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This Crowded Earth

This Crowded Earth - Robert Bloch, Gregg Margarite The premise of this novel is that because of severe overcrowding, life on the planet has become miserable and unsustainable in the long run. The ridiculous solution is that all future children are going to be injected with something during pregnancy that will make them small, on average three feet in height. This causes all sorts of problems, among them a war between the naturalists, who are of normal height, and the yardsticks, those born small. The yardsticks win out but face other issues including short lifespans and a gradual dying out of the species.

This is a novel with a crazy amount of flaws in logic. What saves it is that it is still entertaining. Among the flaws, the concept that the best solution for overcrowding is to make people smaller is just stupid. Also, the author is way off in his premise in claiming that at a population of seven billion, the planet would be way overcrowded, which obviously isn’t true since we are above those levels. The author also lacks any sort of imagination about how future commuting issues could be solved by using technology and telecommuting. In the story, war is obsolete because there are atomic fusion bombs that are too dangerous, and therefore nobody is willing to fight anymore. That is a laughable premise. The danger of weapons has done little to prevent violence around the world. There are so many similar things where the author didn’t think things through or lacked imagination. For instance, the yardsticks are concerned about their females delivering normal sized children until a naturalist says this can be accomplished by C section. This is hardly a novel concept, but it was treated as such in the story. As I said, the story does have some entertainment value and on that basis is worth reading despite all of the flaws.

Carl Alves – author of Reconquest: Mother Earth