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Paperback The Santaroga Barrier Book

ISBN: 0425016153

ISBN13: 9780425016152

The Santaroga Barrier

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Book Overview

Santaroga seemed to be nothing more than a prosperous farm community. But there was something...different...about Santaroga. Santaroga had no juvenile delinquency, or any crime at all. Outsiders found... This description may be from another edition of this product.

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

It's Not What You Think!

Do yourself a huge favor, and read this book without reading any of the spoilers first. This novel is one of the greatest sci-fi mystery stories of all time, and not one of the dozen people to whom I have lent my dog-eared copy has ever guessed the ending or been disappointed with the unimaginable climax. I am quite overjoyed to see that it is back in print. For those who only know Herbert from his Dune books, this, and the soon to be reprinted White Plague, show that the master was no one-trick pony. This book may indeed involve ideas that touch upon corporatism and cult dynamics, but it is not a story told merely as an excuse for exploring such ideas. Rather, it is simply an incredibly good story, with all the intricate and multilevel subtleties and wordplay that you would expect from the author of Dune, yet set in a little California wine-town. Herbert was able to integrate, extrapolate and speculate in ways to which no other science fiction writer can compare, and his non-Dune books have been far too long neglected. This is one of the best. Sit down with a nice glass of beer and a plate of cheese and dig in. And don't read the spoilers!

Perhaps Herbert's best

After reading Dune, I discovered Santaroga Barrier. Dune and Stranger in a Strange Land were my favorite reads in the 60's. That being the case, I grabbed this book and finished it in one night. It was a far easier read than Dune and perhaps had deeper meaning. It's been over 40 years since reading this novel but it's not been forgotten. As the Dune series holds everyone's attention, this book has been lost in the shuffle, I thought it out of print. Finding it available, I will re-purchase it and share with my family. It is a novel that can be read and enjoyed by those that do not consider science fiction or fantasy their forte. And, has I hope to find out, can be reread to deliver as much pleasure the second time around. If you are looking for an intelligent novel, one to hold your interest from the very first page, yet one that is extremely easy to read, this story should be at the top of your list.

Excellent and unappreciated gem outside the Dune series

_The Santaroga Barrier_ by Frank Herbert features an odd choice for a hero; Dr. Gilbert Dasein, a psychologist from the University of California at Berkeley, employed to do of all things a market study. Meyer Davidson, agent of a powerful investment corporation, one that owns a chain of retail stores, was upset about what was termed in the marketing world as the "Santaroga Barrier," Santaroga being a small farming community and town located in an idyllic mountain valley in California. Davidson was upset that his corporation - as well as others before him - had failed utterly in selling a variety of products to the people of Santaroga. No on in Santaroga bought cigarettes- those very few that were sold were bought by transients, people stopping in the community's one service station to buy gas - nor did they buy any wine, beer, produce, or cheese brought from outside the valley. The people of Santaroga would only eat vegetables, fruits, cheese, beer, and wine raised or made within the valley. A great many Santarogans worked to produce these items only for local consumption, as they "didn't travel well." The largest of these institutions was the Jaspers Cheese Cooperative, a large factory-like complex that employed many in the little town. Dasein, with the help of the head of the university's psychology department, Dr. Chami Selador (working outside Santaroga), uncovered a few more interesting facts, notably that outsiders never found a house to rent or buy in the valley, no one moved out, and Santaroga never reported any mental illness, juvenile delinquency, or crime to state officials. All businesses, including the bank and the gas station, were locally owned. A few Santarogans left to go to college outside the valley - that was where Dasein met his girlfriend, Jenny Sorge, a native of Santaroga - and a few others served in the draft in Vietnam (the book was published and presumably set in 1968; various minor details such automobile technology, clothing styles, and the like point to this time period but are not essential to the story), though many come back due to unexplained allergic reactions to Army food. Mindful of the lack of success of previous attempts to understand this mysterious "Barrier" and particularly of the fact that the last two people to investigate Santaroga met accidental deaths, Dasein journeyed to the town. Dasein finds at first a seemingly normal town of diners, farms, nice homes, a post office, and the like, a typical agricultural community. Several things though begin to get his attention; he isn't there long before he notices that the townspeople have a certain way about them, that they all seem very alert, to have excellent memories, a bit abrupt, sometimes rude, but at other times extremely caring and solicitous. Also, they are unfailingly and unswervingly honest, again almost to the point of rudeness. In addition, it seems everyone he meets knows who he is and his relationship to Jenny Sorge, as well as often kno

More enjoyable than "Dune" - on a par with "Whipping Star" for sheer fun

Let's face it, "Dune" is fascinating, but there's not a whole lot of fun to be found in its pages. And the follow-ups to "Dune" weren't anywhere near as good as the first book. But "The Santaroga Barrier" - yes, it's pretty cheesy, as at least one reviewer has noted - but it's a terrific, fun read. Much closer to something Stephen King might have written than the pompous interplanetary muck of "Dune" et al. The small town, the paranoia, the engagingly thick-headed, stubborn, but fundamentally decent hero; the blindsight on the part of the townspeople about themselves; the savage accuracy of Herbert's description of "normal" consumer culture; it's all a great mix. The only Herbert book I've read that approaches it as a quick, clever read is "Whipping Star." (I didn't like "The Dosadi Experiment" nearly as well, though it was OK.) For years my only copy of this book has been a paperback with the glue completely gone and all the pages separated. I'm so glad I looked to find out if it had been reissued. This book is a treasure, and one of those few - like "Emma" by Jane Austen, "Daniel Martin" by John Fowles, or "The Honorary Consul" by Graham Greene - that I'll delight in rereading periodically for the rest of my life.

One of Herbert's best novels outside the Dune Series

I loved "Dune" of course, but Herbert's other novels are often less know, but really are interesting, too. In particular, I admire "The Santaroga Barrier" because it is set, not in the future, but in a town that could be anywhere today."The Santaroga Barrier" is set in a valley town in California. It looks completely normal--life is typically small-town, with small businesses and farms run by the locals. But for some reason, big merchandisers outside the valley cannot sell there. In an age where marketing demographics can tell precisely what brand of car, cigarette, cola or watch you are likely to buy by where you live and your age cohort, this is astounding.What's also astounding is how Herbert forsees the age of online data-gathering (think, cookies on your browser) and huge mega-merchandisers like W*-mart who control huge blocks of buying power and who drain small towns of dollars that used to circulate and support local businesses. But that's not the only threatening situation in Santaroga. What is with the "Jaspers" Cheese Co-op (is it a cult?) and why did the previous marketing investigators sent by big business meet with unfortunate accidents? The story that unfolds is fascinating--are the Santarogans just minding their own business, or are they evil in some way, and whose side will you end up on at the end of the book? I really recommend this novel even if you don't like science fiction. It's one of my favorites.

The Santaroga Barrier Mentions in Our Blog

The Santaroga Barrier in Herbert & Heinlein
Herbert & Heinlein
Published by William Shelton • March 12, 2021

The genre of science fiction writing has two great pillars representing the wonder and promise of future worlds, and the intricate technology as yet unimagined, except by their questing minds. Frank Herbert and Robert Heinlein were contemporaries who saw sci-fi through these different lenses.

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