“The Conservationists were fair game, those wild-eyed zealots who pretended modern civilization was in some way “plundering” our planet. Preposterous stuff. Science is always a step ahead of the failure of natural resources. After all, when real meat got scarce, we had soyaburgers ready. When oil for civilian purposes ran low, technology developed the pedicab.” (pp. 18-19)
“I definitely am, however, a guy who gets sore when he pays new-protein prices and gets regenerated-protein merchandise. The texture of the shashlik we both ordered was all right, but you can’t hide the taste.” (p. 33)
Within these extracts, Pohl and Kornbluth criticize the notion that human science can always overcome the human-inflicted failures of the natural world. For example, a transition from traditional cars to pedal-based vehicles would be viewed by the reader as backtracking technological development. Furthermore, Courtenay’s dislike for unnatural food implies a superiority of natural food. Such attitudes still hold relevance today when considering the consistent depletion of natural oil reserves and the contention over genetically modified foods. Additionally, the significant portion of today’s people, industries and governments with a laissez-faire attitude towards environmental conservationism, and the debate that such an attitude incurs from those more environmentally-minded, holds great relevance to the somewhat prophetic setting of the novel.
Pohl, Frederik, and Kornbluth, C.M. The Space Merchants. New York: Thomas Dunne Books, 2011. Print.