Author Harry Harrison wrote in 1984 about the technique of background-as-foreground - the story for the main characters is really a means to capture the readers attention and draw them to the greater truth of the setting. He uses this to great effect in Make Room! Make Room!
This novel shows what the world will be like "if we continue in our insane manner to pollute and overpopulate Spaceship Earth." The observed limitations of oil and aquifers play right alongside the conflict between farmers and city dwellers. Disease plays only a small role here, but then the scope of the novel is roughly 6 months.
The main character is a policeman, with side stories covering his target and a judge who influences his duties. These characters and the various side characters are well described and interesting, and only once (towards the end of the book) does the story digress into a few pages of exposition as Sol rants about birth control and sustainable development.
As you probably know, this book was appropriated and turned into a movie. Well, some of it was. Harry Harrison wrote all about it in an article published in Omni, which fortunately lives online here - http://www.iol.ie/~carrollm/hh/soycan... The book of course doesn't contain cannibalism, and when Soylent shows up, it is where it makes more sense - Soy and Lentil steaks.
All in all, a really excellent book. Though published nearly 50 years ago, it is still quite relevant today, and a very good read. Recommended!
A great story with engaging characters. Some of the politics is still relevant today.
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