If you have seen Soylent Green, you’ll most certainly know “it’s people!” The film is based off of Harry Harrison’s 1966 science fiction novel Make Room. In the novel, soylent is made from soya and lentils. Yet you will see tons of reference made to the title along with cannibal jokes. I’m pretty sure most people making the joke have never seen the film. Nor do they even know that it is based on Make Room, let along that the original novel didn’t feature cannibalism at all. And now this… The first time someone linked me to Soylent’s website, I seriously thought it was some promotion / ARG / viral marketing thing for a Soylent Green movie remake, modernizing the story with meal replacement shakes instead of crackers. I honestly hoped that it was some promotion / ARG / viral marketing thing for a Soylent Green movie remake! I think at the time you couldn’t just buy it out a store on the website, you had to sign up for a mailing list, so that helped it not look like a real product. I’m not a fan of the name either. The name is too ingrained in popular culture to be taken seriously and it leaves a bad after taste since more people will be aware of the film than the novel. It definitely succeeds in getting your attention and generating buzz, I’ll give it that. An interesting name, good or bad, is discussed and remembered. Yet, with world population growing I think the most corrosive thing the name introduces is the idea that by buying into a soylent diet we’re taking a step towards a dystopia where that’s the only kind of food we can afford. That’s what was so unsettling about that movie, not that they were cannibals, but that they had been pushed that far. Of course, it’s irrational. If we all embracing the lifestyle restrictions an overcrowded world would impose, we would actually prevent that world from coming to be, not accelerate towards it. It’s a correlation-causation confusion. People who know the reference are probably already in the target demographic anyway and aren’t likely to be put off by it.