At teatime today I finished Make Room! Make Room! by Harry Harrison. I bought it two days ago (see my last blog post Sunday Retail Therapy). The book’s tone is serious compared to others by this author, but he has a serious message about over-population, strained world resources and birth control.
The hero of the book seems to welcome rain as much as I do… it keeps people off the streets and even reduces the likelihood of riots (he’s a policeman and therefore has a particular interest in quelling trouble). At one point he says that he’s fighting to hold things together while all the other blackguards are intent on tearing them apart.
Self-interest will be the downfall of civilization, but I love the thought that even in such times, there could still be those who fight to stop things degenerating into total chaos.
It was published in 1966 but the topics of overpopulation, street crime and birth control have not gone away. I was interested in the bibliography at the back of the book – it includes titles like Controlled Parenthood, Our Plundered Planet and Must You Conform? They were all published between 1948 and 1965.
I’m sorry I finished the book. It’s a lovely rainy day and it was wonderful not to have to go anywhere – just curl up and read. I was looking forward to it, and now I’ve read it and I don’t have it to look forward to any more! Still, there are billions of other books, written by billions of other people.
Last night I saw Saving Private Ryan for the first and last time. “Earn this,” rasps Tom Hanks as he dies. I thought, “The whole world and everything in it (especially war) is messed up and people die all the time for nothing – I don’t understand why you try to put a price on just one life saved from the ashes.”
Maybe the message is for all of us, not just for Private Ryan. If we cheat and lie and steal and kill, and take more than our fair share, living only for ourselves and our close family members, how are we going to be worth anything at all?
It got four stars in the Radio Times. It’s not the first time I’ve considered the ratings and reviews by the Radio Times to be thoroughly screwed up. It gives four stars to films that tell me nothing I didn’t know already, three stars to ‘relentless’ films that are a waste of my time, and two stars to films which I suspect might have been relatively pleasant – only I missed them this time round. The tone of many of the reviews irritate me, and I’ve stopped reading the ones for Lost because they give the plot away!
Give me books any time…
Edit Feb 2008: Comments to this post when it was hosted by Blogigo:
Pete wrote at Sep 5, 2006 at 19:32:
Not read that one. I enjoyed the early Rat books.
Did you read the Eden novels?
Diddums wrote at Sep 6, 2006 at 01:29:
Not yet, I’ve not read very many Harry Harrison books yet. I just read them as they turn up.
Pacian wrote at Sep 6, 2006 at 13:41:
What a contrast! The only reason I always get the Radio Times is because it’s the only TV guide whose film reviews don’t annoy the **** out of me.
Diddums wrote at Sep 6, 2006 at 14:24:
Maybe there are ones out there I would find even more annoying, then :-). Either that or they take the mickey out of things I like – that could well be it.
Diddums wrote at Sep 6, 2006 at 14:26:
PS Pete, I’ve just noticed a couple of ‘Eden’ hardbacks tottering on the top of my bookcase over there! If it’s a series I’m probably waiting till I have the full set.