Read This Perfect Day by Ira Levin Online


The plot of this book takes place in a future which is perhaps not very distant. All the nations are now controlled by a giant computer, hidden under the Alps. The human ones are programmed from the time of their birth - at least those who were authorized to be born - and are regularly treated by drugs which immunize them against diseases, but also against initiative and cThe plot of this book takes place in a future which is perhaps not very distant. All the nations are now controlled by a giant computer, hidden under the Alps. The human ones are programmed from the time of their birth - at least those who were authorized to be born - and are regularly treated by drugs which immunize them against diseases, but also against initiative and curiosity. There are, however, rebels. One of them, named Chip, will rediscover the prohibited feelings and especially love. He becomes involved in a desperate fight against this too-perfect world, inhuman, which grants, certainly, happiness for all but a happiness which becomes unbearable because it is imposed.[translated from back cover of French edition]...

Title : This Perfect Day
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780394448589
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 0 Pages
Status : Available For Download
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This Perfect Day Reviews

  • Lauren
    2019-03-31 07:32

    I am not the type of person who rereads books. In fact, I never reread books. Except this one. I pick it up every couple of years. This is A Brave New World but so much better. So much realer. Unfortunately, it is now out of print. But maybe with the author's recent passing, they will bring it back soon. But if you ever see it in a used book store, pick it up and buy it. Don't think. Just walk over to the cash register and buy it. Then go home and read it. You'll thank me.

  • Carol
    2019-04-04 01:14

    Completed way back in June, 1969, Ira Levin's novel THIS PERFECT DAY introduces a futuristic colony with a computer at the helm where everyone is programmed to be cold and lifeless, and everyone, as a member of the "family" is monitored throughout the day."Even the basic facts of nature are subject to the Unicomp's will ----- men do not grow facial hair, women do not develop breasts, and it only rains at night."Lots of action and some pretty cool twists along the way keep things from becoming too dulled or normalized as Chip aka Li RM35M4419 with his one green eye, and a few of his witty non-conforming pals, have some different views on the subject.GREAT sci-fi Classic!

  • Hazel Benson
    2019-04-11 04:19

    I'm kind of sorry to give this book two stars, because it is a very good story and in it's own way a good addition to the dystopian genre. I've read two other Ira Levin books before this one; 'A Kiss Before Dying' and 'Rosemary's Baby' and enjoyed both of those, and I will go on and read other works of his. My niggles with it are personal ones which I felt were unnecessary and unrealistic. Even dated maybe.SPOILERS!!So, for me to explain my problems with this book I have to talk about the story. On the whole I enjoyed the tale of an individual questioning the society he lives in and taking steps to escape it and find something else and ultimately better. The journey however doesn't end with escape but on the taking on of the central force which controls the world and the way it works in the first place. All this made for excellent reading! The fact that he didn't want to do it alone but with the woman he loved is also pleasing. However, did he have to rape her? And did she then have to submit to him after? Is this very realistic? She seemed to be apologising for the events which led up to his forceful lustfulness and inevitable forgiving him nothing really, but justifying his very act of savage impulses. I hated it for that. The story then continues as if it never happened and they continue as any couple in love and against society. For this I have a lower rating than what it could have deserved. Maybe, I've missed some point and the rape was necessary to demonstrate his primal nature coming through or something or this sort, but I just thought it was distasteful and sexist. It isn't detailed if anyone who hasn't read it yet but is reading this spoiler, it's just the very fact that the rape took place followed by feminine passivity, compliance and ultimately respect. YUCK!So there, for anyone that disagrees feel free. I don't care.Ok, final niggle and that is of the secret group sexual dynamics. The secret meeting were split into couples, or at least that is what they were trying to do. Three pairings of opposite sexes, for which they never did find a mate for sparrow. Snowflake even felt sorry for the fact that she use to freely partake in sexual activities with the other girl Sparrow. So this society is homophobic as well as sexist and they each feel they should only pair up with another of the opposite sex. In a way I don't think this is a problem in the story as they probably believe this is right because their closely monitored society will not see the logic of same gender relations as this doesn't work for breeding, but there is no evidence of anyone falling in love with or displaying attraction towards their own sex and it would happen. There would be gay couples on that island and there would be sexual discovery going on outside of the chemically conditioned family. I felt that the only mention of it in this book was in a negative context or one of mockery. Anyway, I'm jumping off my pedestal now.Sorry Mr Levin but I'm sticking with 2 stars!

  • Michael
    2019-04-13 05:36

    This 1971 novel presents an early imaginative vision of a computer controlled dystopian society masquerading as a utopia. It’s more in the tradition of Brave New World than 1984 in that thought control is not by propaganda but by all intrusive counselors and drugs. The Soma in this tale goes beyond rendering pleasure and a sense of contentment, but pacifies by dampening emotions and curiosity. As in Huxley’s masterpiece, promiscuity is encouraged adding to a populace of happy, shiny people who keep the economy going. The computers come in by tracking everyone’s activities recorded in their electronic bracelets and written into counselor records. Any behaviors suggestive of subversive thought or action guides UniComs computation and selections of reinforcements and punishments as a pervasive background activity to shape good citizens. And anything that reflects independent action fits the bill as a threat to the uniformity of belief in the godlike central computer, UniComp, and the race of humanity revered as “The Family”. Chip as a boy gets tagged as a threat when, under the influence of his computer engineer grandfather, he begins to wonder what career he might choose for himself rather that trust in UniComp’s wisdom. He also gets seeded with a perception of UniComp as cold machinery when this grandfather gives him a secret tour of the banks of servers comprising the AI. The experience of undermedication in one period leads Chip feel more alive and able to think better, and he learns ways of fake his way into getting lower dosages. He discovers and joins a group of similar malcontents who spend time together having fun at night, fooling around in a museum of ancient Earth, smoking tobacco, and having more enjoyable sex. Eventually they discover there are islands with people living primitively outside The Family and UniCom. I won’t say any more about the plot, except that you can guess the dream of a return to a society with more freedom will compel Chip to take revolutionary action. As Chip learns to be more human, he makes mistakes due to his stunted development, but he eventually becomes worthy of empathy instead of pity. The plot has some surprising turns as Chip gets closer to unveiling and dealing with the wizards behind this Oz. The popularity of brainwashing and mind control as the foundation of a totalitarian society has declined in literature both from the failure of the science and from the decline of communism. Despite this dated theme and the as-yet unborn powers of Clarke’s Hal, this made for a pretty compelling read. And it captured well in fairly timeless fashion the drama of an individual putting a lot on the line to address the futility and alienation of a false utopia. It doesn’t have the thrills of his “Rosemary’s Baby” or the satirical horror of “The Stepford Wives” (judging from the movies, not the books), but it’s solid enough as dystopian sci fi that I wish Levin had written more in the genre before passing on in 2007.

  • Artnoose McMoose
    2019-03-27 06:28

    This is the March book for the Pittsburgh Dystopian Science Fiction Club. Before I get to anything else, I'm going to address the problematic gender dynamics in this book. I think one of the things that has often turned me off to science fiction in the past has been the dude factor, which I find extensively in this book. Maybe I just don't like it when straight men write sex scenes. At any rate, let me tell the world this: the "incredibly hot chick falls in love with me after I rape her" storyline is tiresome. I don't care what decade you wrote this in. Stop doing it.Okay then, now on to the rest of the book. I found this book to mimic the moral/theme of many other books of this genre, namely the "USA good, Russia bad" message. In other words, the possible societal choices offered are a strictly regimented and totalitarian system and one of supposed free choice but which is actually ruled by brute force. And the choice is always clear: it's better to live in a brutal society with greater choice than one in which you're life is controlled by a system. It just seems to be book after book with the same message, never with the idea that there could be a choice other than these two.

  • Manny
    2019-04-27 04:30

    Christ, Marx, Wood and WeiLed us to this perfect dayMarx, Wood, Wei and ChristAll but Marx were sacrificedWood, Wei, Christ and MarxGave us lovely schools and parksWei, Christ, Marx and WoodMade us humble, made us good.- dystopian future world child's bouncing song

  • Jenny
    2019-04-11 06:22

    I'm not writing this review for anyone other than my nerd friends that check my Goodreads page, so don't be surprised by my lack of literary genius...I'll only spoil the one thing that should be spoiled- and it's the same one thing that everyone references. The main character (Chip) ends up raping the woman he's in love with (Lilac) to prove to her that she's being brainwashed by the government and to get her to trust him. Reading a lackluster book for three days only to discover that you hate the character whose perspective you're watching the story from, quite frankly, sucks. I can't believe that the sole person who has decided to "make the world a better place" is also a character that never learns about true love, being a father, and the safety of his friends and family. There was no hero in this tale.The story takes place over the course of 30 years, and I stopped liking the character when he was 9.

  • Roviragrao
    2019-04-17 00:21

    Una distopía clásica con toques de sus antecesoras 1984 o Un mundo feliz. La he leído en dos sentadas porque me ha resultado muy amena pero hay algunas cosas que para mi gusto restan, la principal la motivación del protagonista. Pese a esas cosas, lo bueno gana y se lleva 4 estrellas.

  • Thomas Strömquist
    2019-04-16 03:13

    I think it is impossible to review this book and not mention 1984, Brave New World, We and Kallocain. Levin's book fares well in this company as I think this is one of his best. One mighty familyA single perfect breedFree of all selfishnessAggressiveness and greedEach member givingAll he has to giveAnd getting backAll he needs to liveChrist, Marx, Wei and WoodMade us humble, made us goodChrist, Marx, Wood and WeiLead us to this perfect day

  • Jenny (Reading Envy)
    2019-04-17 00:31

    "You are only partly alive. We can help you more than you can imagine."I had never heard of this book before it was selected for an SFF Audio Readalong discussion, and I think I liked it more after we talked about it for an hour or so. There is a lot to think about here. The novel is in four sections and quite a bit of it has hints of other dystopias - the community with scheduled sex and neighbor-reporting is similar to We, the drugging of society feels like Brave New World, and I was completely expecting it to go in the direction of the ending of 1984.This book won the Prometheus Award from the Libertarian Futurist Society for examining concepts of freedom. Hmm, I have read 18 books from their list. What does that mean?But that may be the most interesting part of the novel, or at least what I was thinking about while reading it. Many people rate the book low because of the rape scene, and while it feels gratuitous in the moment, I actually think it is our first huge clue that Chip is a questionable hero. What is he going to do if he overthrows Uni? Would he be someone to follow? And what is worse, knowing the truth or living a passive, expected life?And one little quote, one I felt very deeply considering recent events:"We’ve got to fight, not adjust. Fight, fight, fight."

  • Allison Doyle
    2019-04-10 07:37

    *sigh* I love this book. I recommend this book to people when they ask me for a sci-fi suggestion & I'm assuming they've read the ABC's (that's Asimov, Bradbury, and Clarke) and perhaps haven't been introduced to Levin. This is oft-compared to "1984" and "Brave New World" -- and I could rave about "Brave New World," especially since this was originally published in the 1970s so it wasn't breaking into the same future-predicting, but for some reason, this story & Chip (the main character) spoke to me more. I was originally introduced to this book in seventh grade by my social studies teacher at the time. I was goofing off in class because I was usually ahead in the material & bored, so he held me after class one day and gave me his copy of this book & told me to read it as an extra credit assignment & write something up about what I thought about it, and any themes I saw in it. I think I read it twice before I gave it back to him, and wrote up a much longer paper than he expected :)I re-read this the other day because someone recently asked me what it was about, and I could only give a vague outline, though of course I raved about it generally. And so I thought, "Well hey I should probably read this again to make sure it still stands as something I'd want to recommend to people." And, yes, it still does.

  • Ivan
    2019-03-31 02:09

    I’ll admit right up front that I’m not a fan of dystopian fiction. However, I am a fan of Ira Levin (both his novels and his plays). “This Perfect Day” was published in 1970 – after his play “Dr Cook’s Garden” (1967) and before his novels “The Stepford Wives” (1972) and “The Boys from Brazil” (1978). I site these three works because they too deal with issues of creating the “perfect” society through euthanasia, genetic engineering or cloning. Set far in the future the entire world is under the control of Uni – a computer programed with a mix of philosophical dogma based on Christianity and Marxism among others. Everyone is drugged with a lithium cocktail to ensure domestic harmony. No one ever gets too angry, horny or overjoyed, and everyone is equal. Docility is the objective. A society where no one lives past the age of sixty-two (the optimum age to die); everyone eats and drinks the same things, look basically the same (everyone’s complexion is the same and all are approximately the same height and weight) and has passionless sex once a week (hetero only). All needs are provided – shelter, food, and healthcare. All members of the family are classified to determine their vocation, and a pre-determined few are allowed to have children.Anyone with a reasonable degree of intelligence will be able to guess where this story is headed. Yes, rebellion. Our hero “Chip” would rather think for himself, express himself…feel more. I’m not going to reveal more. Of the four works mentioned above, “This Perfect Day” is my least favourite. It lacks the tight construction of the aforementioned works. The author falls into the narrative trap of needless reiteration; belabouring his points to the brink of tedium. I say brink because just when you’re ready to hurl the book across the room, its forward momentum kicks in again. Now, that sounds harsh…though I didn’t love the book, I did find the story interesting and thought provoking. So, is it worth reading? Certainly; especially to those who don’t mind protracted narratives, the redundant expression of ideas or who simply fancy dystopian stories.

  • Heather Crews
    2019-04-13 02:16

    This is one of my absolute favorite books of all time. Do yourself and favor and read it if you haven't before. I pick it up and reread it every couple of years, and I think I always notice something new in the story....but that may just be because my view on life changes over the years, and thus I come at it from a different approach. It is very much in the vein of other books that deal with the concept of a futuristic dystopian world, i.e, Brave New World, 1984, and Logan's Run. It was out OOP for several years, and after reading (and losing) my mother's copy when I was a teenager....I scoured used books stores for YEARS before I finally stumbled on a paperback version. A few years later, I also came across an original first run hardcover edition from 1970. It is one of my favorite possessions. :D

  • Swati Daftuar
    2019-03-31 00:14

    The only other book to have scared me this much is 1984. I want to both stop reading immediately and continue reading to the end, even if it takes me all night.

  • Patrick Gibson
    2019-04-06 23:36

    This is a cult classic (1970’s) apparently out of print for a long time. I first read about this novel in a recent magazine praising the fact it was now available in the e format. I looked a little further and found this novel universally praised to the highest degree. So high, in fact, I grabbed my Kindle and hit ‘buy now.’ While overshadowed by more popular dystopia novels like 1984 and Brave New World, I think this book is the most powerful of its genre. As the novel begins, the entire human race has been unified. To continue this peaceful state of affairs (the word ‘fight’ at this time is a filthy obscenity, while the other `f' word is perfectly acceptable—ah hem, as it SHOULD be), all people (members as they are called) wear bracelets which are held to scanners to gain access to all places and most activities. These scanners are read by Uni-comp, the huge computer that constantly monitors all activities of all members. Once a month, each member is given a treatment, an injection that prevents diseases and also tranquilizes the member to a state of semi-mindless conformity. That the hero, Chip (actually his nickname - at this time there are only eight names, four for males, four for females) frees himself from his bracelet and mind numbing treatments and plans to destroy Uni is perhaps predictable. What he finds when he gets there is certainly not; that is when the real fun begins. A great book! Levin does a marvelous job describing the antiseptic world that Uni runs, the filthy but free island Chip escapes to, and the final setting that is too cool to even mention. There is a huge twist near the end which I did not see coming. I love being caught off guard.

  • regina
    2019-03-27 01:16

    I'm surprised at the low rating many have given this classic. What makes This Perfect Day a must read is not just a well-crafted, twisting plot and setting, but the depth of the main character. The author reveals him to us gradually -- as the character becomes less drugged/more cogent, we know and care about him even more. The style of writing, although in the past tense and 3rd person, achieves an immediacy that transports the reader to the setting and action as it happens. For instance, as Chip, the protagonist gets lost in the beauty of woman; another character (her boyfriend) interrupts Chip's "thoughts" and our vision. It's a humorous and subtle style that you don't find often. And it is very effective in the pacing and telling of the story.In short, there are many sci-fi/fantasy books that tell a good story. This Perfect Day, however, is a masterpiece of the genre. Take it to the beach or read it on a rainy weekend. You won't be disappointed.

  • C
    2019-04-12 23:10

    A ripoff of Brave New World, only with more racism, heteronormativity, and rape. Seriously, all the drugged dull masses are tan-skinned, slant- eyed communists, and the ~truly alive aware hero of this story and his first love interest are unusual for having white features (pale skin and 1 green eye). The protagonist kidnaps a woman he's obsessed with, rapes her, and afterwards she tells him "don't feel bad about it, it was natural, you woke me up," and she becomes his pregnant nagging housewife and spends her afternoons sewing baby clothes. Like I said, there's not even any new ideas in here that weren't covered by Brave New World 40 years earlier, don't waste your time with this one.

  • Rebecca McNutt
    2019-03-30 04:09

    DISTURBING!The whole plot and the themes of this book are frightening; basically it's about people going through the motions of living without really living, people being stupefied and controlled by the very system they created.Ira Levin, the author who brought us the horror of Rosemary's Baby and The Stepford Wives, has yet another frightening and at the same time eye-opening book out there, one that everyone should get to read at least once.

  • Clark Hallman
    2019-04-05 00:25

    I first read This Perfect Day in 1970 after it was recommended to me by my good friends Janice and Betty. It is an anti-conformist story about a future where society and all individuals in it are controlled by Uni, a vast computer. Uni controlls everything including the weather, what jobs and careers people are allowed to pursue, when people are allowed to have sex, whether they are able to have children, where and when they can take vacations, what they can eat, what they can buy, and when they will die. All citizens in this unified world must report for regular chemical injection treatments that kept them contented and programmed. The story of Chip’s struggle for freedom begins when he is a child and continues for several decades. Chip and other rebels struggle to try to end Uni’s tyranny. This was my fourth reading of this novel and I still enjoyed it very much. “Christ, Marx, Wood, and Wei Led us to this perfect day. Marx, Wood,Wei, and Christ All but Wei were sacrificed. Wood, Wei, Christ, and Marx Gave us lovely shoals and parks. Wei, Christ, Marx, and Wood Made us humble, made us good.”I really must end my obsession with this book!

  • Nova
    2019-04-14 23:24

    Although this book has been compared to Brave New World et cetera...It is first and foremost a thoughtful and engaging thriller laced with humour. While I was reading this at the tender age of fourteen, I couldn't help but visualize the scenes so clearly...Ira Levin taught me the importance of dialogue and having fleshed out characters. I must have read this book over fifty times since it came out because I love imagining I was there...What would I do? Would I have the strength of Chip? In these days of Prozac and computers collecting data on us, Levin's novel hits home even more than when it was first published in 1970. I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys pondering ethics, love and individuality or just loves reading a can't-put-down novel which almost reads like a screenplay! My only question is: Why hasn't someone made this into a movie? The 'screenplay' is already written! Come on, James Cameron! This would be better than Avatar any day! Just hire me as a consultant...I wouldn't steer you wrong.

  • Ralph McEwen
    2019-04-12 02:09

    What makes This Perfect Day a must read is the depth of the main character. The author reveals him to us gradually -- as the character becomes less drugged/more cogent, we know and care about him even more. The scanners and bracelets remind me of the RFID cards and readers we have today, slightly disturbing. The world development was interesting enough to explore and give thought to. One of the better dystopian novels I've read

  • Skip
    2019-04-04 00:13

    This novel by Ira Levin is about a utopian society where treatments help maintain a stable society, but at what cost? Protagonist Li (or Chip as he prefers to be known) is uncertain about the sameness, and eventually joins a counterculture trying to change things. Good characters, good plot twists, and a very good read. Highly recommended.

  • Lisa (Harmonybites)
    2019-03-31 06:36

    I tell people I don't like dystopias, then I go and read them again and again. What can I say? There are a lot of good ones--including this one, even if it's not a great one. Atwood of A Handmaid's Tale is the strongest living prose stylist I've read. Ayn Rand's Anthem (don't sneer) is almost a prose poem--even two liberal friends of mine admit to liking it. Huxley's Brave New World and Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451 both have many striking, quotable lines. And Orwell's 1984 has so many phrases that have entered the language like "newspeak" and "Big Brother." Each have aspects to their societies that are distinct and memorable; Anthem, Fahrenheit 451 and 1984 are of the strain that tries to control the mind, particularly through language. Levin's future world hews closer to Brave New World with its control of the body through genetics and drugs. It doesn't feel as distinct a world as the other, and though with a clean style doesn't seem to be as strongly written as the above. Also one thing--and I'm no Christian, but it bugged me that one of the four ideologies that rules this society is supposed to be that of Jesus Christ (that of Karl Marx another) but, other than a nod at the value of "helping" your fellow man and knocks against selfishness, this doesn't strike me as remotely Christian in feel or design. That's one reason why it doesn't get a five. It dipped below a four mostly for what happens from page 192 to 194--and then what doesn't happen. Our hero rapes his love and she tells him not a day later not to feel awful, that "It was perfectly natural." If I thought this was meant as commentary on how that controlled society pushed him, and if it had negative consequences for him, her and their relationship, I'd be fine with it--but you get the feeling that it's what it's said to be--something "perfectly natural." In which case, either Levin really needs to get a clue, or it's sloppy writing. But I don't see the need for the scene if there aren't consequences, and it bugged me.But the novel is short, well-paced, kept me turning pages and had several surprises--it went in directions I wasn't expecting it to go. So good book, even if not great book.

  • Papaphilly
    2019-04-22 06:34

    An excellent read. A deceptively simple writing style belies a very complex book with deep social commentary. The question is simple. What happens when a computer runs the world and keeps the citizenry asleep and suddenly you wake up? Social commentary on over medication, individuality, collectivism, as well as hard choices make for a very entertaining read. Oddly enough, I think This Perfect Day is more relevant today than it was even 45 years ago.

  • Mal Warwick
    2019-04-25 00:18

    Centuries in the future, the people of Earth live under the control of an artificial intelligence called UniComp. A century and a half earlier, the computers governing the five continents had come together in the Unification. The result was a worldwide society free of war, hunger, crime, and violence of any sort. "Hate" and "fight" are swear words. This is the world Ira Levin describes in his superb science fiction novel, This Perfect Day.The world run by Unicomp is dedicated to efficiency above all else. The population of the planet is kept steady at eight billion through rigorous control of the birth rate and through emigration to colonies the Family has established on Mars, Venus, and the moons of Saturn and Jupiter, as well as on several extrasolar planets. It's inefficient to grow and prepare a variety of foods, so everyone's nutritional needs are met through an unchanging diet of totalcakes. To suppress undesirable behavior, everyone submits monthly to chemotherapy treatments; otherwise, they will get "sick" and demonstrate aberrant behavior.Genetic engineers are laboring to ensure that each new generation contains as few distinguishing physical characteristics as possible. "Hair the same, eyes the same, skin the same, shape the same; boys, girls, all the same. Like peas in a pod." Conditioning through treatments suppresses the growth of facial hair on men and breasts on women as well as women's ability "to have too many babies." Individuals who possess unique characteristics, such as white skin or one green eye, are prone to feel guilty about their misfortune. They all live to the age of 62. Then they die. Everyone has an advisor who will guide them to early treatment, if necessary. The people sing, "One mighty Family, A single perfect breed, Free of all selfishness, Aggressiveness and greed; Each member giving all he has to give And getting all he needs to live!"Individuals are called members of the Family. There are just four male and four female given names. Everyone wears identical coveralls. Each individual has a nameber, a long alphanumeric code that UniComp can use to track their movements as they touch the bracelets they all wear to scanners wherever they go. Cities are identified by three-digit abbreviations—Usa, Rus, Ind, Chi, and so forth—followed by a five-digit numerical zip code. The Family's belief system recognizes four prophets: Christ, Marx, Wood, and Wei. Their names are often invoked to express concern or amazement. Wednesday is now Woodsday. March has become the month of Marx.This Perfect Day opens in 145 Y.U. and draws to a close in 172. The protagonist, who calls himself Chip, is LiRM35MM4419. He is Li to those who don't know him well. At age 10, Chip is granted permission to travel with his parents, his sister, and his grandfather to EUR00001 (somewhere in the Jura Mountains on what was once called the Swiss-French border). The trip is Chip's opportunity to visit UniComp, a pilgrimage that every member of the Family is expected to take at least once in a lifetime. There he learns that his grandfather, Papa Jan, had been involved in the construction of UniComp: he had come up with the idea of constructing a secret tunnel through which UniComp's memory banks could be driven deep under the surface of the Earth. Papa Jan even manages to bypass the scanners and take Chip deep underground to see the ranks of UniComp's memory banks.As a child, Chip hears rumors about the incurables who live in isolated communities somewhere on Earth. He is assured that such people no longer exist. But a seed of doubt and curiosity has been planted. Later, once Chip has completed technical training, he is assigned as a genetic taxonomist, fourth class, to a succession of jobs at locations scattered about the planet. At one posting, he rooms with a secretive individual named Karl who demonstrates artistic talent and goes to great lengths to obtain notebooks he can draw in. Chip's first act of rebellion is to secure notebooks Karl is unable to obtain because he can't receive permission from UniComp. When Chip asks his current girlfriend "which [job classification] you would pick if you had to pick one," she is first confused, then incredulous. "That's silly," she tells him. "And sick. We get classified; there's nothing to think about."As the years go by, Chip continues to wonder why he can't make choices for himself, and his curiosity about the incurables grows. "Everything came to seem questionable to him: totalcakes, coveralls, the sameness of members' rooms and thoughts, and especially the work he was doing, whose end, he saw, would only be to solidify the universal sameness." When he is recruited into a small group of nonconformists—they express their rejection of society's norms by smoking tobacco and by pairing off with partners they themselves choose—Chip finds an ally and sets off to research the truth about the incurables. The others in the group show Chip how to first reduce, then eliminate the monthly treatments. At length, he finds proof that there are islands all over the world (Madagascar, Cuba, the Andamans, Majorca, and many others) that have been suppressed from the maps. He is convinced that the incurables live there. Eventually, he comes fully alive and makes his way to Majorca.On the island, Chip discovers that he has left a comfortable existence for poverty and endless drudgery on what is essentially a prison colony—intentionally allowed by UniComp. He is resolved to put an end to the computer's oppression. After months of searching, Chip finds five other members who will join him on a dangerous excursion to the mainland of Eur and make their way to the mountains, where they can plant explosives to destroy UniComp.At long last Chip locates the secret tunnel Papa Jan had told him about 27 years earlier and enters the domain of UniComp with two companions. They are shocked to discover that the facility houses a small community of programmers who live in luxury and are catered to by slavish young servants 24 hours a day. Most of the programmers are migrants from the Family, just like him. (Contrary to what everyone outside believes, UniComp makes no decisions on its own.) Disgusted by this revolting display of privilege, Chip bides his time until an opportunity presents himself to detonate bombs delivered by a new crew of would-be saboteurs. At last, his mission succeeds. He is free to return to his home in Africa, where he left behind a wife and child.About the authorIra Levin, an American screenwriter and novelist, was the author of A Kiss Before Dying, Rosemary's Baby, The Stepford Wives, The Boys from Brazil, and other bestselling books that were adapted into successful Hollywood films. Levin was a versatile writer, creating bestselling mysteries, horror, and science fiction.

  • Caroline
    2019-04-20 03:31

    This book illustrates an inevitable future, a Hitler-like vision where the population's behaviour is manipulated and controlled by drugs, conditioning and religious acceptance. Li (Chip) doesn't quite fit in, with his one green eye and a grandparent who shows him the inner workings of the computer that determines their lives, he craves a life of choice.The novel progresses through his stages of life, allows us to experience the near freedom when he is indoctrinated into a clandestine group who share cigarettes, have unbridled sex and conceive of no more. Chip wants more, and it earns him an increase in his drug regime and a continuation of his dulled existence.Years later, memories resurface. He's now in his early 30's, unhappy and not quite sure why. He fools the computer and cuts off his 'treatments', and soon he is reawakened.The story ends well, as well as can be expected for this futuristic world. Chip leads a party to destroy Uni (the supercomputer) and finds that it's programmed by people just like he. He seems to accept, but the reader can sense his yearning to destroy it, and Wei, the Hitler-like mastermind, mistakenly trusts him.The showdown is a little confusing, though maybe that was me reading it while walking from the train station to work. It seemed hard to picture well, though it was a tense action sequence. Arguably, it could have been polished some more before print, and slowed down. It felt rushed, confusing.Chip walked away, returned to his wife and young son. It was a good ending, a satisfying ending because the protagonist achieved his goal and in our expectation what he did was right. But was it? Yes, of course it was... however by destroying the supercomputer that controlled these people's lives, he has thrust them into unequivocable chaos. Many would not survive, and as the confusion lulls into a battle for dominance, the weaker is destined for a life of cruel abandonment.The book is well written and entertaining. However the author relies heavily on 'look', 'looking' and 'looked' to place characters in a busy scene. Given the maturity of the work, this seems a disappointing let-down. He was capable of better than this.The most memorable part of the book is when Chip forces himself on his mate. It is an act that comes uncomfortably close to rape, and one that I cannot forgive, and yet I can understand it. Chip knows no moral code other than that which Uni has metered out to him. He has not learned through social mores, because there are none for hte person he becomes when left 'untreated'. Him taking the woman without her consent is objectionable. It shocked me, and I struggled to accept it. This act, though understandable, made me distance myself from Chip for the remainder of the novel, and in the final scene I realised that if he died, I would not be overly distressed. I lay the blame on that one pivotal scene where his character showed too great of a flaw for me to be entirely sympathetic.It's interesting, and I wonder whether Ira did it deliberately to evidence Chip's dilemma... because Chip did show remorse, and a failure to understand what he had done.The other memorable scene was Chip throwing up after drinking alcohol. He spouted off some loud mouthed theories on how to destroy Uni, to free the family, was sat down, stared dazedly at his hosts and then promptly threw up on their carpet. That it was carpet shocked him the most. I liked that scene, it showed Chip's innocence, his uncouthness and his courage.All in all, a good read. Put-downable, but enjoyable.

  • Mike
    2019-03-30 05:36

    Dystopian novels are all the rage these days, so I figured I’d give this one another look… This Perfect Day is Levin’s third novel, following the exquisitely structured and perfectly paced A Kiss Before Dying and the similarly fantastic Rosemary’s Baby. TPD is a longer narrative than either of the first two, and a much more complicated story. While it’s certainly not bad, it doesn’t measure up to the first two, or to Levin’s next, The Stepford Wives. Levin’s sparse, direct prose is always a joy to read, but he’s unable to build suspense as intricately as he does in his other novels.In Levin’s far-future dystopia, human beings around the globe are united as “The Family,” their lives managed for maximum efficiency by supercomputer Uni, in the ultimate nanny state. “Family” members are rendered compliant and complacent though regular pharmaceutical “treatments” .The first half of the novel is a pretty standard individual-versus-the-collective tale, with shades of Brave New World, 1984, Anthem, We, and Logan’s Run. Later, many of Levin’s themes and unique ingredients would be reflected in The Giver and other dystopian stuff.As the plot moves steadily and somewhat predictably toward what would be a trite but acceptable conclusion (if we were reading, say, Anthem or Logan’s Run), the sheer number of pages left signal that Levin has something larger in mind. And indeed, he does have some tricks up his sleeve. Our protagonist and his initially reluctant lover escape Uni’s dominion only to discover that the grass isn’t greener on the other side of the fence dividing collectivism from individual liberty. And things get more interesting from there. So, read it if you’re an Ira Levin fan. (If you’re not yet an Ira Levin fan, start with A Kiss Before Dying, Rosemary’s Baby and/or The Stepford Wives, and you will become an Ira Levin fan, unless you are dead and/or functionally illiterate.)Read it if you’re a fan of dystopian stories. You won’t find anything startlingly original here but Levin does a decent job with the standard tropes of the genre, and throws in a few surprises. (e.g., when folks come out from under the stupefaction of their pharmaceutical “treatments”, they get really, really interested in sex- but Levin’s not throwing that in just for titillation.) It’s not a standout, but certainly an important entry in the dystopian canon.You might want to skip it if you’re overly sensitive to the plausibility of science fiction elements. Or, just cut Levin some slack: it was 1970, Levin was not a practiced Sci-Fi scribe, so some of his contrivances are a bit cheesy. Take it as a fable, a cautionary tale about human impulses to improve their societies without considering unintended consequences.This was recently reissues- with Levin’s other novels- in a handsome new trade paperback edition. I remember well the tattered paperback I first read as a preteen, and digging the naked butts on the cover, and the rather explicit (for a 12 year old reading a book published in 1970, at any rate) sex scenes…

  • Caitlin
    2019-04-14 23:28

    Review copy provided by Open Road. Originally reviewed at incaseofsurvival.comThe trouble with classics and parents of a genre is that they often use tropes that are very common to the modern reader, or tropes that are outright nauseating due to values dissonance. Even if these things were acceptable and new when the book was written, a modern audience may struggle.I struggled with this book. It’s not that I’m a girl with no love for the classics and no ability to look beyond the demands or the era in which a book was written- I’m probably one of the few people who reads classic literature for fun.I just… really stuggled with this one.It’s not that it’s bad, it’s just I’ve seen this concept a dozen times before. Admittedly, by books written later, but a lot of these later books deal with concept with more complexity.And I was seriously bothered by the undercurrent of misogyny in this book. In the 70′s sci fi was very much a boys club, no girls allowed, and this book reeks of it. I am very unappreciative of the rape means love, trope, people, and that’s the point I gave up. There may have been good, in-story and in-character reasons, with all our characters being emotional fuck ups due to the way the world has worked – after they’ve been freed from the drugs, everyone little more than children, having never had the painful experiences of adulthood – but it’s one of the things I just can’t stomach. You may do better.The writing is fairly simplistic, which actually works very well for the world and story. The characters are believable if not especially complex.I’m sure it’s brilliant. These things usually are. But in this case, I just couldn’t do it.Despite my inability to finish it, I’d suggest you at least give it a try, like you should try reading all the original books from a genre. You may not be able to appreciate them, but you can at least see where these books get their tropes.

  • Gerri Leen
    2019-04-20 01:29

    I was super excited to find a story by Ira Levin that I hadn't already read, but I wasn't sure how it would hold up given that my reading tastes have changed over the years. To my delight, it held up great and I was 60% into it when the main character does something I consider unforgivable. I thought perhaps if there were consequences for the action, I could move past it, but I read about a chapter more and there did not seem to be any and so I had to stop. For those who want to know what happened, it's behind the spoiler cut. (view spoiler)[The main character, Chip, rapes a woman that he has essentially kidnapped and who is not herself given the treatments these people are given, and more importantly was never his lover to begin with – – in fact we don't really know that she had feelings for him, we just know he had feelings for her. It was bad enough that he did it but then to have her immediately get over it, forgive him, even in fact tell him it was okay, was just beyond the pale for me: the days of General Hospital bullshit where Luke rapes Laura and then they get married and fall in love forever are over. Rape is not romantic and what he did was wrong and there were no extenuating circumstances to excuse his behavior. And I find that act makes it impossible for me to care what happens to this guy. And yes I know this was originally written in 1970, so I should cut it some slack, but I'm not going to.(hide spoiler)] Moving on, which saddens me because the world building here was quite deceptively simple and I think complete. I was really interested in how the story was going to progress until it went totally south for me. Others may not find this the hot button that I did.

  • Vrixton Phillips
    2019-04-16 01:13

    I hate to do this book the injustice of talking about it in terms of two classics [not that it is inferior! not at all!] but:This Perfect Day contains, in my opinion, all the excitement that 1984 lacked and made Brave New World so good while adding a Flash!Bang! ending that neither of them had. It is, so to speak, the best of both worlds: both philosophical in its contemplation of the human spirit and of dystopian systems, and just as fast-paced and energetic as has come to be expected of Science Fiction. Of all the books that I've read, this is one of the few that I'd consider reading over again.-----SPOILER ALERT!----- I really wish they'd teach this in schools; it's fast enough to keep your attention, which is important in schools. The problem is that there's a stigma around books containing rape and such a frank discussion of sex and frequent use of the F-bomb. Part of me wishes that weren't there, but it does play its own role in the universe Levin has created.End of Spoilers All in all, I think everyone that enjoyed 1984 and Brave New World and other such dystopian novels would really appreciate this book.