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Monday, January 8, 2024

The Glass BoxThe Glass Box by J. Michael Straczynski
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Glass Box is a timely dystopian SF look at authoritarianism and its modern abuses. Namely, American political prisoners who get locked away in legal but thoroughly icky mental health hospitals.

In this case, it's the way for certain government agencies to put away dissenters and protesters on the streets, by giving the ones locked up an option to have the "lesser" punishment in a voluntary intake center, but after they're there, as the MC Riley soon learns, just about any kind of abuse can follow.

The darkness of this tale is very much in line with One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest or the movie Girl, Interrupted. But it's serious to point out that this is a fully modern take on the same subject and it's not hard to see that it could easily be taken this far with us, right now. When certain people need to get rid of protesters, then it all becomes an opportunity to follow N. Korea or China with re-education programs -- be it under other names.

It feels like a surprising twist of a tale to come from J. Michael Straczynski, but upon a little reflection, it's just about perfect.

Great tale, fun and harrowing to read.

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