The title alone makes this seem like it would be a lot more spacey than it is (it’s not spacey at all it turns out) and so I was pleasantly surprised how innovative, cutting, and incisive this book is. I am not 100% behind the execution and the plot starts going a little haywire, but this is clearly one of those novels that set some clear terms for future forays into science fiction. It reminds of Alfred Bester’s The Stars My Destination and The Demolished Man, and Ray Bradbury’s The Martian Chronicles and even more so JG Ballard’s Vermillion Sands.
But to describe this book I would call it Mad Men by way of The Moon is a Harsh Mistress with a little Brave New World mixed in. The novel takes place on Earth in about 100 years from now and involves an ad company working on a campaign to sell Venus as a colonial/real estate venture. Corporations are something altogether more pernicious or at least more actively pernicious than right now as they both create the demand and addiction for their products as well as work in aggressive and policing the use of their products. So leads to backlashes of course, and so there’s an ever present terrorist/freedom fighting force working against them in cells.
Like some of the books above, I think this book sets the terms in its own ways for genres to come. There’s a lot of early cyber punk contained here in the architectures of this book, if not the actual technology. I think it’s always interesting what technologies and weird changes the future holds in the imaginations of novels past. Here, the ideas of gender equality (a woman doctor!!!) and smoking, as well as significant changes to the notion of marriage.