I'm trying to find a book I read in the 80's (I believe it was early to mid 80's) that I think I purchased from the Science Fiction Book Club. What I can remember about the story (these may or may not be major plot points):

  • There was more than one book in the series.
  • The story revolved around one man.
  • In the early part of the first book the man tries to drive back home in his car, but the car, sensing he is drunk, doesn't allow him to drive and instead the car takes him home in a manner that is slow and annoying to the drunk man. Later on, the man discovers a secret about how society works that the people in control want to keep hidden. In this instance I think the car is overridden and drives him home or maybe to the police station(?) in the manner in which it did when he was drunk.
  • Because of what he learns he becomes a rebel after being a somewhat well off person in society.

I read this a long time ago, so I'm not too sure about the accuracy of these details. Does anyone know what this is?


1 Answer 1


I think this may be "Homeworld" by Harry Harrison, the first book in the "To The Stars" trilogy.

Jan Kulozik was one of Earth's privileged elite. A brilliant young electronics engineer, he enjoyed all the blessings of a 23rd-century civilization that survived the global collapse and conquered the stars, unaware of the millions who slaved or starved to maintain his way of life.

Then Jan met Sara, a beautiful agent of the rebel underground dedicated to smashing Earth's rigid caste system. Through her he discovered the truth behind the lies he'd been taught. His every move watched by state surveillance, Jan risked his position and his life to restore humanity's heritage.

Homeworld - Book Cover

All 4 of your points fit, including the sequence where the hero tries to switch his car to manual control upon leaving the motorway, and the car won't let him found as he is over the legal minimum.

The relevant quote from the book:

His face hurt and he drank more than he should on the trip back. When the car reached the London exit of the highway he switched onto manual control with no result. The computer had been monitoring his blood alcohol level and he was over the legal minimum. It did not relinquish control. The drive was slow, dull, and infuriating since the computer had only a few routes through London and all were out of the way for him. No short cuts. And hesitancy at all crossings, with priority given to any manually operated vehicle no matter how slow. The computer only cut out at the garage door and he exacted a small amount of pleasure from speeding headlong down the ramp and slamming into his space with a fender-scratching crunch. More whiskey followed and he woke at three in the morning to find the light still on and the TV talking to itself in the corner. After that he slept late and was just finishing his first cup of coffee when the door annunciator signaled. He squinted at the screen and pressed the release. It was his brother-in-law.

  • I've read most of Harrison's work at one time or another, but I suddenly realize I never got around to this one. (Maybe it simply wasn't on the library shelves when I was a teenager?)
    – Lorendiac
    Oct 16, 2019 at 16:02

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