Les Monades Urbaines

ISBN: 2253072257
ISBN 13: 9782253072256
By: Robert Silverberg

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About this book

La planète Terre en l'an 2381 : la population humaine compte désormais plus de 75 milliards d'individus, entassés dans de gigantesques immeubles de plusieurs milliers d'étages. Dans ces monades, véritables villes verticales entièrement autosuffisantes, tout est recyclé, rien ne manque. Seule la nourriture vient de l'extérieur. Ainsi, l'humanité a trouvé le bonheur. Des bas étages surpeuplés et pauvres aux étages supérieurs réservés aux dirigeants, tous ne vivent que dans un but : croître et se multiplier. Plus de tabous, plus de vie privée, plus d'intimité. Chacun appartient à tout le monde. La jalousie et le manque n'existent plus. Contentez-vous d'être heureux. La monade travaille pour vous et maîtrise tout. Quand à ceux qui n'acceptent pas le système, les anomos, ils seront eux aussi recyclés. Pour le bien-être du plus grand nombre... L'utopie futuriste est une entreprise délicate, tant ce genre compte de chefs-d'œuvre indépassables, souvent fondateurs de la science-fiction. Loin de recycler de vieilles idées, Silverberg (Le château de Lord Valentin, les Chroniques de Majipoor) en renouvelle le genre avec intelligence et subtilité. Un grand classique à ranger aux côtés de 1984 d'Orwell ou du Meilleur des mondes de Huxley. --Georges Louhans

Reader's Thoughts


my rating is closer to 3.5 than 3 stars. not much happened in this book and for a 233-page book, it did drag on a little, hence the 3.5 starts, but still i enjoyed reading it. also, written in 1971, it clearly shows with the emphasis on groovy sex and drugs. most interesting to me was the main character, the building itself, called the Urbmon (short for Urban monolith? Urban monstrosity? ;) ) ehrlich's population bomb was published in 1968 amid a lot of hoopla and i see this book as a direct response to it. the idea of 'vertical living' (vs 20th century 'horizontal living'), living in a 3 kilometer high building and leaving the other 9/10ths of the land for food-growing, makes it possible, in the book, for the planet to have over 75 billion humans living on it. (eta:also, what the cover illustration has to do with the book, i have no idea. the women, and men, were basically naked all the time, with the women covering one breast maybe with some decorative metal cup.. the cover of my ebook was better, showing the Urbmon from the outside.)


A creative view of a possible future world where pro-lifers won out but had to team up with free love. In the future, most of the earth's population live in urbmons--buildings 1,000 stories tall containing around 880,000 people each. The hive dwelling requires a complete lack of privacy, even down to no locks on apartment doors and a universal acceptance that any time an adult asks another for sex, they must comply. A series of vignettes builds up to a reveal of the interconnectedness of the characters' lives and gives a chance to explore whether the development of the urbmons has led to the evolution or a new type of human being or whether they are all just silently suffering a loss of all of their freedoms to allow themselves the one freedom to reproduce at will. A truly thought-provoking book. I highly recommend it.Check out my full review.


Unfortunately spends too much time doubting the virtue of the urbmon system to really be believable as a contemporary account. I suppose Silverberg thought that since there were so many nattering nabobs of negativity circa 1970 that that would happen in the 24th century too--but looking back on those guys now they just look like a bunch of indulgent, buttpicking whiners. Also the present-tense stream of consciousness style becomes facile, a habit and a routine (like in that awful--and big--collection of his stories I read, or all those dreary Gardner Dozois year's-best anthologies). And the repetition of points becomes irritating too. Still, there's no denying the power of that picture of the future--the towering buildings and huge open spaces surrounding. A variation on the Eloi/Morlock divergence. It really is a haunting image to me.


-Estilos e intencionalidades de otros tiempos.-Género. Ciencia-Ficción.Lo que nos cuenta. En el año 2381, la población terrestre supera los 70.000.000 de personas y se acerca rápidamente a los 100.000.000 individuos y la gran mayoría de ellos (pero no todos) viven y residen en enormes edificios con un millar de plantas, conocidos como monurbs. La Monada Urbana 116 y sus casi 900.000 residentes son una muestra de cómo son las cosas ahora en una sociedad que ha debido adaptarse a nuevas formas de organización y convivencia.¿Quiere saber más de este libro, sin spoilers? Visite:http://librosdeolethros.blogspot.com/...

Kat Hooper

ORIGINALLY POSTED AT Fantasy Literature.In the year 2381, the Earth contains 75 billion people. Despite the dire warnings of 20th century prophets, humans have not exhausted the Earth’s resources. There is plenty of food for everyone, but because 90% of the land must be covered in farms, most of the people live in Urban Monads — 1,000-story skyscrapers housing 800,000 people each. Citizens aren’t allowed out of their building, and many aspects of society are rigidly monitored. Everyone is married at age 12 and each couple is encouraged to have as many children as they can because fertility and children are blessings from god.In such a close community, it’s dangerous for people to be protective of private property or possessive of their mate, so sharing is actively encouraged. Thus, everyone has sexual access to everyone else and men are expected to go “night walking” to find other partners while their wives stay home and make themselves accessible to any man who opens their door. There is no war, crime, privacy, jealousy, or sexual restrictions, and the citizens of the Urban Monads are happy. The few who express dissatisfaction are sent to “Moral Engineers” for reprogramming, or may be thrown “down the chute” where their bodies make fuel for the building.The World Inside (1971) is the story of several people who become dissatisfied with their lives in Urban Monad 116. It’s a thoughtful look at what life on Earth might be like if our population ever reaches the level where we need to grow vertically instead of horizontally. I was fascinated by Silverberg’s Urban Monads where everything that’s necessary for life is in one building, and where blocks of floors represent different classes and cultures.But what I liked best about The World Inside was the idea that, because dissidents are sent down the chute, possessiveness, rebellion, jealousy, and other forms of social strife have been selectively bred out of the human population. Perhaps it would be possible for future humans to be happy in an Urban Monad, but 21st century readers will be horrified by Silverberg’s setting. Being satisfied with that kind of life would require some major evolutionary changes in our genome and, by introducing us to the citizens of Urban Monad 116, Silverberg suggests that along with those nasty traits we might like to get rid of, go many beautiful human traits such as wanderlust, curiosity about the world and, perhaps, a hope for something better around the next bend.Robert Silverberg’s major focus on free love and his inclusion of hallucinogenic drug trips, psychedelic music, and orgies isn’t surprising (I’ve seen all this before in his stories), but they do serve to remind you that you’re reading a story that was published more than 40 years ago. The excuse for the drugs, music, and orgies, I suppose, is that they induce a hive-mind mentality in the building, but they really seem like a self-indulgent way to induce sexual titillation. I didn’t find it at all titillating, though, especially since it was so vulgarly done (e.g., women are referred to as “slots” and the act is constantly called “topping”). And then there’s the incest, which I’ve also seen before in Silverberg stories. Ick.But my main problem with The World Inside is that it doesn’t make sense. If this is a free love society, why does everyone have to be married? And why encourage childbearing at all? To me, this bizarre societal goal seemed like a jab at religious people who are against birth control. Silverberg has his characters constantly saying “god bless, god bless, god bless!” and other religious-sounding speech. And if they’re so disgusted by “primeval 20th century attitudes,” why are women still expected to be home preparing dinner, taking care of the kids, and nagging their husbands to be ambitious so the family can move up the social ladder? Why do men get to go night walking wherever they like while women have to stay home and be “topped” by whoever shows up at their door?And why can’t the Monad citizens go out of the buildings? Their food, families, friends, jobs, and all social support systems are inside the buildings. There’s nothing to keep them outside, so why can’t they go out and get some fresh air? And what if there was fire, or poisonous gas, or some other emergency? They don’t even practice evacuation procedures. I was expecting some big creepy revelation about why people where encouraged to have babies and why they were kept from knowing what was outside, but this never came. I can’t help but think that Robert Silverberg just wanted to write a story about overpopulation, free love, and selective breeding, so he stuck them all together in the same book.In the end, the plot didn’t hold together, but I still enjoyed the setting and many of the ideas in The World Inside, so I didn’t feel like it was a waste of my time. The World Inside was nominated for, but didn’t win, the Hugo Award in 1972. I listened to Audible Frontier’s version which is almost eight hours long and is read by Paul Boehmer, who did a great job with the narration. If you’re going to read The World Inside, I recommend the audiobook.


This book had an extremely dated feel to it in a way that much of the older sci-fi I've read manages to avoid. Rather than ever being able to truly immerse myself in the story, I felt like I was watching a 50s black-and-white promotion for the world of the future. Additionally, at times I felt as though Silverberg proceeded to beat his readers over the head to make sure we didn't miss WHY this society was dystopian, rather than a true utopia. Nevertheless, the concepts introduced in the story were interesting to mull over, and I thought the characters were fairly engaging. I don't imagine I'll pick this one up to re-read down the line, but I don't regret the experience, either.

James Caterino

In the interest of full disclosure, it was all but a predetermined fact I was going going to like this book. Robert Silverberg is one of my favorite authors. I love the premise. It reminded me of one of my favorite novels as kid, "Logan's Run". I have a thing for the science fiction written in the era of 1967-1978. Oh, yeah, and I like sex too.Like most dystopian works, "The World Inside" is very much a product of its time and in this case it is a good thing. Many of the thematic concerns that lead to the "vertical society" portrayed in the novel are as relevant as ever today, especially over population. While building towering skyscrapers that are several kilometers high and house over 800,000 people sounds like a possible solution to the problem of diminishing resources, the society in this novel creates a brand new set of ironic dilemmas. One of the more bizarre policies in this future world is mandatory breeding from the age of puberty, literally. Which makes no sense when you think about it. But these types of contradictions in this society, as well as the internal conflicts of the characters who begin to question the system, are what make this book such a riveting read.This a fascinating vision of where the sexual revolution of 60s and 70s might have lead. People participate in a cultural ritual called "night walking". A person literally walks throughout the building in the middle night, going door to door to do some "topping". Yes, it is exactly what you think it is. Nobody in science fiction handles sexuality and eroticism with the expert touch possessed by Robert Silverberg. The author spent his early days working tirelessly in the sexy pulps of the late 50s and early 60s, cranking out a new 50,000 novel every two weeks. Having read many of them, I can tell you they are really good. Silverberg brings that same sense of pacing to this book.But this is the post-pulp Sliverberg so we do get some of those soaring, lyrical, arty, Ellison-esque passages that will leave you breathless.Bottom line, "The World Inside" is a fascinating, beautifully written, entertaining novel that showcases of the grand masters of modern science fiction and fantasy in top form.

Clark Hallman

In The World Inside, Robert Silverberg creates a very interesting Earth civilization that copes with a World population of 75 billion people in the year 2381. The book was first published in 1971 at a time when many people were concerned about the sustainability the Earth’s population growth. Authors such as Paul Ehrlich warned about starvation and devastating societal problems due to over population in the future. At the time limiting births was probably the most recommended strategy for averting the devastating prognostications. However, Silverberg takes a different approach in The World Inside. The people of 2381 live in huge skyscrapers (called urbmons) that are 1000 floors in height. Each Urbmon consists of 25 cities of about 40 floors each, and over 800,000 people live within each urbmon. They live their entire lives in very small one-room apartments which afford almost no privacy. This vertical world frees much space for agricultural purposes, and of course there are farming communes where relatively primitive communities of people grow and transport food and raw materials to the urbmons. Within the urbmons cities, are arranged hierarchically with lower-class cities (and people) at the bottom and higher-class cities (and people) at the top. Citizens never leave their urbmon and many never leave their cities. People do not go outside. They live, play, learn, work, and build careers, all within the urbmon where they were born, unless they are selected to populate a newly constructed urbmon. An interesting feature of this future civilization is that population control is thought of as extremely immoral and is absolutely banned. Instead, it is strongly encouraged that all couples have as many children “littles” as possible and those who have only a few children are severely criticized and thought to be immoral. In addition, women are required to submit to any man’s sexual demands, not only their husband’s. The custom of “night walking” allows any man to enter any apartment (usually within their own city, but even in other cities) and have sex with any woman, even if the woman’s husband is home at the time. Women may “night walk” also, but they usually wait for a man to come to them instead. This custom of open sex is deemed one of the necessary privileges that helps keep the populous under control in this very structured, controlled, and invasive civilization. In fact, any deviation from expected behavior is dealt with very severely through psychological/emotional therapy and/or almost instant execution by throwing the perpetrators “flippos” down the nearest waste recycling shut. Silverberg’s story follows the lives of a small group of people. Not surprisingly, it focuses on the difficulties that some people endure due to the extremely proscribed and unnatural lifestyle. In my opinion, the vertical society that Silverberg created is the most interesting aspect of this book and the story is secondary and almost superfluous. The book is worth reading but not one of Silverberg’s best.


Un court roman de science fiction derrière lequel se cache une étude sociologique.A travers le système d'expansion verticale, l'auteur décrit une société dans laquelle tout va pour le mieux et de laquelle tout élément perturbateur est éliminé sans aucune forme de procès. Tout au long du livre le lecteur se familiarise avec cette environnement... d'abord perturbant, il en acquiert les règles et les coutumes, les assimilent, les acceptent presque... mais c'est à cet instant - avec notamment deux personnages - que l'on dégringole. Ce cadre d'apparence libertaire, mais en réalité oppressif (on retrouve le principe de l'étiquette, de la pression imposé par les pairs...) n'est pas accepté par tous, il n'est d'ailleurs en réalité que toléré par la majorité de ces citoyens (quelle que soit leur place sur l'échelle sociale) qui paradoxalement sera intolérant à tout comportement sortant de l'ordinaire. Quant à ceux qui ne la tolèrent plus, qui ne peuvent plus accepter ce mode de vie, ils n'ont que peu d'échappatoire devant eux à savoir la folie, l'exil ou le suicide.Ce qui me semble le plus édifiant (et terrifiant), c'est que ce n'est pas la peinture d'une société de fiction que nous offre l'auteur, mais tout simplement un regard sur la manière dont toutes les sociétés humaines ont fonctionné, fonctionne et fonctionneront probablement toujours.


This book is similar to "1984" and "Brave New World" in that it is a somewhat cautionary tale of what may happen. The main theme may seem to be of a sexual nature, but really the themes are privacy and personal freedom. It is a very interesting story, but there were a few things I didn't like:--The story follows a few different characters around, and they are all linked in some way. However, it seems that the book was cut short since some of the characters' stories don't have any sense of closure.--There are a few words and phrases the author uses that make it obvious this was written around the late 60s / early 70s; like the word "groove" meaning to be high on some sort of drug.--Very little world-building. Which, I have to admit, would have severely detracted from the story.This is a very short book, so it won't take much time to read. I thought it was well worth the time: while not exactly a "fun" read, it was very entertaining and though-provoking.


Part of the joy of reading old science fiction is seeing how the author's own times intrude on their vision of the future. Written in the late 60s, Silverberg imagines an Earth of 75 billion, the vast majority living in 1000 storey concrete tower blocks, and so closely packed together all notions of privacy and marital fidelity banished. It's a dystopia that spends a lot of effort convinces the population they've never had things so good - any dissent(going 'flippo') is treated with 'moral engineering'(brainwashing), or summary execution.The things it doesn't predict are as telling; the 'post-venereal world' would last another decade before HIV appeared, and massive central computers disappeared in the 80s(I used to work on a mainframe, that was scrapped in 1990). Nor is there any mention of environmental problems beyond population density.Still, it's an enjoyable, if slow starting, read, with a growing menace, as the characters' lives fall apart in Urban Monad 116.

Harding Young

I picked this up at a used bookshop – chose it out of the litany of paperback pulps by Silverberg – thinking it would be a mindless escape into some interplanetary pornography. It is not. And yet I was still riveted and read the thing almost in one sitting. With echoes of Orwell and Huxley, it delivers you to a futuristic inner-world of condo-culture – but you really can’t escape. Written in the late 60s, no doubt Silverberg had ideas of where our condos were heading (Up! Up! Up!). He pretty much got it spot on – save for maybe the “nightwalking”. Although, do we really know what goes on in those buildings? I’m only asking. I live in a house.

Shelton TRL

World-building; Character-driven; Intricately plotted. Strong sense of place; Thought-provoking.To deal with a growing population in the future, massive tall buildings each become homes to nearly one million people. These redefined countries have attitudes towards sex, procreation, and going outside that vary greatly from modern thought. The book traces the paths of several inhabitants in one of these buildings as their lives intersect with and diverge from one another. ***Warning: the sexual morality in this book is widely different from our own - multiple sexual partners, sex with siblings, and never saying no to a request for sex are all normal in this book and, in some cases, laws.Recommended for those who enjoy: Imperial Earth, Mindbridge, A Gift from Earth, and Time Storm.


Les monades urbaines est un roman-mosaïque de Robert Silverberg décrrivant la vie dans des tours gigantesques d’ici deux cent ou trois cent ans. Il s’agit naturellement d’une forme d’utopie (et oui, encore une) banissant la propriété sus toute ses formes. Chacun est un membre de la monade, et c’est tout. Contrairement à Kirinyaga, il n’existe pas ici de manière claire de qualifier cette utopie. Est-ce le bien, le mal ? Aucun moyen de le savoir, si ce n’est par le traitement infligé aux "anormos" qui sont d’abord rééduqués, avant d’être jeté dans la Chute (ie les recycleurs de matière) pour que son énergie soit utile à tous. Et pourtant, il n’existe pas un seul des héros de ces nouvelles qui ne soit heureux, et c’est là qu’on sent se fendiller les choses. En fait, Silverberg tente probablement par ce roman de reprendre quelques thèmes chers aux hippies, et autres partisans de l’amour libre en tant que moyen de communication, pour démontrer que malgré tout, malgré l’amour et la liberté, les tensions persistent, et les dangers demeurent. Et la démonstration est édifiante, car rien ne peut donner de l’espoir dans ce monde stérilisé par trop de plaisir. Ils n’ont plus la force d’avancer, se doivent, pour le bien de tous, d’être contents de leurs vies, et ce qui n’en sont pas satisfaits sont rejetés, car anormos.Pour moi, le pire exemple est Siegmund, le jeune et beeau favori des administrateurs, qui ne peut plus résister à la tension sous-jacente, alors même que l’amour possible librement est censé détruire les tensions avant leur apparition. C’est un roman fort, qui laisse un goût de larmes, car si la morale n’est pas complètement négative, elle n’en laisse pas moins, pour moi, des relents de totalitarisme assez douloureux pour ce que peut nous réserver l’avenir.

Invadozer Saphenousnerves Circular-thallus Popewaffensquat

R Silverberg's "THE WORLD INSIDE" isabout the giant apartment communistic/yet caste riddencomplex (the floors are divided up according to job'importance). Reading this I thought this is the straight bullet shot to the future. Population goes flippo so the powers thatbe make a huge ass 1000 floor apt. complex whereeveryone is supposed to just keep on poppin' pills andout-slotting babies while holding down comfy jobs. Sex is freewith anyone, the apts. are always unlocked for the'nightwalking' sexplorer. The jargon in this book is reallyinfectuous and carries the story for a quick read. Arambunctious psychedelic "Brave New World" in that it holds upif you turn the structure upside down and kick it,nothing shakes free. A solid read with believable culture of the weird. The monuments of the world areground up after being well documented for home viewingso no one needs to go outside. If you flip out youget shoved into the chute/furnace. All the charactershave some kind of beef with the system of the apts,and one guy in particular goes AWOL checking out thecommunes on the outside who have gone back to aritualistic primitive harvest society. There's a rock starguy who plays 3D planet vibrations for the grubboblue collars, a horny 14 year old who is trying toimpress everyone, sleeping with anything he can, helpingto advance his ladder climbing in the bureaucracy ofthe apts. I can't say enough stuff about this book,it's a real treat to discover something like this, Icould see why Silverberg gave up SF in the 70's whenstuff like this gets pushed under the rug, never heardof this gold inspired spire before.Originally posted on Brutalsfx group.

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