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Literature / Bug Jack Barron

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The original British hardcover edition, designed by Hipgnosis.

"The saddest day of your life isn't when you decide to sell out. The saddest day of your life is when you decide to sell out and nobody wants to buy."

Bug Jack Barron is a 1969 novel by Norman Spinrad (more famous for The Iron Dream), previously serialized in New Worlds under Michael Moorcock's editorship, centering around a cynical talk show host named Jack Barron who uncovers a conspiracy surrounding an immortality treatment and the methods used to produce it.

Bug Jack Barron includes examples of:

  • Aesoptinium: The treatment is produced by irradiating children to death.
  • High Times Future: Jack's talk show is sponsored primarily by Acapulco Golds, "America's Premium Marijuana Cigarettes" (the book was written when cigarette ads were still legal on U.S. television). Tobacco is illegal.
  • Longevity Treatment: An investigative reporter and consumer advocate begins investigating an organization that provides rejuvenation treatments to the rich and powerful, and finds far more than he bargained for.
  • Merchant Prince: Jack's investigations lead him to tangle with one of the richest and most powerful men in America, Benedict Howards, whose influence can not only threaten Jack's media career, but his life.
  • New Wave Science Fiction: The controversial and edgy topics of the book were pure New Wave (which is why it ended up being published in New Worlds, which was spearheading the movement).