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Book Review: The Joy Makers, James Gunn (1961, magazine publication 1955)

Science Fiction and Other Suspect Ruminations

(William Hofmann’s cover for the 1961 edition)

4.25/5 (collated rating: Good)

The three parts of James Gunn’s fix-up novel The Joy Makers (1961) were originally published in magazine form in 1955 as ‘Name Your Pleasure,’ ‘The Naked Sky’, and ‘The Unhappy Man.’  I have not read the originals so I’m unsure of how much was added or subtracted or completely re-conceptualized.  Largely a satire — Gunn pushes his point to the logical, and terrifying extreme — each part is a further chronological progression of a society whose chief aim is to make people happy.  It is hard not to read Part I as a satirical take on some aspects of Scientology,  a movement that was gaining force in the early 1950s.

Because each part is only linked thematically to the others

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MANON KUBLER, ESCRITORA Y PERIODISTA EN RETIRADA. PREPARO MIS LLAGAS. EXPULSO MIS FUEGOS. TENGO HAMBRE Y VINE PARA QUEDARME. MANON KUBLER

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