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Visions of Liberty Mass Market Paperback – June 29, 2004


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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Baen (June 29, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743488385
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743488389
  • Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 4.3 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,535,378 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

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"Sheer enjoyability . . . a fine mix of stories provokes everything from meditation to laughter."

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Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Doc VINE VOICE on October 14, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
The stories collected in this book all center in some way around a central concept of society in the absence of official government. In nearly all cases, the inertia of societal mores leads to a moral and just society, despite a lack of officialdom to enforce laws, of which there are none.

Lloyd Biggle, Jr.'s "The Unnullified World" showcases the difficulties encountered by an interstellar investigator trying to track a murderer on a planet lacking a government. The majority of characters are involved with mining, either the actual process or among the ranks of the corporations which fund them. The manner in which the population deals with the killer is somewhat interesting.

"The Right's Tough" by Robert Sawyer shows what happens when relativity plays a part in people's perspectives. A long-absent team of space explorere returns to an Earth centuries after leaving it, to find that government no longer exists. Every person is connected from childhood to a central computer which tracks the manner in which they interact with others, alerting people, for example, when a pickpocket grows near. The problems these astronauts encounter seem very much not in character with those who should hold such heroic posts, in my mind, with an unsatisfying conclusion to a good story concept.

Mike Resnick and Tobias Buckell's "The Shackles of Freedom" shows what a future Amish community located on another planet might be like, through the eyes of a modern-trained physician working among them. His knowledge and capabilities are hampered by the locals' beliefs, forcing him to rely upon ancient methods only. This story is very well-done, I thought, and I liked it a lot. Good inner conflict of the protagonist.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Michael Valdivielso on July 14, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
Ten stories of freedom and liberty by award winning authors, such as James P. Hogan, Robert J. Swayer, Michael A. Stackpole, Jack Williamson, Michael Resnick, and much more. If you are a fan of any of this authors, are a libertarian at heart, or enjoyed any of the other collections, such as 'Free Space' or 'Give Me Libery' then this IS the book for you. Or if you just enjoy good science fiction this is STILL the book for you.
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4 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Mark5576 on February 4, 2005
Format: Mass Market Paperback
...they would work wonderfully if not for that pesky detail known as human nature.

Most stories in the book are entertaining SF (I especially liked "Renegade"), but as recipies for a lasting and just society they have holes big enough to fly a spaceship through. In several of the stories justice is maintained via Coventry, i.e. communal ostracism of the wrongdoers, sometimes aided by all comments on the individual's behaviour other people had put onto the Web (not, as previous reviewer implied, onto one big computer). Which sounds dandy, except that real-world societies which relied on Coventry were oppressive and stifling to the point which makes Stalin's Russia positively playful. It is in human nature to gravitate toward those who think alike and to shun and/or put down those who think differently. In the stories in question it is not just murderers, rapists and pickpockets who would get collectively punished -- it would be everyone who acts, looks or thinks outside the norm. And what is to prevent malicious or vindictive people from putting false information about an individual onto World Wide Web? Heck, it happens all the time already! No mechanism to stop false accusations is mentioned -- or is likely to work.

Other stories have same problem -- it is far too easy for selfish individuals to corrupt the whole edifice for their own gain, but somehow it never happens. This problem has plagued libertarian SF since Heinlein's "The Moon Is The Harsh Mistress" -- human being simply DO NOT ACT THAT WAY.
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