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Die sanften Ungeheuer (1970)

von Ira Levin

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1,1623313,282 (3.87)1 / 47
Chip fights for freedom from a mechanized, chemically controlled world which stifles nature and human individuality.
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This novel by Ira Levin is about a utopian society where treatments help maintain a stable society, but at what cost? Protagonist Li (or Chip as he prefers to be known) is uncertain about the sameness, and eventually joins a counterculture trying to change things. Good characters, good plot twists, and a very good read. Highly recommended. ( )
  skipstern | Jul 11, 2021 |
This Perfect Day: A Novel by Ira Levin (1970)
  arosoff | Jul 10, 2021 |
It’s gotta be hard to come up with something really new to say in a dystopian novel. I mean, you have the All-Powerful State, presiding over a homogeneous, controlled, and more-or-less happy populace (even if their happiness is artificially induced), and along comes some young whippersnapper who wants to do, or be, or have something The Powers That Be don’t want him/her to do, be, or have. And he goes off and finds a bunch of other malcontents and they overthrow TPTB and the ones who survive live happily ever after. Or fail and get hauled off to some nihilistic fate worse than death.

Ira Levin does find something new to say by the end of This Perfect Day, but it’s a long haul, and only the last quarter of the book really starts looking at new ideas – among them that humanity in general is selfish, short-sighted, arrogant, combative, and possibly not worth the effort it would take to redeem it. Each reader is going to have to decide whether the ending is happy or not.

Meanwhile, there’s all that prep stuff to grind through, as we are introduced to Chip (we can tell he’s going to be the protagonist because he rejects the officially-sanctioned “nameber” assigned to him at birth) and follow him through his occasional youthful questioning of “why” – aided and abetted by a grandfather who’s also somewhat of a rebel at heart. Then puberty rears its priapic head (so to speak), and things get sidetracked for a couple hundred pages as we are invited to consider a culture that allows pretty much everybody to sleep with everybody else (though one would have to look pretty deeply and make some inferences to find anything but hetero-cis relationships here). Sleeping with is okay – even encouraged (but only on Saturdays) – though marriage and the right to procreate are, like virtually everything else, controlled by Uni – the life-giving/controlling computer system that runs the “family”. And, predictably, Chip is found by a small underground group vaguely interested in talking about destroying Uni, but really more interested in accessing forbidden substances like tobacco, perfume, and alcohol.

The long middle section deals mainly with Chip’s experiences in this group, and Levin doesn’t hesitate to pull the rug out from under the reader with great vigor and regularity until finally, after much wavering and recidivism, it looks like Chip is actually going to develop and carry out a workable revolt.

The weakest part of the novel, and perhaps the component which has aged most poorly since 1960, is the way in which the female characters are portrayed. Particularly Lilac, the girl with whom Chip becomes obsessed and subsequently kidnaps and rapes, seems to consider herself unfairly victimized for, oh, maybe five or six hours, and then everything is hunky-dory and they become a devoted couple, risking all kinds of peril to stay together. Even for emotionally-stunted automatons, this feels a bit unlikely, and in fact seems to be one of those “she loves him because the author says she does, and besides, he needed that relationship for the rest of the plot to work” gimmicks.

This is not always an easy read, and while it does take a look at the very real kinds of human failings that could realistically lie at the bottom of a dystopian society, it’s dated in many ways and leaves a Chinese banquet’s worth of plot noodles dangling. ( )
  LyndaInOregon | Jun 18, 2021 |
A highly relevant story, despite its age. An excellent read.

A highly relevant story, despite its age, about the dangers of technocracy. An excellent read. I don't want to give any spoilers, so I won't go into details but it does highlight the deviousness of humans even in an environment of total control. ( )
  Aetherson | Apr 26, 2021 |
This Perfect Day by Ira Levin One of the Dystopian Classics
 
I enjoyed this one.Written in the 60's so there's a good smattering of sex written in that naive, slightly misogynistic way that was common then. (see the digression below)The book jaunts along to a not-so-surprising ending that was nevertheless enjoyable.What I really like were the descriptions of Uni and the well thought out world of Uni complete with songs and aphorisms. Reminiscent of both Brave New World and 1984. If you like dystopian novels and want to fill in a few historical blanks then have ago at this, an easy read.[DIGRESSION]Given the previous era's repressive phobia about sex I guess that's not surprising though. I seldom come across any sex these days, what happened along the way huh? And I do not count 50 shades as valid sex either given the 2 dimensional characters.I've had a browse of some those Amazon female-porn novels by women authors that abound. I was shocked to read words like "his throbbing member" and "her sex ached for him". If they were written by men there would be a rightful outcry about the degrading nature of it. It is so badly written that if it wasn't for the sexual content they could be seen for what they really are which is cheap crap.I did read that the advent of the Kindle meant that women could now buy porn, albeit soft, without the humiliation of doing that in a real bookstore and hence the proliferation of those mummy-porn novels. What happened to real sex in books? If you know of any please reply to this review, I'd be interested in both gender viewpoints.[END DIGRESSION] ( )
  Ken-Me-Old-Mate | Sep 24, 2020 |
A futuristic society run entirely by computer, and an individual's rebellion against it.
hinzugefügt von KayCliff | bearbeitenNational Housewives Register Newsletter, Hazel K. Bell (Sep 1, 1976)
 
In de toekomst wordt de wereld bestuurd door een computer die een in bepaalde opzichten ideale maatschappij heeft gecreëerd (geen honger, rassendiscriminatie e.d.) waarin echter alle persoonlijke vrijheid verdwenen is. De hoofdpersoon komt in verzet, vlucht naar een eiland, vindt daar medestanders, etc. met andere woorden: een traditionele anti-utopie, gebaseerd op het (m.i. valse) dilemma tussen de ideale staat en de persoonlijke vrijheid. Huxley en Orwell, wier invloed diudelijk is, zijn beter, maar omgekeerd is Levin weer veel beter dan de doorsnee-sf. Het boek is overigens uitgebracht als een 'thriller', waarschijnlijk om de niet-sf-lezer niet af te schrikken. Vrij kleine druk.
hinzugefügt von karnoefel | bearbeitenNBD / Biblion
 

» Andere Autoren hinzufügen (5 möglich)

AutorennameRolleArt des AutorsWerk?Status
Ira LevinHauptautoralle Ausgabenberechnet
Niessen-Hossele, J.F.ÜbersetzerCo-Autoreinige Ausgabenbestätigt
Trigell, JonathanEinführungCo-Autoreinige Ausgabenbestätigt

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Christ, Marx, Wood, and Wei
Led us to this perfect day.
Marx, Wood, Wei and Christ;
All but Wei were sacrificed.
Wood, Wei, Christ, and Marx
Gave us lovely schools and parks.
Wei, Christ, Marx, and Wood
Made us humble, made us good.
- child's rhyme for bouncing a ball
Widmung
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COMPLETED IN JUNE, 1969 IN NEW YORK CITY AND DEDICATED TO ADAM LEVIN, JED LEVIN, AND NICHOLAS LEVIN
Erste Worte
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A city's blank white concrete slabs, the giant ones ringed by the less giant, gave space in their midst to a broad pink-floored plaza, a playground in which some two hundred young children played and exercised under the care of a dozen supervisors in white coveralls.
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"[You're going to see] the machine that's going to classify you and give you your assignments, that's going to decide where you'll live and whom you'll marry, whether you'll have children and what they'll be named."
"What do you think a treatment consists of?" ... "Vaccines, enzymes, contraceptive, tranquilizer, & LPK."
"What do you do when you're programming a computer to maintain a perfectly efficient, perfectly stable, perfectly cooperative society? How do you allow for biological freaks, `incurables', possible trouble-makers?"
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Chip fights for freedom from a mechanized, chemically controlled world which stifles nature and human individuality.

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