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Sea of Glass Paperback – June 24, 2001

4.7 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Hugo, Nebula, and Campbell Award winner, Barry Longyear is author of the acclaimed Enemy Mine, made into a major motion picture by Fox. Recent works include The Enemy Papers and Yesterdays Tomorrow. Having completed training as a PI, his current work is a mystery titled The Gentleman Prefers Blood. He lives with his wife, Jean, in New Sharon, Maine.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 388 pages
  • Publisher: iUniverse (June 24, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0595189652
  • ISBN-13: 978-0595189656
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,566,854 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
When I was a kid, I had pretty typical taste in Science Fiction. It was Heinlein, Asimov, and even some Piers Anthony.

This book changed how I thought about science fiction. It says something, not only about the fictional world, but about our world. Instead of being about rough sketches of a characters to advance an idea, it's about a child growing up and finding out what his world is and what it means.

At the same time... man, is it bleak. I recommend this book to everyone, but some people just put it down midway because they don't like the ideas that that world has to live by. It's not a book for kids, but that's why I loved it, and think it's a book that everyone should read.
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Format: Paperback
Thomas Windom's only sin was being born an illegal child in this Malthusian nightmare set in the not-too-distant future of an overpopulated Earth. Tommy is thrown into a brutal work camp with other illegal children, a place filled with unspeakable brutality and the aching sweetness of first love. He inevitably turns to studying the system which has enslaved him and discovers the key to the prophecy made by the all-knowing computer, Mac III, which runs this frighteningly believable world. The ideas and images remain with you long after the book is over. Unforgettable.
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Format: Paperback
A darkly gripping and starkly graphic picture of the near future, told in compelling first-person by the central character, as he grows from child to adult. Difficult to put down, almost forcing the reader to continue to the end. Certainly among Longyear's best, and easily on the long list of alltime best sci-fi novels.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The only way to describe this book is phenomenal. All of the other reviews have already stated this, but if my review can get even one more person to pick up this book I'll be happy. The book paints a grim picture of the socity that Thomas Windom lives in and is a rollercoaster of peaks and valleys throughout the book. It explores the emotional trauma that the protaganist experiences, it's detailed in every aspect (scenery, political environment, supporting characters, etc.), and leaves you with a sense of melancholy. I've read a solid amount of Sci-Fi and nothing even comes close in my mind to the greatness that this book displays. It's not feel good or uplifting, but it's an incredible read and I hope that someday it receives some recognition for its quality.
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By A Customer on October 11, 1998
Format: Hardcover
Barry Longyear's writing is often of a more dismal place, or disturbing time, but this more than most. (My vote for his best book!) This work will keep you reading and every time you stop you will ask yourself, "Could this be? Will we live in such a world?". The main character is an orphan of sorts, he never should have been born, in world where lottery decides who may or may not have a child. He must now make the best of his life and find his place in the plan to rescue mankind from itself...
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Format: Hardcover
This is brutally realistic rendering of society as it could become. One of my favorite sci-fi books of all time, I reread it every year or two to keep it fresh in my mind. Very well written with deep emotion, it involves you from the opening line and holds nothing back. This one should have won the Hugo.
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Format: Hardcover
This is perhaps the most disturbing, and one of the best, books I've read in a long time. Longyear creates an overpopulated Earth and reveals it through the eyes of illegal child Thomas Windom, who enters a children's prison at the age of seven. As he grows older, his story broadens as he faces who he is and what he must become. To tell any more would spoil one of the best and most stark science fiction novels ever written. This allegory of the importance of the individual is as powerful as the author's best and most popular work, Enemy Mine. One of my favorite parts of Sea of Glass is the way Longyear uses movies from years past to describe the main character's outlook on situations. I read in an interview that Longyear gets many ideas from the television, and this story proves it true. With the exception of maybe one or two, I had seen the movies he referenced, which added another layer to the story. This is one of the most emotional books you'll ever read, and the guy who said he had a ten year gap between this and his next novel is crazy. Longyear has been publishing steadily since the seventies.
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Format: Paperback
Ask yourself this question? If your killing of a man (or woman) would save millions of lives? Would you do it? What if that person was your son or daughter? Could you do it? This is the essence of "Sea of Glass". Auby Cummings designs a machine that produces probabilities of action. One of these probabilities is that at a certain point in the future, there will be too many people for the renewable resources of earth. How do you reduce the population of the earth if it won't do so voluntarily? BY WAR.

No person wants to be responsible for killing off half the population of the planet (well almost no one). So to solve both problems you create a `thinking' computer and set up parameters that once they are met it will begin a worldwide war. It will spend forty years getting used to the idea of this `war of overpopulation' and during that time create situations where some `small wars' are heading off and others created.

You start getting people ready by dictating laws to slow and then put into effect `negative population growth'. You punish the `unlicensed propagators' by death and turn the extra children into a resource of the government. These `Outcasts' are put in "Camps" that are self-reliant and create surpluses to feed the masses. They have no `rights' and can be punished with impunity. If and when the `negative' population growth becomes high enough, they can be integrated into society.

Every one is monitored by the computer (MAC III) and used to project how the acts of one, affects the rest of the population. (This is like Isaac Asimov's Future History in the Foundation cycle). MAC will determine what needs to be done and then effectuate it by manipulating the people around the focus of `an Action'.
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