Saturday, April 18, 2020

Book review: MIDAS WORLD by Frederik Pohl

MIDAS WORLD (1983) by Frederik Pohl

Frederik Pohl is one of my major literary influences. I started reading his satirical SF stories when I was a kid.

He wrote many satirical stories and novels, but also ”straight” sci-fi speculation about space exploration, aliens and other classic themes. This is one of his satires.

MIDAS WORLD is a collection of Pohl’s stories set in a future when the energy problem has been solved and intelligent robots can take care of all our needs.

That is, all our needs except how to be happy...

My favorite story in the book is ”The Midas Plague,” in which accelerated material wealth has turned the idea of ”poverty” and ”riches” upside down. The poor are forced to consume obscene amounts of food and goods, living in palaces, while the rich can afford a simple life without servants.

(Is that really so far-fetched? Obesity is a growing problem today. Only the rich can afford to stay thin...)

What’s so great about MIDAS WORLD is that it works both as a satire of our consumer society, with its obsession about ”growth” at any cost... and as a credible speculation about the future.

Heartily recommended!

Also recommended, by the same author: THE SPACE MERCHANTS – and the short story ”The Tunnel Under the World” (available on and

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