The Sheep Look Up is a title of a John Brunner novel from the early 1970’s. In my mind it always went along with his earlier novel Stand On Zanzibar in its dystopian view of the world. I read them when they came out and still have my original (paperback) copies. After the events of the last couple of weeks, I dug out my copy of The Sheep Look Up.
It’s pretty strident. Brunner’s anger shows through on every page. Reading it again made me think about what we all thought about pollution in those days and what we did about it.
Stand On Zanzibar had a relatively upbeat ending, though, whereas The Sheep Look Up does not. Air, sea and land are poisoned so thoroughly worldwide that human survival is in question.
The last chapter is simply a quote from the John Milton poem Lycidas:
- The hungry sheep look up, and are not fed,
But swoln with wind, and the rank mist they draw,
Rot inwardly, and foul contagion spread.