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The Status Civilization

Robert Sheckley

Book Overview: 

Will Barrent awakes without memories just before being deposited on Omega, a planet for criminals where the average life expectancy is 3 years. He’s listed as a murderer and released into the illicit society as a “peon” the lowest class imaginable. A mysterious girl gives him a weapon that starts him on his path to status, a path that requires constant brutality. But it must be borne if our hero is to discover the reason for his imprisonment; A reason that pits him against himself, and involves the sardonically similar but devoutly different creeds of Omega and Earth.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .According to witnesses, he had performed the counterkill in exemplary fashion. Tem's dream was to become a member of the Assassin's Guild. His application was on file with that ancient and austere organization, and he had a chance of being accepted within the month.

Barrent bought a sidearm from him. On Rend's advice, he chose a Jamiason-Tyre needlebeam. It was faster and more accurate than any projectile weapon, and it transmitted the same shock-power as a heavy caliber bullet. To be sure, it hadn't the spread of heat weapons such as the Hadjis used, which could kill within six inches of their target. But wide-range beamers encouraged inaccuracy. They were messy, careless weapons which reinforced careless traits. Anyone could fire a heat gun; but to use a needlebeam effectively, you had to practice constantly. And practice paid off. A good needlebeam man was more than a match for any two widebeam gunmen.

Barrent took this advice to heart, coming, as it. . . Read More

Community Reviews

The story is good, with some coherence issues. Anyway, it is very interesting for sure. The best part: the ideas that are simply awesome. In each chapter you will find sense of wonderful thoughts which break assumptions about how our present (and our future, maybe) society works; or about the law...more

La recensione di Frahours, che sottoscrivo ampiamente, era troppo appassionata per lasciar passare questo libro. Vi ho trovato grandi idee narrate con ritmo teso e incalzante, Una buona lettura che per alcuni sarà addirittura ottima, se considerate che l'ho apprezzata anche se non ho mai avuto un...more

Mi spiace molto che simili capolavori restino sconosciuti alla maggior parte dei lettori, molti dei quali li snobbano per il solo fatto che cotali lavori rientrano nel genere fantascientifico. Ve lo dico col cuore: non sapete cosa vi perdete...

Stavolta Sheckley (che ho adorato ne Il difficile rit...more

“It was a society which, in the final analysis, stressed individual endeavor. It was a society in which the lawbreaker was king; a society in which crimes were not only condoned but were admired and even rewarded; a society in which deviation from the rules was judged solely on its degree of succ...more

Sheckley is an under rated SF author with some great ideas, although he reminds me of PKD with his odd sense of humor that I just don't get sometimes. This was one such, but the point was far better done than PKD generally manages. A really interesting idea, a prison planet where everyone has the...more


Un roman peste care timpul a curs bine. Omega e o Australie a viitorului, planetă țintă pentru criminali, devianți, opozanți sau orice răufăcător ți-ai putea imagina. Celor trimiși acolo li se șterge memoria și sunt lăsați pradă noilor reguli. Omega e un spațiu al terorii, bine ierarhizat dar...more

Wow, I did not expect it to be this good! The story was captivating right from the start. I'm a sucker for Kafkaesque plots. I thought the story was suspenseful all through, throwing in weird stuff frequently to spike my interest in the story. The author's version of a futuristic Earth and the re...more

WOW. This book is simply so real, that almost terrifying! It was written in 1960 and it seems more probable today than ever. The funny thing is, that in Polish its title may be translated as "The Evil Planet" and in my opinion it is even more accurate than the original title - it fits better, fee...more

This is not a book that will rock your world. You won't be harassing your friends to read it, or spamming recommendations for it here on Goodreads. You aren't going to wistfully stare at its cover a year from now, remembering the great times you had together.

But that's OK.

The Status Civilization...more

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