Recently, for reason on which I cannot quite put my finger, I’ve been reading books from which some of my favorite SF movies have been made, particularly from my younger days. In the past few years I’ve read Logan’s Run, A Clockwork Orange, and, now, this book which is the basis for the Charlton Heston/Edward G. Robinson movie Soylent Green. Typically, I avoid this, since the book is always better and I don’t want the books to ruin my movie experience. However, I’ve come to realize that I’m better able than I thought to separate the book and movie, and these books are excellent.
It’s clear from reading Harrison’s novel where the movie comes from; and yet, there are significant differences, most notably in the nature of soylent green. Still, the basic premise is there: in an overcrowded nation, a cop searches for the murderer of one of New York City’s elite. The detective, Andy Rusch, lives in a small apartment with Sol, an older man who yearns for the days before scarcity.
As I expected, the story of the novel is much more involved and layered than the movie. In the novel, we get to know the story of the murderer and his part in this hard world. Also, Andy develops a long term relationship with Shirl, the girl who was originally in a relationship with the murdered man. Most importantly, perhaps, we see a world where overcrowding and overuse of resources is leading to destruction (written long before these things became a modern political touchstone).
In the end, this is a very good novel. Though I still enjoy the movie immensely, it hits very different notes from its source material. There is value in experiencing both.
- MP3 CD
- Publisher: Audible Studios on Brilliance audio; Unabridged edition (20 January 2015)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1491582677
- ISBN-13: 978-1491582671
- Product Dimensions: 16.5 x 1.6 x 14 cm
- Boxed-product Weight: 9.1 g
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