MIDAS WORLD by Frederik Pohl


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What if cheap, inexhaustible nuclear fusion power became a reality? That's the launching pad for this cycle of seven stories--two of them well-known, much-anthologized yarns from The Man Who Ate the World; the rest are of recent vintage. With fusion energy, plus robots to do all the work, a cornucopia of manufactured goods leads to unparalleled prosperity. But who's going to consume all this wealth? The poor, of course--who live only to consume, endlessly and frantically. . . until Morey Fry gets the bright idea of using the robots to consume the products (""The Midas Plague""). . . though one poverty-stricken consumer is omitted from the robot plan and, pathetically, attempts to consume the world (""The Man Who Ate the World""). Soon, most humans migrate to space colonies, leaving many robots unemployed (they become muggers or crusading social reformers). Finally, the energy pipeline reverses--as polluted Earth, once again burning coal and wood, exports power to the colonies; and the last few humans are ousted from their apartments by robot neighbors. The individual stories here, if implausible at times, are a middling-to-good mix; but no clear theme emerges, the famous Pohl satire often goes astray, and this collection isn't up to his usual high standard.

Pub Date: July 29th, 1983
Publisher: St. Martin's