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The Santaroga Barrier by Frank Herbert

The Santaroga Barrier (1968)

by Frank Herbert

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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English (6)  French (3)  All languages (9)
Showing 1-5 of 6 (next | show all)
Pure pulp, from my perspective. The writing was pedestrian, and characterization shallow and unbelievable. Dasein acted like a tantrumy toddler, Jenny was an early version of a manic pixie dreamgirl, and most of the rest of the characters were cardboard cutouts. Plus, I just never could get past the thought that the real threat, in this story, is the idea that people have no right to refuse to buy commercial products, or to reject their marketing efforts. Both the "market study" that Dasein was undertaking, and the reaction of a traveling salesman who had been unable to make sales in the valley struck me as exemplary of the evil sense of entitlement that corporations seem to feel they have to our collective dollar. ( )
  duende | Feb 6, 2014 |
An unusual story that promised more than it delivered. Didn't like the ending. I was hoping for more. ( )
  Neale | Jan 13, 2013 |
...I guess thematically and stylistically The Santaroga Barrier is a book of it's time. It leans very heavily on the ideas Herbert used as an inspiration. What makes this book stand out is the depth of these ideas. To Herbert they were not merely interesting concepts. He delved deeply and conveyed part of that interest and understanding in this book. It does not have the epic scope and wide variety of themes of the Dune saga but of all his works outside that setting, The Santaroga Barrier is probably the most underrated. It's a short but challenging read. If you are looking to explore Herbert's work beyond Dune, this book would be a good choice.

Full Random Comments review ( )
4 vote Valashain | Mar 31, 2010 |
This is my favorite Herbert novel, besides Dune, and it's a deceptively simply story of a young man trying to find out why the valley where his girl hails from is so singularly insular. Natives are not friendly to outsiders, products from the valley don't travel well, and outside businesses just never get off the ground. Herbert built levels with his character names and the time period invites some speculation about various types of hallucinogenics (LSD is a specific reference), but there's more to the apparent hive mentality. Besides, it's all about the Jaspers. ( )
2 vote Prop2gether | Mar 15, 2010 |
A clinical psychologist, Dasein, is sent to investigate an insular town, and reunite with the love of his life, who is a local there. Previous investigators have had fatal "accidents" and he soon has two, but Dasein's connection with this girl keeps him alive, and allows him to discover the drug-like secret that binds that town together and unites it against the rest of the country.

There is the characteristic Herbert incisive psychology pervading this, and characters fleshed out more than the standard sci fi fare. But ultimately this is little more than a story about an unusual drug, with only a whiff of science fiction, and any tension generated by the attempts on Dasein's life get rather repetitive after a while and predictable after a while. I also felt that the discussion of the drug jaspers wasn't a million miles away from the spice melange in Dune, and so I was frustrated by the lack of originality here.

In srhort, this novel is mildly interesting for its faintly sci fi exploration of drugs and addiction, and the connection between consciousness and unconsciousness, but ultimately, I found it all a tad dull and disappointing. ( )
2 vote RachDan | Dec 5, 2009 |
Showing 1-5 of 6 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (6 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Frank Herbertprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bonnefoy, JeanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Brick, ScottNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lehr, PaulCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Youll, PaulCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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The sun went down as the five-year-old Ford camper-pickup truck ground over the pass and started down the long grade into Santaroga Valley.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0765342510, Mass Market Paperback)

Santaroga seemed to be nothing more than a prosperous farm community. But there was something . . . different . . . about Santaroga.

Santaroga had no juvenile delinquency, or any crime at all. Outsiders found no house for sale or rent in this valley, and no one ever moved out. No one bought cigarettes in Santaroga. No cheese, wine, beer or produce from outside the valley could be sold there. The list went on and on and grew stranger and stranger.

Maybe Santaroga was the last outpost of American individualism. Maybe they were just a bunch of religious kooks. . . .

Or maybe there was something extraordinary at work in Santaroga. Something far more disturbing than anyone could imagine.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:20:26 -0400)

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