The Suares of the City

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Lution The Suares of the City was death by chess As in the structure is modeled after a World Championship game in 1982 between Wilhelm Steinitz and Mikhail Chigorin I thus knew that this one would have to be my next Brunner because if there is one thing I love utterly hopelessly it s chess And people who are obsessed with chessAnd I also like a good jaw about urban planning and cities So um as they say nowadays hell esThe city in uestion here Vados is a relatively newly founded capital city in a ficticious South American Republic Aguazul to which our hero the delightfully named Boyd Hakluyt has been summoned to help improve its traffic flows Vados might be the most modern and well planned city in the world but the problem of mo Storyline 25Characters 35Writing Style 35Resonance 15The first few chapters held some real surprises for me I d approached this because of Brunner s science fiction credentials and the book s nomination for the 1966 Hugo Awards I wouldn t however classify this as science fiction There s a little technological invention of the Cold War variety supposed developments the other side had and was employing but nothing that wasn t rud to already be true then in the 1960s Hardly enough to count as science fiction What it was instead was a third world political drama I can t find evidence for it on a uick search but Brunner must have based his Vados on real world Brasilia I thought that was great I d read an excellent history of the city before and it would be fascinating point from which to build up a speculative fiction story Also the main character s profession is in civil engineering and I was enthusiastic to see the character complete the tasks Brunner puts him up to Finally the writing in the early chapters set this apart from general science fiction writing It was contemplative and playful informed by a writer who obviously had experienced the lifestyle of a traveler There was a common language and familiar observations that synced with the reader who had similar experiences For the first few chapters then I was wowed with the possibilities I thought I had stumbled onto a mostly overlooked classic and I was keen to settle in and enjoy the experienceUnfortunately the book does not live up to many of the initial expectations The science fiction was superficial to the point of nonexistence Aside from this being located in an imaginary city in the near future this was pretty standard literature The profession of our character and his task in the book were not the product of research or experience the depth and information I was looking for never materialized The writing turned functional and the uniue observations of the expat were all used up early on There s some attempts to make this a serious book 1960s message fiction with real villains and real world problems There were some really provocative uestions raised namely 1 to what extent do natives own or have rights to their native land beyond or in opposition to immigrants who give up everything to make it their home 2 how do ou share very limited and non divisible national treasures with a large population These are the kind of themes that serious literature would take on and at times this posed as serious literature It was posturing however and the uestions are used instead to direct us to the political drama This turned as internecine and sensational as one would expect with a novel with little else going for it At the end of the book it turned out that

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author did a point I scoffed at the message as I read the final chapter thinking that the Brunner lost control of the tale The author s note at the end advised me that what I was considering ridiculous was in fact uite purposeful and had reuired a great deal of plotting to achieve So my final impressions changed from ridicule to befuddlement I don t know why Brunner wanted to do what he did but I was neither entertained nor impressed 35 to 40 stars John Brunner has et to disappoint me with one of his novels His classic Stand on Zanzibar is one of my all time favorites and The Sheep Look Up and The Jagged Orbit were both excellent This is not one of his famous books which is a bit of a shame because of its originality in style and execution Let me say at the outset that there is not really a science fiction element to the story and it belongs in the category of mysterythriller It basically involves a traffic pattern analystconsultant brought to a fictional South American city in order to solve some infrastructure issues and finding himself in the middle of a political struggle between the wealthy predominately white ruling class and the poor native population I don t want to give away any spoilers however if The Wake you do any research on the book beforeou read it the hook is mentioned a lot I happened to know the basic idea behind the book before I read it and I think it helped my enjoyment of it because I was looking for clues while I was reading and I think it made the read compellingBrunner s writing is excellent and the plotting is superb However if it was not for the unusual hook of the book I probably would have Given This 3 Stars Based this 3 stars based pure enjoyment However the brilliance in my opinion of the ending and the big reveal and looking back over the rest of the book after finishing it I had to give the guy another star A one of kind read and one that I recommend highly Nominee Hugo Award for Best Science Fiction Nove. Chi meglio di un altro grande avventuriero saprà destreggiarsi fra sicari e trafficanti d'armi uscendone con la pelle intatta a missione compiuta Ma forse il Principe delle Spie rimpiangerà presto i cari vecchi nemici russi All'interno il racconto Gli suali di Aden di Massimiliano Giri vincitore del premio GialloLatino 2015Copertina di Franco Brambil. .
D Outside of that board their power or mobility has no definition So even if we assume that this advanced form of governmental manipulation is able to influence indefinitely those who live within the city limits the novel fails to explain how such influence is mirrored on the chessboard used by the two acting kingsThe white king even admits that he and the black king did not decide who would be the pawns until later in game Come on Those are some of the first pieces Circus Act (Spy Pups you have to move in a chess game and are in fact the first two pieces moved in the historical game They literally shape a chess game Brunner informs us at the end that he has left out the final three moves of the historical game view spoilerEven soou might expect at least the result to be the same as that game Nope In spite of the characters reminding us that the kings of a game are never captured or killed for their purposes the white king is most likely killed at the end of the novel Which also reverses the result of the historical game in which as Brunner reminds us black resigned on move thirty eight hide spoiler Apologies for the rambling gonzo review that is to follow wanted to get my thoughts on this down in short order before the book faded from my immediate memory I fully intend to edit this into something sensical in due course I wasn t actually going to write a review on this until I started to see the Recommendations Goodreads were supplying me off the back of my four star rating and started to get a little irked It s telling I think about how difficult John Brunner is to classify as a writer and how thoroughly he has slipped from the view of all but the SF faithful that the recommendations are high Sci Fantasy stories from the 50s and 60s about Robot Popes and Resurrected Thomas Moores on Mars All perfectly enjoyable stuff no doubt but about as distant from what Brunner is about as oh I dunno Wuthering Heights is from Bridget Jones s DiaryI have a huge deal of admiration for Brunner s abilities despite having really only skimmed the surface of his phenomenally vast output In fact this is only the fourth John Brunner I have read since I first read Stand on Zanzibar about 12 Daffodil Girls years or ago in part this due to the difficulty of laying hands on copies of even his most noted works I found this as a well preserved paperback on a summer visit to Hay on Wye in amidst a box of moldering Star Trek novelizations Now I m the first to sing the merits of decent SF but this seems unfair whilst he seems to have published a lot of space opera tripe to pay the bills the three earlier books of his I d read Stand on Zanzibar This Jagged Orbit and The Sheep Look up sit far comfortably in the dystopian tradition of Ninteen Eighty Four or The Handmaid s Tale and in my view are far accurate eerie reflections of our current world of turbo charged capitalism than well to be honest anything else I ve ever read When an English bloke writing in the 60s and 70s managed to see the collapse of the Soviet Union the rise of China the IT revolution medicalisation of every aspect of the human condition and even the organic vegetable racket it seems somewhat mysterious why he sits in the box with Jim Kirk teaching green skinned space babes about this human thingou call love rather than being respected as a prophetic genius Heck forget mainstream literary credibility aside if the CIA had given the bloke an office and a carton of cigarettes a day they could have saved themselves a fortuneThe Suares of the City is barely SF at all it s set in a fictional Latin American republic and there are a couple of references to subliminal advertising and briefcased size personal computers that take it out of the real world but that aside the story here conflict between the haves and the have nots in an ultra modern prestige city could have come from a political science text book This isn t the best Brunner I ve read and it s clear there are flaws A couple of nice descriptive passages aside the prose is functional rather than stylish The decision to structure the book after a chess game is a nice conceit but proves a straightjacket by the two thirds mark the plot becomes a bit predictable when ou realise that every move by one side will be met by a countermove by the other in short order The biggest problem is that the volume of characters reuired to give each chess piece black and white an euivalent in the story leads to all but a handful of the cast being archetypes rather than well developed But at least Brunner bothered with characters and a plot most classics of the dystopian genre didn t even bother with that Can anyone give me a summary of the plot of Brave New World that takes than two sentences Can anyone tell me anything about Julia from Ninteen Eighty Four s character aside from is really oung and totally hot and is well into older dudes that by a complete coincidence are a bit like George Orwell John Brunner deserves than the 60p paperback box in Hay on Wye If ou are interested in dystopian fiction or political science please give HIM A CHANCE THE SHEEP LOOK a chance The Sheep Look utterly devastated me when I read it for the First And Definitely Not and definitely not last time earlier this ear and I realized that John Brunner was a guy whose books I would definitely need to track down one by one until I had read them allThen a relatively new Twitter friend Fred Kiesche applauding my resolution told me that if The Sheep Look Up was death by pol. Ritrovata vicino al famigerato ponte sul fiume Kwai un luogo costellato di tombe occidentali Al vecchio amico Jim che finita la guerra aveva pensato bene di sposare una bella thailandese invece di tornare negli USA Malko deve il suo primo contatto con l'intelligence Più che un professionista dell'intrigo è stato uno degli ultimi grandi avventurieri

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This is not science fiction Brunner was the author of numerous SF classics Stand on Zanzibar The Sheep Look Up They were science fiction this is about a man hired to solve traffic problems in a fictitious South American country and it is based on a 19th century game of chess with detailed explanations of how each move of the game corresponds to an event in the book Not my favorite Brunner The characterisation suffers from a contrived ending essential to fulfilling the authors chess metaphor however the underlying concept of the book like all the best Sci fi is extremely prescient As such it s well worth a readSpoliersThe central idea is that people can be controlled unwittingly and largely go along with it as long as they don t perceive the puppeteers strings That concept and the similarities with nudge theory now employed in government departments is unmistakable to the modern reader As such I found the parallels with current events striking especially what happens when the populace begins to perceive the manipulation andor it fails and the subseuent collapse in social order The Suares of the City is hard to classify as being science fiction it is of a thriller with its sociological story of urban class warfare and political intrigue set in the fictional South American capital city of Vados John Brunner is always at his most interesting for me when he is at his most speculative and dystopian and in that sense he was ahead of his time by about thirty ears Here he explores the idea of subliminal messages as political tools as people are moved around like human chessmen in a game the novel even having the structure of a famous 1892 chess game between Wilhelm Steinitz and Mikhail Chigorin This structure plays an important part in the story which is a very thought provoking read Although if ou are expecting little green men and alien invasions Dominion (Life After you will definitely be disappointed review of John Brunner s The Suares of the City by tENTATIVELY a cONVENIENCE May 9 2014 Review is too long You entered 21001 characters and the max is 20000 In other words see the full review hereou ever think about the urban planning that goes into things like the way traffic lights work I do I m impressed when such things work so efficiently that traffic keeps flowing wo my getting too annoyed by delays wo accidents I came uickly to the central traffic intersection that lay at the focal point of the flow generated and governed by the four great suares I stopped there for some time on the sidewalk watching the vehicles move and they did move with no breaks Ingenious use of precedence lanes and total avoidance of sam This book is a head trip and a half One of my former friends gave it to me telling me only that it was a sci fi book about a chess game Needless to say I was ill prepared for what I was about to encounterFirst of all it s barely science fiction It s mainly a story of urban planning and the tribulations that can resultSecondly The entire book is the chess game and the difficulty is recognizing which characters correspond to which pieces and when they re meant to have moved obviously when one is killed it makes things easier but other than that The edition I read had a handy guide in the back which I didn t discover until
i finished reading 
finished reading book It was interesting to compare the authors intentions to my own interpretationOverall I enjoyed the book but I felt that I would ve liked it much had I been prepared for what I was truly about to encounter I stumbled across this book on during one of my many browsing sessions As a chess player I sometimes gravitate toward novels that use chess in one way or another This novel was to take the usual conventions a step further by using an actual game of chess to guide the plot Intriguing I thought The beginning of the book is an introduction by Edward Lasker a chess master and author His endorsement of the novel gave me hope that the idea would be well executed It prepares the reader for a real chess novel where chess is absolutely central to the book as a whole which is why I became increasingly frustrated the farther into the book I read Page after page only an occasional reference to the game would pop up Only at the end of the book did the big chess section arrive a huge letdown To make matters worse the chess plot as explained at the end does not make sense There are two characters who have decided to solve a conflict by playing a real chess game using the citizens of the city as their armies This is not a metaphor they have a chess set where they move pieces while simultaneously manipulating actual persons in corresponding manners When a capture is needed that person is Killed Or Rendered Useless or rendered useless uses a game from the Steinitz Chigorin 1892 World Championship Rematch to structure his novel it is supposed to be the game played out by the characters And in one sense it is A piece for every character plot points of rough euivalence to the effects of each move in the historical game etc But the idea of playing out a chess game with real people does not work in such a literal does not work in such a literal Brunner uses the city as the board but the construction falls apart because he allows just the board to remain metaphorical There are no coordinates to match a real chessboard and therefore there are no boundaries to the influence of the pieces nor of the game itself Chess pieces get their value from the board upon which they are place. Non è mai piacevole per un operativo della CIA atterrare in territorio sovietico Un rapimento da uelle parti sarebbe cosa di un attimo Per fortuna il volo di Malko Linge dopo lo scalo tecnico in Uzbekistan è diretto a Bangkok uelli di Langley l'hanno spedito laggiù sulle tracce di Jim Stanford un ex agente scomparso nel nulla La sua macchina è stata. .
The Suares of the City

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