Thursday, January 3, 2019

Sci-fi book cover: "Gladiator-at-Law"

  • Title: Gladiator-at-Law
  • Co-author #1: Frederik Pohl (1919-2013)
  • Co-author #2: C.M. Kornbluth (1923-1958)
  • Cover artist: Richard Powers (1921-1996)
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books
  • Cover price: 50 cents
  • Publication date: Original date is 1955. This is the second printing from February 1962.
  • Pages: 171
  • Format: Paperback
  • First-page promotional blurb: "In this world, young lawyer Charles Mundin battles a great combine of corporate interests — battles them in board meetings and in dark alleys — in a struggle that lays bare some brutal promises of the future ... promises we are beginning to make right now."
  • First sentence: The accused was a tallow-faced weasel with "Constitutional Psychopathic Inferior" stamped all over him.
    Last sentence: "We've got cleaning up to do."
  • Random sentence from middle: Mundin began to wonder why they had bothered to come, as the pay-raise was lackadaisically approved by a unanimous voice vote.
  • Goodreads rating: 3.50 stars (out of 5.0)
  • Goodreads review excerpt: In 2015, Brandon wrote: "As social commentary in general, it warns about excessive difference between rich and poor, though as a story it is certainly interesting how the ghetto ends up being in the suburbs. The bubble house technology is the primary science fiction aspect, and the description of those reads not unlike some of the articles in today's world about smart houses."
  • Amazon rating: 4.4 stars (out of 5.0)
  • Amazon review excerpt: In 2008, David F. Nolan wrote: "I read this book when I was a teenager, nearly 50 years ago, and just finished re-reading it. It holds up surprisingly well for a half-century-old work of speculative fiction. Sure, the technology is dated, and you have to mentally multiply all dollar figures by a factor of 20, but as social commentary it's still readable and even engrossing. P&K's portrayal of a decaying, corporate-controlled America is well crafted."
  • Notes: Kornbluth's numerous pen names included Cecil Corwin, S.D. Gottesman, Edward J. Bellin, Kenneth Falconer, Walter C. Davies, Simon Eisner, Jordan Park, Arthur Cooke, Paul Dennis Lavond and Scott Mariner. ... In a back-cover blurb, The New York Times praises the novel as "possessed of a bite and savage vigor which makes it one of the outstanding science-fiction novels of the year." ... Other Ballantine books advertised on the last page, all for 35 cents apiece, include The Funhouse, Fahrenheit 451, Strange Relations, Childhood's End, The Climacticon, Turn Left at Thursday, and Not Without Sorcery. ... I kept getting confused and thinking the title was Gladiator-in-Law, which would be a very different book.

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