The Squares of the City

The Squares of the City Built in the heart of the jungle The City was an architect s masterpiece the scene of a flesh blood game of chess where the unwitting pawns were real people The Squares of the City is a science ficti

Built in the heart of the jungle, The City was an architect s masterpiece the scene of a flesh blood game of chess where the unwitting pawns were real people The Squares of the City is a science fiction novel written by John Brunner and first published in 1965 ISBN 0 345 27739 2 It was nominated for the Hugo Award for Best Novel in 1966 It is a sociolog Built in the heart of the jungle, The City was an architect s masterpiece the scene of a flesh blood game of chess where the unwitting pawns were real people The Squares of the City is a science fiction novel written by John Brunner and first published in 1965 ISBN 0 345 27739 2 It was nominated for the Hugo Award for Best Novel in 1966 It is a sociological story of urban class warfare and political intrigue, taking place in the fictional South American capital city of Vados It explores the idea of subliminal messages as political tools, and it is notable for having the structure of the famous 1892 chess game between Wilhelm Steinitz and Mikhail Chigorin The structure is not coincidental, and plays an important part in the story.

  • ☆ The Squares of the City ☆ John Brunner
    452 John Brunner
The Squares of the City

  1. John Brunner was born in Preston Crowmarsh, near Wallingford in Oxfordshire, and went to school at St Andrew s Prep School, Pangbourne, then to Cheltenham College He wrote his first novel, Galactic Storm, at 17, and published it under the pen name Gill Hunt, but he did not start writing full time until 1958 He served as an officer in the Royal Air Force from 1953 to 1955, and married Marjorie Rosamond Sauer on 12 July 1958At the beginning of his writing career Brunner wrote conventional space opera pulp science fiction Brunner later began to experiment with the novel form His 1968 novel Stand on Zanzibar exploits the fragmented organizational style John Dos Passos invented for his USA trilogy, but updates it in terms of the theory of media popularised by Marshall McLuhan The Jagged Orbit 1969 is set in a United States dominated by weapons proliferation and interracial violence, and has 100 numbered chapters varying in length from a single syllable to several pages in length The Sheep Look Up 1972 depicts ecological catastrophe in America Brunner is credited with coining the term worm and predicting the emergence of computer viruses in his 1975 novel The Shockwave Rider , in which he used the term to describe software which reproduces itself across a computer network Together with Stand on Zanzibar , these novels have been called the Club of Rome Quartet , named after the Club of Rome whose 1972 report The Limits to Growth warned of the dire effects of overpopulation.Brunner s pen names include K H Brunner, Gill Hunt, John Loxmith, Trevor Staines, Ellis Quick, Henry Crosstrees Jr and Keith Woodcott.In addition to his fiction, Brunner wrote poetry and many unpaid articles in a variety of publications, particularly fanzines, but also 13 letters to the New Scientist and an article about the educational relevance of science fiction in Physics Education Brunner was an active member of the organisation Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament and wrote the words to The H Bomb s Thunder , which was sung on the Aldermaston Marches.Brunner had an uneasy relationship with British new wave writers, who often considered him too American in his settings and themes He attempted to shift to a mainstream readership in the early 1980s, without success Before his death, most of his books had fallen out of print Brunner accused publishers of a conspiracy against him, although he was difficult to deal with his wife had handled his publishing relations before she died 2 Brunner s health began to decline in the 1980s and worsened with the death of his wife in 1986 He remarried, to Li Yi Tan, on 27 September 1991 He died of a heart attack in Glasgow on 25 August 1995, while attending the World Science Fiction Convention thereakaK H Brunner, Henry Crosstrees Jr, Gill Hunt with Dennis Hughes and E C Tubb , John Loxmith, Trevor Staines, Keith WoodcottWinner of the ESFS Awards in 1980 as Best Author and 1n 1984 as Novelist

572 Reply to “The Squares of the City”

  1. 3.5 to 4.0 stars John Brunner has yet to disappoint me with one of his novels His classic Stand on Zanzibar is one of my all time favorites and The Sheep Look Up and The Jagged Orbit were both excellent This is not one of his famous books which is a bit of a shame because of its originality in style and execution Let me say at the outset that there is not really a science fiction element to the story and it belongs in the category of mystery thriller It basically involves a traffic pattern ana [...]

  2. The Sheep Look Up utterly devastated me when I read it for the first and definitely not the last time earlier this year, and I realized that John Brunner was a guy whose books I would definitely need to track down one by one until I had read them all.Then a relatively new Twitter friend, Fred Kiesche, applauding my resolution, told me that if The Sheep Look Up was death by pollution , The Squares of the City was death by chess As in the structure is modeled after a World Championship game in 198 [...]

  3. Apologies for the rambling gonzo review that is to follow wanted to get my thoughts on this down in short order before the book faded from my immediate memory I fully intend to edit this into something sensical in due course I wasn t actually going to write a review on this until I started to see the Recommendations were supplying me off the back of my four star rating and started to get a little irked It s telling I think about how difficult John Brunner is to classify as a writer and how thor [...]

  4. This book is a head trip and a half One of my former friends gave it to me, telling me only that it was a sci fi book about a chess game Needless to say, I was ill prepared for what I was about to encounter.First of all, it s barely science fiction It s mainly a story of urban planning, and the tribulations that can result.Secondly, The entire book is the chess game, and the difficulty is recognizing which characters correspond to which pieces, and when they re meant to have moved obviously, whe [...]

  5. review of John Brunner s The Squares of the City by tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE May 9, 2014 Review is too long You entered 21001 characters, and the max is 20000 In other words, see the full review here story show Do you ever think about the urban planning that goes into things like the way traffic lights work I do I m impressed when such things work so efficiently that traffic keeps flowing w o my getting too annoyed by delays, w o accidents I came quickly to the central traffic intersection tha [...]

  6. I stumbled across this book on during one of my many browsing sessions As a chess player, I sometimes gravitate toward novels that use chess in one way or another This novel was to take the usual conventions a step further by using an actual game of chess to guide the plot Intriguing, I thought The beginning of the book is an introduction by Edward Lasker, a chess master and author His endorsement of the novel gave me hope that the idea would be well executed It prepares the reader for a real ch [...]

  7. Boyd Hakluyt has been hired to update the traffic system in Vados the shining jewel, capitol city, of Aguazul A country in Latin America Once he gets there he finds that he isn t there to fix a traffic problem, but rather a social one Twenty years ago presidente Vados conceived of creating a new city for the capitol, one that is modern, and engineered to perfection Many of the foreigners that helped build the city were granted citizenship There is a disparity between Vados and the rest of the co [...]

  8. An Australian traffic analyst is invited to a South American model city clearly patterned on Brasilia although the invented country in which it is located is Spanish speaking because the visionary president of the nation believes traffic analysis will cure his lovely city of its unsightly slums From the moment of his arrival, the narrator is in over his head, as it turns out there are two main political factions in the city and he s being used as a tool by one of them Though he repeatedly says h [...]

  9. I moved to East Rogers Park on Chicago s north side after graduating from seminary in New York in 1978 I d been away, except for some vacations, since college and the fabric of my social relationships had unravelled over the years Thus, my first apartment was a miserable studio on Morse and Ashland, one of the worst areas in the neighborhood I had no television, no phonograph, no job and very few friends I did, however, have books, lots of them, stored during the years of my schooling at the hom [...]

  10. While I was trying to describe this to someone who d never heard of Brunner, I came up with Phillip K Dick with a heaping spoonful of Heinlein The mixture, especially in this book, is a good one it s very Dick, but the main characters are better drawn, the story is accessible, and there is a hell of a lot less angst Still plenty of tension This particular book would make a brilliant movie.The only thing that keeps me from giving it five stars is the way the secondary characters ran together The [...]

  11. This is the story of a troubleshooter who specialises in fixing the vagaries of traffic flows He takes a job in a South American city which was built from scratch as the ambitious project of its President It is a city designed to draw in external wealth, while callously ignoring the poverty of the natives in the surrounding villages who suffered an upheaval because of its existence It soon becomes clear his traffic management problem is actually one of social engineering, and he sets about the j [...]

  12. Built in the heart of the jungle, The City was an architect s masterpiece the scene of a flesh and blood game of chess where the unwitting pawns were real people This sociological story of urban class warfare and political intrigue, takes place in the fictional South American capital city of Vados In this world subliminal messages are used as political tools The story is most notable for having the structure of the famous 1892 chess game between Wilhelm Steinitz and Mikhail Chigorin While the st [...]

  13. I first read this book some forty years ago and had remembered little except a chess game was involved.Reading it again now, some parts are dated These days, social media would play a great part controlling the people and the loss of one TV station and one newspaper would not be of such great import But other part about using media to subliminally control people seem very contemporary There seem echoes of today s refugee crisis in the problems of the economic movement of peasants into Vados.Fina [...]

  14. Political maneuverings, strange alliances, color segregation, characters dying under complex circumstances, intricate traffic analysis, blocky format sounds like a game of chess.SF styled as political thriller, inspired by the mid century political turmoil of Latin America, where the most stable of nations operated under CIA backed despotic regimes Brunner recognizes the complexities of race, power, history, and economics, and the subtleties of power, but he forgets the most important part these [...]

  15. An interesting conglomeration of conceptsThe major premise of the book is that the characters are all chess pieces, and the events of the book play out the movements of a famous chess game from 1892.The secondary premise is that the protagonist is a traffic flow consultant, trying to solve problems in a South American city that bears a remarkable resemblance to Brasilia, in being a capital city constructed into place And the principles he works by seem interesting and relatively plausible.

  16. An intriguing book, in many ways as much an academic exercise as a novel Usually referred to as science fiction though the sf elements are few until the denouement , it is perhaps better to consider it generally as a tale of a Latin American country on the brink of revolution and accept it on those terms For the most part, it works well in this way, though there are moments when the conceit of the story basing the character moves upon a real historical chess match threatens to intrude too far F [...]

  17. I have always liked Brunner novels and this although different in style is no exception The science fiction element is the notion of putting abstract notions like social control and town planning into practice I particularly liked the notion of using traffic flows as lysosomes to cut off and eliminate undesirable elements from a city Imagine how long a city would last with all its traffic connections cut This is paired with a thrilling adventure with corruption and murder coming do a diabolical [...]

  18. Certainly not Brunner s best book, but a worthy read nonetheless The Squares of the City does have the typical Brunner hallmarks, the unconventional narrative structure to point out one example Apart from that The Squares of the City is a story about the politics and social unrest in a fictional city somewhere in Latin America The main character, Hakluyt, is an urban planner from Australia, who unwillingly gets caught up in the political intrigues and urban class warfare.

  19. Everyone goes on about how this book is like a chess game,well I didn t get that from it Buut then again I was so bored with it I couldn t finish,so maybe I missed the chess reference or perhaps after a while I just didn t care any I hope his other books are better than this Science fiction Yea right

  20. Everyone who knows me knows I m a chess fan, so it s not surprising that I liked this book If you ve ever wondered how real life could be made to look like a game of chess, this is the book about it.

  21. A prophetic novel about overpopulation, city planning, the expendability of the poor Brunner predicts a time when overpopulation and urbanization would lead to people, called amok ers , to flip out and go on mass killing sprees Sound familiar

  22. I first read this many years ago An enjoyable example of politics buried in sci fi.And the poor consultant who discovered he was a pawn

  23. Un romanzo scritto come una partita di scacchi, basato su una partita vera di cui riproduce lo schema e le mosse Non proprio riuscito, come esperimento.

  24. Not really SF Enjoyable thriller which raises many political philosophical issues which have been raised for centuries A bit contrived, but still, hard to put down.

  25. Foreword and synopsis contain spoilers, I recommend not reading those and discovering the underlying plot by reading the book.

  26. A good story from one of the masters This tale uses the game of chess as a metaphor, framework, and vehicle for an examination of politics, power struggles, social prejudice and economic injustice.

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