Soylent Green

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
Detective Thorn (Charlton Heston)

Soylent Green is a Science Fiction film from 1973 starring Charlton Heston, loosely based on a 1966 Harry Harrison novel called Make Room! Make Room!. Everyone knows the big plot twist.

The year is 2022. Overpopulation has brought environmental and economic collapse. In New York City (pop. 40,000,000), Detective Thorn is investigating the burglary-turned-murder of a wealthy businessman, William Simonson of the food rations manufacturer Soylent Corporation. Based on the fact that there were valuable food and books left for him to steal, and that his bodyguard Fielding and 'furniture' Shirl were conveniently away at the time, Thorn believes it to be an assassination. He gives Simonson's oceanographic survey (which he himself stole) to his roommate, Sol Roth, a book collector, and they have a memorable scene cooking up the food he also stole from the late Mr. Simonson.

In his investigation, he discovers that Fielding has more money than his job would provide, thus placing him under suspicion. Thorn is then called off the investigation and put on riot control duty, where an attempt is made on his life. He manages to get the assassin crushed under a people-scooping bulldozer.

Roth, having uncovered a terrible secret in the oceanographic survey, has lost the will to live and decides to take government-sponsored euthanasia. Thorn finds him at the suicide clinic, only in time to hear his last words. He follows Roth's corpse along to a factory that processes the dead into Soylent Green biscuits. He makes a call to his chief, Hatcher, and is ambushed by Fielding. Mortally wounded, he urges Hatcher to tell people the truth about Soylent Green, thus providing the famous quote.

For the trope previously known as the titular food, see Powered by a Forsaken Child, Human Resources.

Tropes used in Soylent Green include:

The book contains the following examples:

  • Crapsack World: In addition to the everything crapsack-y about the movie, the transportation system has completely broken down. In other words, everyone is trapped in the city; The only vehicles mentioned are old buses taken from a history museum, used by the police, running on extremely low grade fuel.
  • Twenty Minutes Into the Future: The book was written in 1966 and set in 1999.
  • Used Future: The book is somehow more used than the movie.