe •Harry Harrison is one of the popular sci-fi authors during the 60s through to the 80s, his popularity declined a bit from the 90s onward. Sadly he passed away in 2012. Make Room! Make Room! is atypical of his output. He tended to write fast-paced, lighthearted sci-fi adventures, like his signature seriesThe Stainless Steel Rat, my personal favorite of his book isWest of Eden.Quotes:“The millennium is here, now, upon us a populous world of souls awaiting His call. This is the true millennium. False prophets said it was the year one thousand, but there are more people here in this single city than there were in the entire world at that time. Now is the hour, we can see it nearing, we can read the signs. The world can hold no more, it will crack asunder under the weight of the masses of people.”“We can go without washing for a while, it won’t kill us, and when the water is connected up again we can all have a good scrub. It’s something to look forward to.”“Face it, this city is through. What they need here is animal trainers, not policemen.”“This whole country is one big farm and one big appetite. There’s just as many people down South as there is up North and, since there’s no public transportation, anyone who tried to walk to the land of sunshine would starve to death long before he got there. People stay put because the country is organized to take care of them where they are.”“New York City trembled on the brink of disaster. Every locked warehouse was a nucleus of dissent, surrounded by crowds who were hungry and afraid and searching for someone to blame. Their anger incited them to riot, and the food riots turned to water riots and then to looting, wherever this was possible.”

  • Marvin
    2018-11-12 13:36

    First thing, Forget about the movie Soylent Green which was based on Harry Harrison's novel about overpopulation, Make Room! Make Room!. There is no Charleston Heston screaming , "Soylent Green is people!" and nothing about cannibalism. What we have instead is a very effective and disquieting look at a future where overpopulation is rampant and food and water sources are depleting. While he centers his story around a New York detective and a "accidental" murder, Harrison is more interested in depicting his character's more personal responsse to their environment. Sol (beautifully played by Edward G. Robinson in the movie and the best thing about the film) is most memorable with his ability to remember the past and his examination of where they went wrong. His soliloquy on birth control still rings true today. Yet all the novel's protagonists are nicely developed. Considering the topic, this is actually a fairly subtle novel and one of the best novels by veteran Sci-fi writer Harrison. Highly recommended with a strong four stars.

  • Debbie Zapata
    2018-11-25 06:56

    Of course I remember the movie Soylent Green. I saw it at the drive-in gazillions of years ago, and many times since. But let me tell you, as dramatic as the movie is, with Charlton Heston as main character Andy Rusch giving the infamous scream of (view spoiler)[Soylent Green is PEOPLE!! (hide spoiler)] there is actually no soylent green in the book at all. There are red crackers, seaweed crackers, brown soylent (soy/lentil) steaks and eventually small soylent burgers supposedly with a smoky-barbecue flavor. So there is no eating of (view spoiler)[people (hide spoiler)] here. There is not much eating of anything, because there is simply not much food. Or water. Or electricity. Or personal space. And this makes the book feel much more terrifying, because it is easier to imagine our world becoming exactly like Harrison's New York City. Written in 1966, the story takes place during the last six months of 1999. Okay, we do all know that the world survived the big leap from the year 1999 to the year 2000. But Harrison's dedication shows us what he was concerned about at the time he wrote this book. To Todd and Moria ~~ For your sakes, children, I hope this proves to be a work of fiction. There are 35 million people in New York City. Andy Rusch is one of them. He is a detective on the police force, sharing living space with an old man named Solomon Kahn. Andy is assigned to investigate a homicide, and at first it seems to be cut and dried, another case to be dealt with as quickly as possible and forgotten. But due to a bit of paranoia and misinterpretation on the part of certain people in control of things behind the scenes, pressure is put on the police force to find the killer, not simply to mark the case closed without a proper investigation. In the process of his more thorough detective work, Andy gets to know the victim's girlfriend Shirl, who becomes very important in his own life. The reader spends time with the killer, we even see him commit the crime, but does Andy ever catch him? But the police procedure is only a tiny part of the story. The main theme is the lack of everything that makes a city a decent place to live. Water and food rations are small and often cut. Electricity is iffy, there are no cars on the streets, but they do fill once-vacant lots where homeless people crowd into their abandoned bodies for shelter. Of course some people do manage to live in air-conditioned luxury, and even buy beef from the meatleggers. There are always people who can get you things for the right price and others who have that price. Overall the feel of the book is grimy, hot, sticky, hopeless, and extremely crowded. Solomon spends time in the second part of the book talking about why the country has turned out the way it has, and his words feel like something we could be hearing today. Or perhaps should be hearing today. As I said earlier, it is very easy to imagine our world becoming Andy's world. A few natural disasters, a little more climate change, one or two dozen more crooked politicians, lots and lots of more people and there we are. I agree with Harrison's wish in his dedication. However, it does seem that we are well on the way to making this statement by Solomon a reality: One time we had the whole world in our hands, but we ate it and burned it and it's gone now.

  • Manny
    2018-11-17 12:41

    Good morning class! Now, hands up everyone who knows what Soylent Green is made of. Ah, that's very good. I'm glad to see you read your assignment.I'm sorry, we're not quite finished yet. What is the book's original title? No, of course it isn't a trick question. You should have read it a little more carefully...

  • Becky
    2018-11-10 09:53

    Sigh... Where to begin? This is my second, and probably last Harry Harrison novel. I know that he's considered one of the best science fiction writers of his time, and I can't disagree... But it's not his time anymore, and in my opinion, his writing just doesn't stand the test of time. He shouldn't feel too offended though, this opinion applies to quite a few writers whose work shows its age, and not in a George Clooney "Gets Better With" kind of way. The ideas and concepts I can appreciate. The overcrowding, the overpopulation, the over-consumption and the warnings to future us to not let it happen that way... This stuff I can appreciate. My favorite parts of the book were Sol's railing against the anti-birth control agenda, and Peter the homeless preacher's despair at it NOT being the end of the world when the clock strikes midnight on Jan 1, 2000. "A thousand more years of THIS??"These bits were the most real and tangible and human parts of the book for me. The rest was just set dressing... Or outdated attitudes that irritated me more and more as the book went on. Sexism and misogyny, racism, classism... I have a hard time ignoring these things just because the book is 50 years old and things were different then. My thinking is, if Harrison was so ahead of his time thinking about overpopulation and a woman's right to choose whether to have kids or not, then he should also... I dunno, not objectify and make it out that their only value lies between their legs. Woman after woman was described as greedy, hard, cold, and bitchy... And also, coincidentally, usually overweight and lazy, too. Except Shirl, who was exceptionally beautiful... And who sells herself because that's what beautiful girls do in a hard world. There is apparently no other work or options. Fuck for money and place and privilege, or barely subsist on rations and "love". Maybe if her ass got a job and didn't sit at home like a suburban housewife, they might've had an easier time of life, and she wouldn't have been so resentful of Andy being gone 20 hours a day DOING HIS JOB. Ugh.I just expect a bit more from someone who seems to think, in both of the books I've read of Harrison's, that women are capable and equal to men, but in every action writes them the exact opposite way. It bugs me. And let's not even start the rant on how Asians were depicted. FML. "Chink" this and "chink" that. SERIOUSLY. I can't get down with that shit.I seriously never thought I'd ever say that my favorite parts of a book would be the PREACHY bits. Wow. Anyway. So. Everyone sign up for the Voluntary Human Extinction Project... Or more realistically... Lobby your representatives for better birth control options - and NOT just for women - and safe abortion facilities, because, last I checked, it is still legal in the US, though some would rather unwanted babies be born to families that can't support them. Because that makes sense. Grrr...Plan your families... We have the technology. Or we overpopulate and consume even more than we do now, and everyone in our children's or grandchildren's future suffers. That is all.

  • Tfitoby
    2018-12-04 13:54

    A fine piece of science fiction that grabs you from the start with it's world building and high quality writing and entertains for over 200 pages.Soylent Green might have been people but Make Room! Make Room! is a story about a detective investigating a murder in a future world with a drastic problem with over-population and a lack of natural resources. The detective aspect works as an interesting framing story that allows Harrison to explore the nuances of his world - food riots, vegan diets, welfare state, birth control, physical defects - without the use of mass amounts of exposition or the dreaded info dump. And yet he manages to write real and fully developed characters who interact with this future in their own unique and subtle ways.Despite being written in 1966 and set in 1999 the entire concept is still incredibly believable and some of the political messages made in the novel still haven't been tackled by our leaders and politicians. This must sit alongside The Death of Grass as one of the most intelligent responses in the science fiction canon to the ecological disaster that threatens our race and planet and best of all it doesn't have its own political agenda offering absurd L.Ron Hubbard like theories as the saviour of civilisation.I know Harry Harrison from his Stainless Steel Rat and Bill, The Galactic Hero books which seem to specialise in being a bit silly, but this works brings a whole new level of respect to his work. There are aspects of this book that have clearly influenced a lot of writers that came after him, Neal Stephenson builds a similar shiptown in Snow Crash for example and even describes it in much the same way. Yet still I can't bring myself to give it 5 stars. Don't let that dissuade you, this is one that you should definitely not miss if you're a fan of intelligent science fiction.

  • Jason
    2018-11-09 11:52

    Make Room! Make Room! was the basis for the classic sci-fi flick Soylent Green. Of course, the scene that everyone remembers from the film - Charleston Heston yelling, "Soylent Green is people!" at the end - never appears in the book. Sorry, kids, no cannibalism in this rather slow read from the 1960s, but lots of commentary on the dangers of overpopulation.It's actually a fairly depressing story about environmental collapse: the food is pretty much gone and it's hot all the time due to global warming (yep, we knew that was coming way back in the '60s. Good thing we got right on it and solved the problem before... oh, wait. Actually, we've done nothing). The situation for everyone is made worse by good old gridlock in Congress. That's actually one of the most darkly comic scenes in the novel: with overpopulation literally crushing the life out of the planet, Congress argues over the "morality" of allowing women to use birth control. It would be funny if it wasn't so sad and true to life.It's not exactly a page turner and there is little if any redemption for any of the characters involved, but it is an interesting relic from the not-so-old days of old, one that reminds us that there really is nothing new under the sun.

  • Robert
    2018-12-01 08:55

    It's the future - 1999 in fact! Over 7 billion humans, 35 million of them in New York City where a cop, a gangster's moll and a street kid all collide on their no longer separate searches for food and water security. Shanties, tent cities, people living in ships and cars that can't move because there's no more oil. Sounds like Harrison only got the date wrong...It's an odd book tackling the question of over-population back in the 1960s when it seems to have first been taken seriously (though not by policy makers, plainly). The story is told quite seriously which may come as a surprise to folks familiar with Harrison's OTT spoof/satires starring the Stainless Steel Rat and the points are made deftly - except towards the end when one of the characters turns into a talking head and starts handing out lectures about contraception, Catholicism and politics. This spoiled matters somewhat by being too overt and heavy handed. It's also a bit of a shame that the only pleasant female character is the most minor one.I can't help contrasting this book with A Torrent of Faces in which a future population of 1 Trillion people is postulated. Rather than a dystopian New York there's a world city and no apparent mineral resource problem. Less realistic but more fun...

  • Ali Berk Çetinbudaklar
    2018-12-10 05:49

    Yıllar önce izlediğim Soylent Green'in, birebir uyarlandığı kitap olarak düşünüyordum, ama baya farklılık varmış; hele ki filmi özellikle vurucu yapan kısma acaba ne zaman geleceğim diye beklerken, kitabın bitişiyle öyle bir kısmın olmadığını anladım. Çoğu kişi belki de bu yüzden "uyarlandığı kitaptan daha iyi olan filmler" listesine ekleyecektir S.G.'yi.

  • Nefariousbig
    2018-11-11 05:58

    Inevitable? Dystrophic in Dystopia. Imagined or Insighted? This 1973 synopsis sounds like a current headline: In 2022, with 40 million people in New York City alone, housing is dilapidated and overcrowded; homeless people fill the streets and food is scarce; and most of the population survives on rations produced by the Soylent Corporation, whereof the newest product is Soylent Green, a green wafer advertised to contain "high-energy plankton", more nutritious and palatable than its predecessors "Red" and "Yellow", but in short supply.

  • Jay
    2018-11-17 14:06

    I was first exposed to the work of American sci-fi author Harry Harrison in my early teens, when I read his "Stainless Steel Rat" series, followed by the "Deathworld" trilogy and the Bill, the Galactic Hero series. That last was a parody, scathingly funny and a brilliant send-up of space opera sci-fi. The others were classic science fiction, and though they differed in tone they shared tight writing, crisp dialog, memorable characters, and thrilling plot twists.Since the classic 1973 film Soylent Green shares those traits (as well as superb acting), I was only mildly surprised when I learned, some time back, that it was based on this HH book, Make Room! Make Room! But for some reason, I had never managed to read the book...until now, and I wish I hadn't.[Warning: spoilers follow]The book version of the story bears little resemblance to the film, except for being set in the same world. It's a fairly standard crime tale with a rocky romance thrown in, but gone is the overarching conspiracy (the word "soylent" is only mentioned once or twice, and never explained); the relationships between the major characters are very different, and less interesting; the dialog is flaccid; and the crime which in the movie has the appearance of a random attack actually is a random attack in the book. It's a chore to read because there's no crescendo, no climax, no resolution--just a few months in the life of dystopian future New York as seen through the eyes of a couple of its unremarkable citizens.Perhaps the biggest disappointment of all, though, was getting 3/4 of the way through the book only to find that the reason HH wrote it was to frame a screed against the Catholic Church (and all other "bluenoses") for their opposition to birth control--the sole factor which, in this world, has led to a shockingly unsustainable population of 7 billion (!) by the year 1999, and all Earth's resources have been depleted. And he's not championing abortion, he's just talking about the birth control pill and family planning. Now granted, HH wrote the book in 1966 when the Pill was just becoming widely available, and certainly there was some cultural discomfiture as it was being adopted; but nothing in the moral arguments against it were sufficient to prompt the Malthusian doom-casting that falls jarringly into the later chapters like a stone into a bowl of oatmeal. And the family (thankfully missing from the film) that invades the main characters' apartment near the end are nothing short of feral caricatures that could have been written by a high schooler trying to impress his English teacher with his range of negative adjectives. They're clearly meant to be his archetypes of the kind of humans that will populate the world unless we start preventing births NOW!, but they're so cartoonish that they force the reader to suspend disbelief. (Since Harrison lived until 2012, I wonder if he was ever chagrined at the fall of birth rates to below replacement level in almost all developed countries in the last few decades.)I still think Harry Harrison is a sci-fi genius, and this horrid work does nothing to dim my enjoyment and admiration of his other books; it's hard to grasp that The Stainless Steel Rat and Make Room! Make Room! were written by the same man. But now I have an even greater appreciation for screenplay writer Stanley R. Greenberg, who somehow took this bland story with forgettable and unlovable characters and spun it into one of the best told, best written sci-fi films ever.Interestingly, Harry Harrison died almost 5 months to the day after the world population was estimated to reach 7 billion.

  • Andy
    2018-11-20 06:51

    Whoever turned this into the movie Soylent Green was brilliant.

  • Nancy Oakes
    2018-11-28 13:42

    Considering that this classic novel of sci-fi was written in the 1960s, it's still quite a grabber and definitely worth reading. You're welcome to stay here for the short version or click here for the longer one.The setting for Make Room! Make Room! is New York City, 1999, well beyond teeming with a population of 35 million people. Food is a precious commodity and water is rationed,except for the rich who have speakeasy-like secret meat markets for their shopping pleasures and can enjoy long showers in their guarded apartments.One of the defenders of the people in this overpopulated New York City filled with desperate people is Andy Rusch who lives in a room next to Sol, an elderly man who fills Andy's head with his old stories & opinions. Andy is currently tasked with finding Billy Chung, the murderer of a wealthy criminal named Michael O'Brien, who most of the policemen are glad to see gone. Andy wonders why this guy's death is such a big deal. All he knows is that the word has come down from the politicians that he's to give the case top priority. Overworked, tired, with a little extra food ration for being a cop, he starts his investigation and meets Shirl Greene, girlfriend/mistress to the dead guy, who is about to be tossed out into the streets; Billy Chung manages to find a way to disappear, holing up with a former priest who is waiting for the turn of the millennium, for the new heaven and new earth. Each character represents a different segment of the population; the murder plot is the frame for the real point of this book, which examines the hell of "an overpopulated future," as well as how things got to this state. While some reviewers say that the themes in this novel aren't relevant in today's world, I say a) read it again...you'll find plenty of issues that resonate today, and b) that it is an intriguing look at the looming issues of its time: overpopulation and the failure of the earth to sustain an out-of-control population was a real concern back then. Another prevalent criticism of this book was that it was nothing like the movie Soylent Green -- and failed to mention the secret behind the food. Really? Seriously? This book didn't even go down that path, so why on earth criticize it for something that Hollywood made up after the fact? Even Harrison, as his LA Times obituary notes, thought the film only occasionally "bore a faint resemblance to the book." While Harrison's doom-and-gloom scenario of 35 million people in New York City never came to pass, the book shouldn't just be one you turn your nose up at. According to the author's obituary, Tom Doherty, founder of Tor Books, noted that Harrison saw science fiction as a medium that "caused people to think about our world and what it could become.” That's one major reason I read sci-fi, although I have to admit I'm partial to older novels like this one. I liked it, and while maybe it's not the best sf novel I've ever read, it's definitely one I won't forget.

  • Patrick
    2018-11-19 08:47

    Harry Harrison is one of those great old names of Golden Age SF whose stuff I have vague memories of reading avidly as a child, but of which I remember very little about nowadays. In his case I know I loved his ‘Stainless Steel Rat’ books, but I can’t recall much about him as a writer, so it was partly for that reason that I picked this book up from the library. It had nothing to do with ‘Soylent Green’ because I didn’t realise this book was the source for that movie — though once that clicked, I had the weird experience of reading all the way through expecting that famous line which is never once delivered. (They made up the whole cannibalism thing for the film.)The book is based in Manhattan in the year 1999. It’s a dystopia. New York has become an impossibly overcrowded city of some thirty million people. Food and water are scarce, and about to become scarcer. Personal space and privacy are at a premium. Alcohol and meat are almost impossible to find; most people survive on composite foods made of lentils, soy and seaweed. The book follows Andy, an ordinary hard-working cop, and his investigation into the murder of a local gangster — but it isn’t really a crime story, and nor is it a political thriller.The death is an excuse for the author the delve into this world, to explore it in detail. And it is a world-builder’s book, I guess, a sort of Malthusian thought-experiment taken to some kind of conclusion. Whether it is logical or not, I don’t know; it starts from the proposition that the population boomed because the US government never endorsed or supported any kind of birth control program, and I really have no idea how plausible that may have seemed when this was written in the mid-sixties. But I don’t think you have to entirely believe this to enjoy the book — in my opinion, it works quite well as a simple tale of deep pessimism and urban despair (which are both things I very much enjoy in literature).I do have a few reservations. The writing is good — often really quite enjoyable, in a pulpy sort of way — but in many respects it hasn’t aged well. In particular, the portrayal of Andy’s girlfriend Shirl is a disappointing mass of wet cliches about sheltered, house-bound women that probably seemed dated when they were first written. I think we’re supposed to feel sorry for her when she ends up living with him and his roommate Sol in their tiny apartment with the bicycle-powered fridge and TV, but all I could think was that the least she could do was stop moping about and pedal the damn bike once in a while.There’s also an unflattering portrait of a ‘welfare queen’ family near the end of the book, complete with squalling, bratty kids, and what is so often described as an ‘entitled’ attitude towards the government welfare that rehouses them. I suspect the author had lost any interest he once had in the plot of the book by this point. But again, this is another unfortunate incidental detail in a book which is really about how hell is other people, in every conceivable sense.

  • Marian
    2018-11-18 08:44

    Soylent Green provides a more exciting story with a nice conspiracy and twist at the end, while Make Room! Make Room! provides more thought provoking material while giving a more in depth look at life in an overpopulated world.

  • Badseedgirl
    2018-11-12 05:47

    Wait a minute, you mean "Soylent Green"Isn'tpeople!?!?

  • Rachel
    2018-11-24 08:36

    This was a really wonderful book. I read it before I watched the movie (Soylent Green), but because a co-worker told me about the movie. It was really interesting to watch the movie just after finishing the book and compare the two. In many ways they were almost polar opposite, but then again, the essentials were very much the same.New York (and the entire world) are overpopulated and there is very little food and pretty much no space. According to the book the only decent place left to live in the world is Denmark, and that is just because they shoot people on sight if they try to breach the border. (AWESOME.) It makes you wonder at what point our country would actually institute a mandatory birth control policy. Would we have something similar to China where everyone is only allowed one child? Or would everyone who wanted a child (or children) have to be licensed? What exactly are we going to do when the finite resources of the world are exhausted. People stay where they are in this book because there is no way to go anywhere else. People have eaten most of the meat, so people can't even take horse drawn carriages and coaches. There isn't any oil left, so there is no way to power automobiles, planes or boats. There aren't enough food supplies for people to even stock up enough to move across the country on foot a la the pioneers. There is nothing to hunt except rats. Nothing to eat but Tilapia. And when will the oceans die too? And through all of this there is no policy limiting population growth. This is one of those interesting stories that takes place in "The Future" of 1999, which is now our past. The terrible thing is that while our population problems aren't as bad as the book, you can see how they could get there. It makes me want to consume less and reduce my personal footprint on the earth. I wonder what it would take to live off the grid... Something to think about.

  • Bill
    2018-11-12 14:04

    I was initially disappointed with novel on which the awesome movie Soylent Green was loosely based. This is a favorite movie which I've watched at least once a year since I recorded it on VHS. Loosely based is an understatement. The only things the book and movie have in common are the issue of over-population, two mentions of the word 'Soylent", Sol, a minor character in the book and Shirl, a much different character in the book. Tab is probably closest to the book's Tab. The entire plot is different. Oh, I forgot, the main character is a cop, but nothing like Charlton Heston's character (they even have different names). I was expecting the movie, but got something much scarier. I suggest one forget the movie when reading the book. The book stands on its own, as would be expected from a book winning a Nebula and a Saturn. The book is prescient in general, if not in details. The concerns raised by this book are happening today: the seas are rising, the oceans dying, a majority of humans live at subsistence levels, potable water is becoming scarce, global warming is happening and the politics of big business is preventing all solutions. This book warned of the effects of over-population and its effects on the environment in the mid '60s, a warning humans ignored. We are experiencing the effects of our ignorance today. This book is a pertinent today as when it was written. I hope they are teaching in the schools.

  • Jim
    2018-12-01 08:39

    This was the basis for the movie "Soylent Green" with Charlton Heston & Edward G. Robinson. Superb!

  • Terris
    2018-11-25 11:37

    Such an interesting book! This is the book that the movie "Soylent Green" was based on.It was written in 1966 and set in the future "1999"! Well, we're pretty far past that so it was kind of cool to think what the author, in 1966, thought the future was going to be like.Well, in this future there was no birth control. For religious reasons, birth control was not allowed so population growth went crazy. Therefore, the 344 million people living in the United States did not have enough food, water, clothing, medicine, or places to live. And, for some weird reason, they were still trying to vote down a bill that would allow some kind of birth control. It was really awful to see how people lived, or tried. There was a story thread about a cop, one of the main characters, who was trying to solve a murder case, and that kept the story moving.I just thought it was interesting to see the "future" through eyes of the past.

  • Johnny
    2018-11-20 07:57

    The only time I rubbed shoulders with Harry Harrison (a couple of decades ago), he was a jovial and delightful individual, firmly committed to socialism as a means of providing real social justice. So, it was difficult to read this earlier work about overpopulation and birth control called Make Room! Make Room! Written in the 1960s with the turn of the millennium in mind, all of the action takes place in 1999 (even though one character explains that the actual start of the new millennium would be 2001) and most of it in Manhattan (with a brief excursus to the Brooklyn Naval Yards). Food and water are both rationed and food is subsidized by “soylent” but possibly not “soylent green” supplements. There is no fuel so cars have become hulks—parking lots are now like Hoover Camps in the Great Depression with old cars becoming the tents for the homeless. It is a lawless environment and allowed Harry to preach the necessity of birth control and the fact that resources are limited. It also allows the story to be told from the perspective of a policeman (who believes in doing his job even though they are told to ignore any case that can’t be resolved immediately), a gun moll (well, that’s the role she’d have in a gangster movie—I’m just telegraphing the idea), and a thief/murderer. The policeman has to risk his life breaking up water riots and food riots. The woman has to adjust her life after her meal ticket no longer supports her. The thief discovers that no plan is foolproof and that, if you kill the wrong guy, the police might not let things go very soon.Harry does most of his preaching through the voice of an octogenarian Jewish man. The Yiddish sayings are not given in Yiddish, but the rhythm is right. The old guy gives sound advice, but ends up not taking his own. As a result, he discovers that the wisdom regarding life as told by the cynical preacher in Ecclesiastes is all too true. There is another preacher in the book. He is the classic prophet of the streets who quotes scripture verses out of context and proclaims that the end of the world is here. He reminds me of Queequeg and the mysterious writing on the coffin in Moby Dick. And his end is really no better. Frankly, the story is generally as muted as the environment in this 1999 that never happened. Yet, there are some legitimate warnings about consumption and overpopulation that bear reminding, just as 1984 didn’t happen as Orwell envisioned it but warns us about how close totalitarianism is to us when we don’t protect our liberty (as well as Sinclair Lewis’ It Can’t Happen Here that could happen here but didn’t happen with Father Coughlin as Lewis may have feared back in the Depression). It’s hard to write near-future science-fiction or speculative fiction without being proven wrong. Nonetheless, one sometimes needs to see an earlier view in order to help focus our modern perspectives.

  • Tony
    2018-11-17 13:05

    I picked this up because I love genre mixtures such as this book's blend of crime with speculative fiction, and also because I was curious to see what relation it bore to the film (Soylent Green), which is based on it. The book is a very direct representation of the concerns of its time -- namely overpopulation and environmental degradation. It's set in Manhattan (and one portion in Brooklyn) thirty years into the future, during the summer and winter of 1999. The city is home to some 35 million people (a figure currently surpassed by the Tokyo-Yokohama metro area), everything from water to food to clothing is strictly rationed, and those with any wealth must travel with bodyguards. And while alcohol is certainly at a premium, proteins such as meat are even more so -- hence, "meateasies" as opposed to "speakeasies."Against this backdrop we meet NYPD detective Andy Rusch, whose job is largely futile, and whose personal life consists of a shared apartment with an spirited elderly man named Sol. We also meet street kid Billy Chang, whose ill-advised attempt at burglary leads to murder -- a murder that Rusch gets assigned to investigate. The dead man is some kind of mob-connected bigwig, and the politicians who are in bed with the mob want some clarity as to whether it was a hit from a rival gang or not. The corruption is left more or less implied, and it's kind of nice that it's left mainly as background context, while Rusch attempts to pound the pavement in his almost soleless shoes to find an answer. What he does find is the murdered man's arm candy, Shirl, who is a beautiful young woman tying to survive using her looks.The story kind of follows familiar noir themes thereafter, and you know nothing is going to turn out well for anyone. It's a textbook example of a writer using genre as framework for a larger message. The crime story is completely incidental -- the real meat of the book is overpopulation, lack of birth control, lack of research in environmental consequences of consumption, etc. Unfortunately, a lot of this comes in the form of direct rants from Sol, which are fairly clumsy info/editorial dumps and not even all that necessary. The depiction of the desperation in the streets, water riots, and such, all paint a vivid enough picture that the reader is well able to make the connections on their own, without the in-your-face monologues.On the whole, it's kind of interesting, but a bit tepid. The plot of the film is somewhat different, and the book doesn't turn people into food.

  • Kathryn
    2018-11-27 09:04

    Reading "Make Room Make Room", I can understand why someone would want to make a movie out of this. Harrison creates a fascinating slice-of-life portrait of New York in a world where there simply isn't room. There's all sorts of interesting details about how people survive when there's no more meat (that any of US would want to eat, anyway), no steady supply of food other than crackers made from processed and crumbled seaweed, and next to no water. And you get strangely caught up in the characters: Sol (played to a T by Edward G. Robinson in the movie; the part could have been written exclusively for him), grows herbs and pearl onions in a window box, the better to distill his own vermouth and make Gibsons for him and his roommate. That's just ONE example of how the characters get by, and how they find little luxuries that most of us take for granted. The characters are sometimes a bit less sympathetic than they are in the movie, and sometimes more. They're making do. And then things get worse. And then they continue to get worse and worse, until the book just stops. It's...bleaker than the movie, if that's possible. There's no grand conspiracy - the murder mystery is pretty much a red herring through the whole book - there's just a lot of people running around trying to MAKE things seem connected while the world dies.I did get a little chuckle at the beginning with the apocalyptic chapter header: Monday, August 9,1999. And then I re-read the prologue statement of seven billion people the author has crowding the earth, and googled the population today. 6,697,254,041. As of 2008. Harrison goes on a tear about birth control for five pages in one chapter (he's got an axe to grind about overpopulation, oh yes he does), but he makes a damn good case for it. This book makes me want to get a rain barrel and start hoarding water. And develop a taste for seaweed.

  • Thom
    2018-11-30 07:46

    Author Harry Harrison wrote in 1984 about the technique of background-as-foreground - the story for the main characters is really a means to capture the readers attention and draw them to the greater truth of the setting. He uses this to great effect in Make Room! Make Room!This novel shows what the world will be like "if we continue in our insane manner to pollute and overpopulate Spaceship Earth." The observed limitations of oil and aquifers play right alongside the conflict between farmers and city dwellers. Disease plays only a small role here, but then the scope of the novel is roughly 6 months.The main character is a policeman, with side stories covering his target and a judge who influences his duties. These characters and the various side characters are well described and interesting, and only once (towards the end of the book) does the story digress into a few pages of exposition as Sol rants about birth control and sustainable development.As you probably know, this book was appropriated and turned into a movie. Well, some of it was. Harry Harrison wrote all about it in an article published in Omni, which fortunately lives online here - http://www.iol.ie/~carrollm/hh/soycan... The book of course doesn't contain cannibalism, and when Soylent shows up, it is where it makes more sense - Soy and Lentil steaks.All in all, a really excellent book. Though published nearly 50 years ago, it is still quite relevant today, and a very good read. Recommended!

  • ♥Xeni♥
    2018-11-30 09:50

    Hmm, just finished and I have to say that it wasn't as exciting as the movie, Soylent Green. The framework for the movie is there, but the film took the whole plot to another level and created the famous tag line "soylent green is people". Other than that, the book was actually an amusing sci-fi mystery read. Andy is a cop sent to find the killer of a high profile murder. While he is searching for the suspect (who is in hiding) we learn all about his life in the "modern" world: overpopulated, overused and dying. Although wrought with political messages (especially that of planned parenthood) there are some valid points about overpopulation and using the earth as our own private wasteland that hit home. Especially since the messages come through the mouths of the characters.One of the most schadenfreudliche amusing things in the book was how ineffective the people were when it came to government. A birth control bill was in congress for 35 years. People riot and protest and march but nothing changes. It really shows how ineffectual these types of protests are. As most dystopian novels, this book also showed how the world might end up if we don't do something to change it right now. And although I have no idea what I can do to change, perhaps if I start small there can be more change created than otherwise.The book ended on the cheering note of "344 Million Citizens in These Great United States. Happy New Year!"

  • Suzanne
    2018-12-04 06:48

    During the first chapters of this book, my thoughts were along the lines of, "Holy shit, why didn't anybody tell me Harry Harrison was such a great writer?" The descriptions and worldbuilding are brilliant. I was bummed I already knew the ending since I'd seen the film adaptation, Soylent Green, but this story had the potential to be richer. And as the story proceeded, it didn't go anywhere near that Soylent Green storyline I was expecting. My new thoughts were, "Huh. Sure is taking a long time for anything interesting to happen." There were a lot of references to koffee and meateasies and our future overpopulated world seemed extraordinarily bleak, but not much of anything happened. Where was that fascinating story?It never happened. (Turns out the film used the great worldbuilding, but heavily modified the plot.) The ending was anticlimactic and, worse, it got really preachy. There were long sections of dialogue lecturing the reader on the direction humanity was taking. Honestly, the world he describes in this book was enough to convey all that. He didn't need to be so overt. I recognize that sort of thing was common in the old science fiction novels, but between that and the 2D characters, it ended up feeling very dated. A boring story with flat characters in a richly painted world.

  • Wealhtheow
    2018-11-21 09:43

    In 1966, Harrison published this tale of the New York City of 1999. Unrestrained population growth and gluttany of natural resources have led to a world packed to bursting with people. There are riots over cracker crumbs, you have to pay up-front to get a job, and people live packed like sardines. The novel follows a few characters: Andy Rusch, a detective assigned to solve the murder of a politically-connected racketeer, and Billy Chung, whose panicked attempt to make money end disastrously. The real thrust of this story is on the city, and the pathetic lives of those living in it. The strength of this novel is in the little details: the sliver of grey soap Andy uses every morning, the unremarked use of slates (presumably because there is too little paper for every-day use), the way Andy has never tasted whiskey before (because grain is too precious), someone being proud of going to the "full three years" of school. Harrison writes the slow grind of scarcity and being constantly surrounded by other people so well that I found myself getting tense every time I opened the book.

  •  ☆Ruth☆
    2018-12-01 07:36

    An interesting, if slightly slow story... The action takes place in a vastly overcrowded New York city, just before the millennium in 1999. However, it was first published in 1966 and so of course lacks any knowledge of the huge developments and events we now look back on which populated those years. The book paints a stark picture of how the world we know could disintegrate, if the population continues to grow and natural resources continue to decline. The lives of the main characters are played out against a background of hunger, deprivation and hardship.There isn't a lot of depth to the storyline, although the characters are reasonably well developed. I felt that the author was using the book as a vehicle to air his concerns about the future of the planet, rather than developing an absorbing plot.I'm glad I didn't read it when it first came out as it is really a depressing and still possible future scenario. The film 'Soylent Green' was loosely based on the book and this is one of those rare occasions where I think the film actually improved on the book.