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Sea of Glass

3.93  ·  Rating Details ·  140 Ratings  ·  21 Reviews
A boy, who has known nothing in his brief life but love and darkness, forces open a window and sees for the first time the outside world, which also sees him: an illegal immigrant by birth. Arrested, his parents tortured to death, we see through Thomas Windom's eyes a race preparing to deal with overpopulation in the only manner left.
Paperback, 375 pages
Published July 1st 2001 by (first published 1987)
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5.0 stars. One of those rare books that has you thinking about it LONG after you are finished with it. Beautifully written but deeply disturbing. One of the best dystopian SF novels I have read. Highly recommended.
Dave Sunhammer
Mar 30, 2013 Dave Sunhammer rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: intellegent people
Recommended to Dave by: no one - shelf grab
It is amazing how many people read the words in this book, but missed the meanings.

"Sea of Glass" merges Orwell's "1984" and Azimov's "Foundation" in a very well written work. Extremely dark, vicious, and generally more applicable to today's world, Longyear exposes the truth that a 'Big Brother' and thought crime are not needed to oppress a people. Indeed, they can be oppressed without even knowing it.

People denounce the violence as gratuitous only because they cannot see its blatantly transpare
Stephen Futterer
Jun 05, 2016 Stephen Futterer rated it really liked it
This future-dystopian novel has held up well since it was written in 1987. The doomsday clock device of an unavoidable war reflects the cold war geopolitical back drop (and cleverly referencing various films like "Dr. Strangelove" from the perspective of a film buff) of that time exacerbated by a projected explosive population growth; but it could easily pertain to other modern problems like global warming or terrorism or water scarcity. It felt current and didn't get hung up on gadgets and desc ...more
Mar 01, 2012 Robert rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dystopian
From the SF sub-genres of "the Big Computer runs everything" and "childhood horror" and "over-reaction to over population."

A mesmerizing beginning and the amazing ability Longyear has with words and characterization kept me going once the story delves into the lawless concentration camp for illegal kids. That segment of the story works best as extended metaphor for abused and neglected kids, those children who society would rather pretend don't exist.

Longyear certainly doesn't shy from detail,
I'm not sure what I think of this book. The first three-quarters are quite different from the rest. Most of the story tells of Thomas Windom, a boy who became an orphan, called an Outcaster, when his parents were executed for unauthorized procreation, and the cruelty he and the other Outcaster faced at the forced labor camp. Then the story becomes a twist of his thoughts and counter thoughts as he tries to understand the world and his role in it. I found it difficult to parse out all the element ...more
Jan 10, 2011 Allison rated it really liked it
Shelves: dystopia
This book starts out as a rather disturbing story about how a society has responded to the problem of overpopulation. The book follows the life of Tommy Windom. Through each stage of the character's life different he becomes imprisoned in different ways: either within his home or a concentration camp or simply from his own fear. The story is not just a dystopia but also takes on the role of a modern existentialist novel that questions whether our future is predetermined (in this case, by a compu ...more
Dec 09, 2012 Fil rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dystopia
Needlessly graphic violence and a underdeveloped ending ruined a very good, if unoriginal, idea: "super-computer, seen and unseen, controls everything on Earth, what next?" storyline with a protagonist, Thomas Windom, struggling to determine if he is an independent (a?)moral agent or mere puppet. I could live with the violence not the denouement.
Peter Johnston
Sep 24, 2015 Peter Johnston rated it really liked it
Excellent coming of age novel, uses classic YA dystopian tropes, but the horrors of a labour camp for illegally born children is a bit too harrowing for younger readers. Much of the novel is about free will and determinism, but the author's overly optimistic opinions of computer predictions jarred slightly with me. Overall, a good thought provoking page turner.
Tyler Jones
Sep 10, 2015 Tyler Jones rated it liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
This is unusually dark and serious for a Longyear book, so if you are seeking more of that wacky sense of humour you might find this quite dour. I found it very powerful when I read it shortly after it was published; an interesting look at how our values are engineered in our childhood. It made me think long and hard about myself and just why I believed the things I did.
Brian McDevitt
Feb 27, 2015 Brian McDevitt rated it it was amazing
First read this novel about 25 years ago.
Can't believe how much of it had stayed with me.
Another novel which has disappeared due to the cold war being a part of the plot. Not that it changes the main themes in the book which are still relevant.
Excellent, thought provokng novel but one for the strong heart and strong stomach.

Jul 25, 2011 Mel rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: modern-scifi
Viciously violent, graphic and packed full of moral and psychological questions. The ending feels a bit rushed and anticlimactic in comparison to the lead up. Had it an ending that matched the first part of the book, it would have scored higher.
Jul 22, 2014 John rated it it was amazing
Such a great and disturbing book. Survival of the species, civilization, population, politics, phychohistory. Awesome. This figuratively had me on the edge of my seat guessing where it was going and to think about the nature of morality. And it didn't end how I thought it would.
Jun 04, 2012 Edmund rated it it was ok
I despise it when authors (or artists of any creative medium) feel it necessary to censor their words in order to cater to the social norms of popular culture. But the violence depicted in this book, I believe, was overly vicious and graphic, most of it completely unnecessary.
Oct 08, 2007 Kelsey rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
This is truly a great book. Dark and horribly disturbing, it does well what 1984 and This Perfect Day only attempted.
Cody Ferguson
Apr 03, 2013 Cody Ferguson rated it it was amazing
Absolutely amazing. I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys dystopian literature. I picked this book up on a whim at my local used book store, and was so enthralled that I read it in one day.
Eileen Reeger
Dec 11, 2009 Eileen Reeger rated it really liked it
Shelves: w-t-f, sci-fi, fav-authors
This book was shorted one star only b/c the ending was a bit of a let-down. Still, it was worth every second. I am planning on reading this author's other works.
John Speelman
John Speelman rated it really liked it
Mar 15, 2016
Ed rated it really liked it
Jan 10, 2016
Mar 29, 2013 Renee rated it it was amazing
Loved it.
S rated it it was ok
Aug 31, 2012
Drewscriver rated it liked it
Apr 25, 2008
Jmaloney rated it really liked it
Jun 24, 2013
Murray Lindsay
Murray Lindsay rated it it was ok
Dec 19, 2013
Jordan Avery
Jordan Avery rated it really liked it
Apr 01, 2016
Inkling rated it it was amazing
Nov 18, 2012
Susan Klemetti
Susan Klemetti rated it really liked it
Jun 05, 2013
Mark rated it really liked it
Jul 08, 2012
Mads rated it it was amazing
Feb 13, 2013
Alternika rated it really liked it
Oct 21, 2016
Anthyq rated it it was ok
Aug 24, 2012
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Barry is the first writer to win the Hugo, Nebula, and John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer all in the same year, for Enemy Mine. In addition to his acclaimed Enemy Mine Series, his works include the Circus World and Infinity Hold series, SF & fantasy novels, recovery and writing instruction works, and numerous short stories. He has just completed the first novel in his Redcliff Series, ...more
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