Wednesday, January 20, 2010
Review of *Make Room Make Room* by Harry Harrison
While considered an SF classic, Make Room, Make Room by Harry Harrison could easily be considered a hard boiled crime novel and a work of ecological warning. First published in 1966 it is set in the year 1999 and New York City is home to 35 million hungry and thirsty, mostly homeless or squatting citizens. The Hudson River is packed with moored and teeming barges, cars rest permanently in parking lots and are considered prime real estate if you can fend off the competition. Everyone is on welfare; water and food shortages are frequent and increasing and only the connected and the wealthy have any comfort. Until one of the regular folk accidentally kills one of the connected folk in a botched robbery attempt.
This is the story of an overworked New York Police detective assigned to solve a murder case for political reasons that would normally be left in the ever increasing file of impossible-to-solve crimes. At its heart it is an environmental novel and a pro-choice novel. In Harrison's imagined future there is almost no technology to help save humanity, all our resources have gone trying to feed a populace that is still encumbered by the notion that abortion is wrong and the result is most of us living like animals with little or no hope.
For any fan of Noir fiction or dystopian literature, I definitely recommend this book.