Stand on Zanzibar (Hugo Award Winner)

Stand on Zanzibar (Hugo Award Winner)

by John Brunner, Bruce Sterling

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The brilliant 1969 Hugo Award-winning novel from John Brunner, Stand on Zanzibar, now included with a foreword by Bruce Sterling

Norman Niblock House is a rising executive at General Technics, one of a few all-powerful corporations. His work is leading General Technics to the forefront of global domination, both in the marketplace and politically---it's about to take over a country in Africa. Donald Hogan is his roommate, a seemingly sheepish bookworm. But Hogan is a spy, and he's about to discover a breakthrough in genetic engineering that will change the world...and kill him.

These two men's lives weave through one of science fiction's most praised novels. Written in a way that echoes John Dos Passos' U.S.A. Trilogy, Stand on Zanzibar is a cross-section of a world overpopulated by the billions. Where society is squeezed into hive-living madness by god-like mega computers, mass-marketed psychedelic drugs, and mundane uses of genetic engineering. Though written in 1968, it speaks of now, and is frighteningly prescient and intensely powerful.

At the Publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management Software (DRM) applied.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781429978842
Publisher: Tom Doherty Associates
Publication date: 08/16/2011
Sold by: Macmillan
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 576
Sales rank: 43,577
File size: 4 MB

About the Author

JOHN BRUNNER (1934-1995) published his first novel pseudonymously at the age of 17, and through the 1950s and early 1960s wrote many SF adventure novels. His work grew more ambitious in the late 1960s; Stand on Zanzibar, a Hugo Award-winner, is generally regarded as his greatest achievement.

Bruce Sterling is an American science fiction writer, born in Brownsville, Texas on April 14, 1954. His first published fiction appeared in the late 1970s, but he came to real prominence in the early 1980s as one of several writers associated with the "cyberpunk" tendency, and as that movement's chief theoretician and pamphleteer. He also edited the anthology Mirrorshades (1986), which still stands as a definitive document of that period in SF. His novel Islands in the Net (1988) won the John W. Campbell Award for best SF novel of the year; he has also won two Hugo awards, for the stories "Bicycle Repairman" (1996) and "Taklamakan" (1998). His 1990 collaboration with William Gibson, The Difference Engine, was an important work of early steampunk/neo-Victoriana. In 2009, he published The Caryatids. In 1992 he published The Hacker Crackdown: Law and Disorder on the Electronic Frontier, heralding a second career as a journalist covering social, legal, and artistic matters in the digital world. The first issue of Wired magazine, in 1993, featured his face on its cover; today, their web site hosts his long-running blog, Beyond the Beyond.
John Brunner (1934 – 1995) published his first novel pseudonymously at the age of seventeen. He went on to publish many science fiction adventure novels and stories. Stand on Zanzibar, winner of the 1969 Hugo Award for best science fiction novel and the British Science Fiction Association award the same year, is regarded as his greatest achievement.

Read an Excerpt

Stand on Zanzibar

By John Brunner

Tom Doherty Associates

Copyright © 1968 John Brunner
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4299-7884-2



There is nothing wilful or arbitrary about the Innis mode of expression. Were it to be translated into perspective prose, it would not only require huge space, but the insight into the modes of interplay among forms of organisation would also be lost. Innis sacrificed point of view and prestige to his sense of the urgent need for insight. A point of view can be a dangerous luxury when substituted for insight and understanding. As Innis got more insight he abandoned any mere point of view in his presentation of knowledge. When he interrelates the development of the steam press with "the consolidation of the vernaculars" and the rise of nationalism and revolution he is not reporting anybody's point of view, least of all his own. He is setting up a mosaic configuration or galaxy for insight ... Innis makes no effort to "spell out" the interrelations between the components in his galaxy. He offers no consumer packages in his later work, but only do-it-yourself kits.

— Marshall McLuhan: The Gutenberg Galaxy



Stock cue SOUND: "Presenting SCANALYZER, Engrelay Satelserv's unique thrice-per-day study of the big big scene, the INdepth INdependent INmediate INterface between you and your world!"

Stock cue VISUAL: cliptage, splitscreen, cut in bridge-melder, Mr. & Mrs. Everywhere depthunder (today MAMP, Mid-Atlantic Mining Project), spaceover (today freefly-suiting), transiting (today Simplon Acceleratube), digging (today as every day homimage with autoshout).


Stock cue VISUAL: cliptage, wholescreen, planet Earth turning jerk-jerk-jerk and holding meridians for GMT, EST, PCT, Pacific Conflict Zone Time.

Live cue SOUND: "And it's six poppa-momma for the happening people keeping it straight and steady on that old Greenwich Mean Time — how mean can time get, you tell me, hm? Zee for zero, bee for base, counting down to one after ess ee eks — sorree — ess EYE eks! We know what's happening happening HAPPENING but that piece of the big big scene is strictly up to you, Mr. and Mrs. Everywhere — or Mr. and Miss, or Miss and Miss, or Mister and Mister, take your pick, hah-hah! Counting down to one after one poppa-momma for that good old Eastern Standard tie-yum, one after ten anti-matter for the Pacific Coast, and for all of you fighting the good fight in lonely midocean one after seven antimatter — PIPS!"

Clock cue: 5 × 1-sec. countdown pips on G in alt, minute signal on C in alt.

Plug cue: "No time like the present for things to happen in, no better way to keep time straight and steady than by the signal from General Technics' critonium clock, so accuright it serves to judge the stars."

Script cue VISUAL: cliptage, splitscreen, excerpts from day's news.

Live cue SOUND: "And no better way to keep abreast — pardon — than with SCANALYZER!"

Cut autoshout cue. (If they haven't made it by this time they've switched off.)

Plug cue: "SCANALYZER is the one single, the ONLY study of the news in depth that's processed by General Technics' famed computer Shalmaneser, who sees all, hears all, knows all save only that which YOU, Mr. and Mrs. Everywhere, wish to keep to yourselves."

Script cue: the happening world.



For toDAY third of MAY twenty-TEN ManhatTEN reports mild spring-type weather under the Fuller Dome. Ditto on the General Technics Plaza.

But Shalmaneser is a Micryogenic® computer bathed in liquid helium and it's cold in his vault.

(DITTO Use it! The mental process involved is exactly analogous to the bandwidth-saving technique employed for your phone. If you've seen the scene you've seen the scene and there's too much new information for you to waste time looking it over more than once. Use "ditto". Use it!

The Hipcrime Vocab by Chad C. Mulligan)

Less of a machine, more of a human being, but partaking of the nature of both, Georgette Tallon Buckfast is largely supported by prosthetics in her ninety-first year.

When the strain becomes TOO MUCH it's because Hitrip of California bred it to have less stalk per ounce, more clean-queen leaf. Ask "The Man who's Married to Mary Jane"!

Eric Ellerman is a plant geneticist with three daughters who's scared because his wife has developed a permanent pot-belly.

"... and Puerto Rico today became the latest state to ratify the controversial dichromatism provision of United States eugenic legislation. This leaves only two havens for those who wish to bear disadvantaged children: Nevada and Louisiana. The defeat of the baby-farming lobby removes a long-time stigma from the fair brow of the Junior-but-One State — a congenital stigma, one may say, since the J-but-O State's accession to hoodness coincided almost to the day with the first eugenic legislation concerned with haemophilia, phenylketonuria and congenital imbecility ..."

Poppy Shelton has believed in miracles for years, but now there's one happening right inside her body and the real world is leaning on her dreams.


— Base version of General Technics motto

Norman Niblock House is junior VP in charge of personnel and recruitment at General Technics.

"One fraction of a second, please — participant breakin coming up. Remember that only SCANALYZER's participant breakin service is processed by General Technics' Shalmaneser, the more correct response in the shorter quantum of time ..."

Guinevere Steel's real name is Dwiggins, but do you blame her?

Do your slax sufficiently convey your natural power — at a glance?

If you're wearing MasQ-Lines, the answer's yes. Tired of half measures, we at MasQ-Line Corp. have put the codpiece back where it belongs, to say to the shiggies not kidder but codder.

Sheena and Frank Potter are all packed ready to leave for Puerto Rico because a green and a red light are just lights to him.

"Two participant breakins! Number one: sorree, friend, but no — we are not wrong to say Puerto Rico's decision leaves a mere two havens for the dissident. Isola does enjoy statehood, but the whole area of the Pacific its islands occupy is under martial law and you don't get a pass for other than martial reasons. Thanks for asking us, though, it's the way of the world, you're my environment and I am yours, which is why we operate SCANALYZER as a two-way process ..."

Arthur Golightly doesn't mind not being able to remember where he put things. Looking for them, he always finds other things he'd forgotten he had.


— Current version of General Technics motto

Donald Hogan is a spy.

"Number the other: dichromatism is what's commonly called colourblindness, and it is sure as sidereal time a congenital disability. Thank you, participant, thank you."

Stal (short for Stallion) Lucas is a yonderboy, weighed, measured, and freeflying all the way.

(IMPOSSIBLE Means: 1 I wouldn't like it and when it happens I won't approve; 2 I can't be bothered; 3 God can't be bothered. Meaning 3 may perhaps be valid but the others are 101% whaledreck.

The Hipcrime Vocab by Chad C. Mulligan)

Philip Peterson is twenty years old.

Are you undermined by an old-style autoshout unit, one that needs constant reprogramming by hand if it's not to call you for items that were descheduled last week?

GT's revolutionary new autoshout reprograms itself!

Sasha Peterson is Philip's mother.

"Turning to a related subject, rioting crowds today stormed a Right Catholic church in Malmö, Sweden, while early mass was in progress. Casualty lists suggest a death toll of over forty including the priest and many children. From his palace in Madrid Pope Eglantine accused rival Pope Thomas of deliberately fomenting this and other recent uprisings, a charge vigorously denied by Vatican authorities."

Victor and Mary Whatmough were born in the same country and have been married twenty years — she for the second time, he for the third.

What you want to do when you see her in her Forlon&Morler Maxess costumelet

Is what she wants you to do when you see her in her Forlon&Morler Maxess costumelet

If she didn't, she wouldn't have put it on

Maximal access is no exaggeration when you spell it MAXESS

Style illustrated is "Courtesan"

But you should see "Tart"

What there is of it

Elihu Masters is currently United States Ambassador to the one-time British colony of Beninia.

"Speaking of accusations, Dixierep Senator Lowell Kyte this anti-matter charged that dicties were now responsible for nine-tenths of the felonies committed per anum — sorree! — per annum in his home state of Texas and that Fed efforts to quell the problem were a failure. Privately, officials of the Nark Force have been heard to express concern at the way GT's new product Triptine is catching the dicties' fancy."

Gerry Lindt is a draftee.

When we say "general" at GT we mean GENERAL. We offer the career of a lifetime to anyone interested in astronautics, biology, chemistry, dynamics, eugenics, ferromagnetism, geology, hydraulics, industrial administration, jet propulsion, kinetics, law, metallurgy, nucleonics, optics, patent rights, quarkology, robotics, synthesis, telecommunications, ultrasonics, vacuum technology, work, X-rays, ylem, zoology ...

No, we didn't miss out your speciality. We just didn't have room for it in this ad.

Professor Doctor Sugaiguntung is head of the Tectogenetics Department at Dedication University in the Guided Socialist Democracy of Yatakang.

"The incidence of muckers continues to maintain its high: one in Outer Brooklyn yesterday accounted for 21 victims before the fuzzy-wuzzies fused him, and another is still at large in Evanston, Ill., with a total of eleven and three injured. Across the sea in London a woman mucker took out four as well as her own three-month baby before a mind-present standerby clobbered her. Reports also from Rangoon, Lima and Auckland notch up the day's toll to 69."

Grace Rowley is seventy-seven and going a bit weak in the head.

Here today and gone tomorrow isn't good enough for us in this modern age.

Here today and gone today is the pidgin we pluck.

The Right Honourable Zadkiel F. Obomi is the president of Beninia.

"Westaway a piece or two, a stiff note was received in Washington this antimatter from the Yatakangi government, claiming naval units working out of Isola had trespassed into Yatakang's territorial waters. Officials will be polite, but it's an open secret Yatakang's hundred-island territory gives refuge all the time to Chinese aquabandits who sneak out from so-called neutral ports and ambush U.S patrols in mid-ocean ..."

Olive Almerio is the most successful baby-farmer in Puerto Rico.

You know the codders who keep one, two, three shiggies on the string. You know the shiggies who every weekend blast off with a different codder. Envy them?


Like any other human activity this one can be learned. We teach it, in courses tailored to your preferences.

Mrs. Grundy Memorial Foundation (may she spin in her grave).

Chad C. Mulligan was a sociologist. He gave it up.

"Last week's State Forest fires on the West Coast that laid low hundreds of square miles of valuable timber destined for plastics, paper and organic chemicals were today officially attributed to sabotage by Forestry Commissioner Wayne C. Charles. As yet it is uncertain to whom the guilt belongs: treacherous so-called partisans among our own, or infiltrating reds."

Jogajong is a revolutionary.

The word is EPTIFY.

Don't look in the dictionary.

It's too new for the dictionary.

But you'd better learn what it implies.


We do it to you.

Pierre and Jeannine Clodard are both the children of pieds-noirs, unsurprisingly as they are brother and sister.

"Tornado warnings are out in the following states ..."

Jeff Young is "the man to go to" anywhere west of the Rockies for the rather specialised goods he handles: time-fuzes, explosives, thermite, strong acids and sabotage bacteria.

"Turning to the gossipy side: once again the rumour goes the rounds that the small independent African territory of Beninia is in economic chaos. President Kouté of Dahomalia in a speech at Bamako warned the RUNGs that if they attempted to exploit the situation all necessary steps to counter ..." Henry Butcher is an enthusiastic proselytiser for the panacea he believes in.

(RUMOUR Believe all you hear. Your world may not be a better one than the one the blocks live in but it'll be a sight more vivid.

The Hipcrime Vocab by Chad C. Mulligan)

It is definite that the man known as Begi is not alive. On the other hand, in at least one sense he isn't dead either.

"Also it's noised that Burton Dent is bivving it again, in that he was seen scorting former fuel supply Edgar Jewel into the particulate stages of this antimatter. Meantime, Pacific time, it looks like Fenella Koch his spouse of three years may be turning spousiness into spiciness with cream-dream Zoë Laigh. Like the slogan says — why not equals why ker-not!"

Mr. & Mrs. Everywhere are construct identities, the new century's equivalent of the Joneses, except that with them you don't have to keep up. You buy a personalised TV with homimage attachment which ensures that Mr. & Mrs. Everywhere look, and talk, and move like you.

(HIPCRIME You committed one when you opened this book. Keep it up. It's our only hope.

The Hipcrime Vocab by Chad C. Mulligan)

Bennie Noakes sits in front of a set tuned to SCANALYZER orbiting on Triptine and saying over and over, "Christ what an imagination I've got!"

"And to close on, the Dept of Small Consolations. Some troubledome just figured out that if you allow for every codder and shiggy and appleofmyeye a space one foot by two you could stand us all on the six hundred forty square mile surface of the island of Zanzibar. ToDAY third MAY twenty-TEN come aGAIN!"



The Right Honourable Zadkiel F. Obomi could feel the weight of the night pressing on his grey-wire scalp like the oppressive bulky silence of a sensory deprivation tank. He sat in his large official chair, hand-carved into a design that recreated without copying the sixteenth-century style of the master craftsmen some of whom had been his ancestors ... presumably. There had been a long interval when no one had time to care about such things.

Both his hands lay on the edge of the desk before him, as lax as vegetables. The left one showed its pinkish palm to the ceiling, with the creased lines that once, when he was a very small boy, had led a woman of half-French and half-Shango breeding to predict he would be a great hero. The other was turned to show its mahogany back, its tree-knot knuckles, as though poised to rap out a nervous fingertip rhythm.

It did not stir.

The deep intellectual forehead and the arch of his nose were probably Berber. But below the bridge on either side the nostrils flared out and the broad flat lips matched the plump cheeks and round chin and heavy pigmentation. That was all Shinka. He had often said jokingly in the days when his life had room for jokes that his face was a map of his country: invader down to the eyes, native from there on south.

But the eyes themselves, that made the dividing line, were simply human.

The left one was almost hidden under its drooping lid; it had been useless since the assassination bid of 1986, and a long scar still puckered the skin of his cheek and temple. The right one was bright, sharp, darting — at present unfocused, for he was not looking at the other occupant of the room.

The dead night suffocated him: Zadkiel F. Obomi, seventy-four years old, first and thus far only president of the former British colony of Beninia.

Not seeing, he was feeling. At his back, the huge empty nothing of the Sahara — the best part of a thousand miles away, yet so monstrous and so dominant it loomed in his brain like a thunderhead. Before him, beyond the walls, beyond the busy city, beyond the port, the early-night breeze of the Bight, smelling of ocean salt and spices from the ships standing to at the harbour bar. And to either side, forming the shackles that anchored his wrists on the desk against his half-formed desire to move them and turn the next page of the sheaf of documents awaiting his attention, the deadweight of the prosperous lands on whom fortune had smiled.

The population of the planet Earth was numbered in many billions.

Beninia, thanks to the slashed-on-a-map boundaries of the colonial government, had only nine hundred thousand of them.

The wealth of the planet Earth was inconceivable.

Beninia, for the same reason, had a little less than enough to save its people from starving.

The size of the planet Earth was ... large enough, so far.


Excerpted from Stand on Zanzibar by John Brunner. Copyright © 1968 John Brunner. Excerpted by permission of Tom Doherty Associates.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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