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February 28th, 2011, 05:36 PM #1
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March 2011 SF BotM: Stand on Zanzibar by John Brunner
This month's SF BotM is an SF classic:
According to Wikipedia:
Stand on Zanzibar is a dystopian New Wave science fiction novel written by John Brunner and first published in 1968. The book won a Hugo Award for Best Novel at the 27th World Science Fiction Convention in 1969.
A lengthy book, Stand on Zanzibar was innovative within its genre for mixing narrative with entire chapters dedicated to providing background information and worldbuilding, creating a sprawling narrative that presents a complex and multi-faceted view of the story's future world. Such information-rich chapters were often constructed from many short paragraphs, sentences, or fragments thereof - pulled from sources such as slogans, snatches of conversation, advertising text, songs, extracts from newspapers and books, and other cultural detritus. The result is reminiscent of the concept of information overload.
The narrative itself follows the lives of a large cast of characters, carefully chosen to give a broad cross-section of the future world. Some of these interact directly with the central narratives, while others add depth to Brunner's world. Brunner appropriated this basic narrative technique from the U.S.A. Trilogy of John Dos Passos. On the first page of the novel, Brunner provides a quote from The Gutenberg Galaxy by Marshall McLuhan that approximates such a technique, entitling it "the Innis mode" as an apparent label.