Folks who read this, having watched Soylent Green and wanting to get some perspective on the source material, are likely to find themselves extremely surprised. The subplot of Soylent Green that culminates in the film\'s infamous last line is completely absent. No, folks, soylent of any color really is soy and lentil. Harrison\'s book has twin foci on the effects of massive overpopulation on the world (specifically, New York City, the setting of this novel) and the adventures of a police detective named Andrew Rusch. Rusch, sent to investigate the death of a notorious gangster, finds himself drawn to the gangster\'s moll, and the two of them strike up a relationship, giving this otherwise relentlessly brutal tale an element of human drama.
Unlike many stories that have the same basic framework, the social commentary here is not in the background; the overpopulation of the planet becomes almost a character in itself in this novel. Also unlike many stories that have the same basic framework, Harrison never stops, turns to the camera, and begins an \"overpopulation is bad\" speech (nor has one of his characters do it); he allows the effects of overpopulation to speak for themselves. Sol\'s reminiscences about life before overpopulation, combined with his determination to make the best of life in this society in which he lives, do far more to communicate Harrison\'s message than any amount of political screed disguised as fiction. Would that more writers understood this; we\'d have many better sociopolicitcally conscious novels being turned out than we presently do.