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Biased and superficial Science Fiction reviews

Sea Of Glass

Copyright 1987 by Barry B. Longyear

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SOJALS rating:     
one SOJALS point one SOJALS point one SOJALS point one SOJALS point one SOJALS point    Superb (5/5)

I first read this in 1988 and most recently in 1999

A few years from now the world is in a pretty bad way. There's a cold war again but this time it's known that it will become hot, and it's even known when the war is likely to start. The cold war is between the haves and the have-nots of the world of the 21st Century. On the one side, the haves, the Compact Of Nations should be the height of civilisation. However, population, political and economic pressures have led to a bitter and sad, fascist society. Parents of unlawful children are executed and the children interned in prison camps.

Meanwhile the world moves inexorably toward war. A massive computer guides the government to ensure, above all else, victory for the Compact Of Nations and death to the people of the other half of the world.

Tommy is an illegal child and life for him is one of hiding in a secret room at home, never to be allowed outside. If caught, his parents will be killed and he will face the horror and brutality of the government concentration camps. In the end, he's faced with a profound moral dilemma and the consequences of his decision will affect the fate of the world.

This is one of the most powerful novels I have ever read. It's serious, tough, inspiring and exciting. Longyear's writing immediately draws you into this profoundly depressing world. The characters, even those met only briefly, leave their mark upon you. If you've read the book, you know the names: Ann, Helen, Louisa, Godfrey, Manual, Citizan Sayther and Aubry Cummings. The pace increases and the pressure builds as the Optimum War Probability Projection Date - the Wardate - approaches.

It blew me away in 1988 and it's just blown me away again eleven years later. I'll be reading it again, especially as the Wardate approaches.

Loaded on the 5th June 2001.
Cover of Sea Of Glass