Book Review: The World Inside by Robert Silverberg

Posted: December 6, 2010 in Book Reviews
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Summary (courtesy of Goodreads)

Welcome to Urban Monad 116. Reaching nearly two miles into the sky, the one thousand stories of this building are home to over eight hundred thousand people living in peace and harmony. In the year 2381 with a world population of over seventy-five billion souls, the massive Urbmon system is humanity’s salvation.

Life in Urbmon 116 is highly regulated, life is cherished, and the culture of procreation is seen as the highest pinnacle of god’s plan. Conflict is abhorred, and any who disturb the peace face harsh punishment—even being sent “down the chute” to be recycled as fertilizer.

Jason Quevedo, a historian, searches records of the twentieth century hoping to find the root of his discontent with the perfection of Urbmon life.

Siegmund Kluver, a young and ambitious administrator, strives to reach the top levels of the Urbmon’s government and discovers the civilization’s dark truths.

Michael Statler, a computer engineer, harbors a forbidden desire. He dreams of leaving the building—of walking in the open air and visiting the far-off sea. This is a dream he must keep secret. If anyone were to find out, he’d face the worst punishment imaginable.

The World Inside is a fascinating exploration of society and what makes us human, told by a master of speculative fiction.

Favorite Parts of the Book:

One thing I really liked about the book was how the author went about telling the story.  Each chapter focused on a major character telling his/her life in Urbmon 116.  It could have been a short story on its own, while maintaining the book’s continuity by the interweaving of characters throughout the chapters.  Silverberg took care in developing each of his characters, creating an instant connection with all of them, including the  hippie like musician Dillon Chrimes (who plays instruments I have never heard of).

The concept of the book was phenomenal!  That’s what drew me to the book in the first place.  I wanted to know how a bizzillion people could live in one building, with each floor named after a present day city, where everything down to bodily waste is recycled, and sleeping with every and anyone is not only okay, but encouraged!  Man’s sole purpose in this book to have plenty of babies, by any means necessary. Yeah, I really wanted to know how this works! (and if you want to know too, you’ll have to read it! :))

Favorite Characters:

One of my favorite characters was Michael Statler, the computer engineer who dreams of going outside.  In the book he called himself a “throwback”, which refers to humans that live like I do, free to live wherever I want rather than confined to a building.  So naturally I was able to relate to him the most.  Through his thoughts of swimming in the sea, frolicking in the sand, and having the sun tan his skin made me want to leave the confines of my two story Urbmon and take a vacay!  I’m not going to give away what happens to him in this chapter, but I will tell you that you do root for him the whole way and the ending was very surprising.

Speaking of surprise endings, my second favorite character, Siegmund Kluver, whose story doesn’t come into play until the last chapter.  Throughout the book, Siegmund is seen as the Urbmon’s golden child.  He’s young and his climb to the top of the career ladder (and the top of the building!) to be an Administrator was an ambitious one, and he is admired by all.  Throughout the whole book he is seen as the perfect Urbmon dweller, however when you finally get to his story, you see it’s quite the opposite.  Instead of a confident young man, you find a very insecure one, which was a nice, little surprise.  After all, perfect characters can be a little boring!  He finds that what he dream at the top wasn’t all that it was cracked up to be and he has a pretty hard time dealing with it.

Overall Review:

This is an awesome read and I highly recommend it!

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Comments
  1. 9shadowcat9 says:

    Yeah, those were my two fav characters to. I went wide eyed reading thier fates. Oo’ This book has an amazing way of making you feel for the characters, sympathizing with them and making you care what happens.

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