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Brute Orbits by [George Zebrowski]
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Brute Orbits Kindle Edition

3.5 out of 5 stars 9 ratings

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Length: 240 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Like his previous tales of technocratically engineered futures (Macrolife; Stranger Suns; etc.), Zebrowski's latest evokes the pioneering SF of social philosopher Olaf Stapledon. But this boldly speculative new novel also suffers from the claustrophobic effects of trying to wrestle provocative ideas into cramped quarters. In the 21st century, Earth incarcerates its undesirables in mined-out asteroids launched into new orbits for the duration of their sentences. "This use of distance as a better prison wall" is more than just an ingenious application of technology to the penal system: it's also a convenient trick for disposing of the socially misfit, since orbits are "accidentally" miscalculated to prevent their return. The narrative follows the histories of several of these "rocks" as their prisoners fight, unite and ultimately set out to create superior, self-contained cultures free of the taint of earthly ways. Individual asteroids house specific groups of offenders, ranging from hardened convicts to sexual deviants, juvenile delinquents and unwanted foreigners, but it's hard to tell them apart, since the representatives of each speak in the same monotonous voice of the social studies lecturer. Burdened with having to illustrate the novel's central thesis?that the criminals whom society casts out are reflections of its own sickness, and a key to its cure?the characters rarely rise above the level of abstraction. Zebrowski argues his points with conviction, but, like the asteroid prisons he imagines, the vehicle for his critique is very distant and just a bit hollow.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an alternate kindle_edition edition.

Review

"A brilliant and dramatic philosophical reflection on the nature of society, technology . . . and humanity itself. Zebrowski is a deep thinker who writes about the big questions' in the grand tradition of Wells, Stapledon, and Clarke." -- -- Jack M. Dann, award-winning author of The Silent and The Memory Cathedral

"Boldly speculative. . . . Zebrowski argues his points with conviction." -- -- Publishers Weekly --This text refers to an alternate kindle_edition edition.

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Reviewed in the United States on May 1, 2018
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