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Death Wish   By: (1928-2005)

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Death Wish by Robert Sheckley is a captivating and thought-provoking science fiction novel that delves deep into the darker aspects of human nature. Set in a futuristic society where advanced technology allows people to alter their physical appearances and extend their lifespans, the book raises questions about the consequences of these advancements.

The story follows protagonist Albert Morris, a discontented individual who suffers from a chronic illness in a world where everyone else seems to be virtually immortal. Feeling marginalized and filled with a sense of despair, he becomes obsessed with the possibility of finding a way to die. This relentless pursuit of death leads him on a series of adventures that both challenge societal norms and offer insightful reflections on the human condition.

What sets Sheckley's writing apart is his ability to seamlessly blend dark humor, social commentary, and philosophical ponderings into an engaging narrative. The author skillfully explores themes of mortality, the search for meaning, and the value of life itself. Through various plot twists and encounters, Sheckley forces readers to confront their own beliefs and attitudes towards life, mortality, and the relentless pursuit of happiness.

The characters in Death Wish are well-developed and relatable, each representing different perspectives on the topic of mortality. Albert Morris, in particular, undergoes a remarkable transformation throughout the novel, evolving from a disillusioned protagonist to someone who gains a profound understanding of his own existence. The supporting cast adds depth to the story, with each character contributing to the exploration of different ethical dilemmas and psychological struggles.

Sheckley's world-building is impressive, painting a vivid picture of a distant future where advancements in technology have transformed society in both positive and negative ways. The descriptions of these futuristic landscapes and the complex societal structures add to the immersive experience of the story, setting a stage where the characters' journeys play out.

One aspect that might be considered a drawback of the novel is its occasionally dense and introspective nature. At times, the philosophical musings can overshadow the plot, making it a slower read for those seeking a more action-oriented science fiction adventure. However, for readers who enjoy contemplative narratives that delve into the human psyche, this aspect will undoubtedly be a strength.

In conclusion, Death Wish by Robert Sheckley is a remarkable science fiction novel that offers much more than a mere exploration of immortality and the pursuit of death. It is a introspective journey that challenges our deeply ingrained beliefs about life, purpose, and the value of mortality. Sheckley's masterful storytelling and thought-provoking themes make this a must-read for fans of philosophical science fiction.

First Page:

Death Wish

By NED LANG

Illustrated by WEISS

Compared with a spaceship in distress, going to hell in a handbasket is roomy and slow!

The space freighter Queen Dierdre was a great, squat, pockmarked vessel of the Earth Mars run and she never gave anyone a bit of trouble. That should have been sufficient warning to Mr. Watkins, her engineer. Watkins was fond of saying that there are two kinds of equipment the kind that fails bit by bit, and the kind that fails all at once.

Watkins was short and red faced, magnificently mustached, and always a little out of breath. With a cigar in his hand, over a glass of beer, he talked most cynically about his ship, in the immemorial fashion of engineers. But in reality, Watkins was foolishly infatuated with Dierdre , idealized her, humanized her, and couldn't conceive of anything serious ever happening.

On this particular run, Dierdre soared away from Terra at the proper speed; Mr. Watkins signaled that fuel was being consumed at the proper rate; and Captain Somers cut the engines at the proper moment indicated by Mr. Rajcik, the navigator.

As soon as Point Able had been reached and the engines stopped, Somers frowned and studied his complex control board. He was a thin and meticulous man, and he operated his ship with mechanical perfection... Continue reading book >>




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