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The Status Civilization by Robert Sheckley
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The Status Civilization (1960)

by Robert Sheckley

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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3991044,346 (3.47)9
On a savage prison planet, a reluctant killer searches for his memory He awakes in the cell, his mind blank save for a faint memory of standing over a dead man with a gun. Guilty of murder, his brain has been wiped, and he has been transported to Omega, the prison planet, where evil is worshipped as a god. His jailers inform him of his name, Will Barrent, his crime, and the average life expectancy in his new home: three years. Every day will be a battle for survival, and one day, he will lose.   Although run by criminals, Omega is hardly lawless. The population has been divided into an intricate caste system, and Barrent is on the bottom. The only way to advance in rank is to kill. While Barrent knows in his bones that he is no murderer, he sees no alternative but to give in to the crime that sent him here. He will kill if he must, but he will never lose himself again.… (more)

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» See also 9 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 10 (next | show all)
Started as a 3*, then went down in the very end when it could have become interesting. ( )
  Karolis.Mikutis | May 12, 2020 |
Somehow in my early years of SF reading I missed all the Sheckley stories. Now that I am doing a personal survey of the Golden years of SF I'm glad I found him. This was a fun read and more. It has stuck with me since. He introduces interesting concepts worth more then a passing thought. What kind of world are we creating and do we have anyone to blame but ourselves? Better then an average three star book. I will read more Sheckley. ( )
  ikeman100 | Jan 17, 2020 |
This book is about a massively distopian society where the knowledge of the rules is deliberately withheld. Knowledge is power, and the prison planet Omega is a mirror image of the Earth that condemns criminals to the hell that their crimes merit. Until you come to knowledge of the rules...especially the ones that rule both planets.... ( )
  DinadansFriend | Jul 7, 2014 |
The speaker held out his hands to quiet the murmur that ran through the auditorium. He said, "All of you are criminals. And all of you have one thing in common: an inability to obey the basic obligatory rules of human society. Those rules are necessary for civilization to function. By disobeying them, you have committed crimes against all mankind. Therefore mankind rejects you. You are grit in the machinery of civilization, and you have been sent to a world where your own sort is king. Here you can make your own rules, and die by them. Here is the freedom you lusted for; the uncontained and self-destroying freedom of a cancerous growth."

On arrival at the prison planet Omega, the memory-wiped prisoners,are told their names and crimes and left to make their way as best they can through the intricacies of the society that has developed among the prisoners who arrived before them. Will Barrent strikes it lucky on his first day on Omega when he survives his first encounter with one of Omega's violent holidays, but his non-conformist ways seem bound to get him into deep trouble sooner or later. I really liked how no-one would tell the newcomers anything they needed to know . . . if they were lucky they would find out before they made a fatal mistake.

To start with I found this book a fun read, but in the second half it became more interesting as it gives the reader a lot to think about. The rules and customs of Omega seemed illogical to the reader to start with, as well as to the new arrivals, but gradually the reasons for the warped nature of Omegan society and its relationship with what was happening back on Earth became clear. ( )
  isabelx | Mar 21, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 10 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (9 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Robert Sheckleyprimary authorall editionscalculated
Chesterman, AdrianCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Galli, MarioTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Markkula, PekkaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Podwil, JeromeCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Thole, KarelCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Dedication
Ziva Sheckley (to my wife, Ziva)
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His return to consciousness was a slow and painful process.
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Dead or alive, you will retain all your rights.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Variant Titles: The Status Civilization and Omega
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Will Barrent had no memory of his crime . . . but he found himself shipped across space to a brutal prison-planet. On Omega, his only chance to advance himself -- and stay alive -- is to commit an endless series of violent crimes. The average inmate's life expectancy from time of arrival is three years. Can Barrett survive, escape, and return to Earth to clear his name?
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