“ONE NIGHTMARISH PANOPTICON.” – The New York Times
When Robin wakes up in a clinic with most of his memories missing, it doesn’t take him long to discover that someone is trying to kill him. It’s the twenty-seventh century, when interstellar travel is by teleport gate and conflicts are fought by network worms that censor refugees’ personalities—including Robin’s earlier self.
On the run from a ruthless pursuer and searching for a place to hide, he volunteers to participate in a unique experimental polity: the Glasshouse, a simulated pre-accelerated culture where participants are assigned anonymized identities. But what looks like the perfect sanctuary turns into a trap, placing Robin at the mercy of the experimenters—and at the mercy of his own unbalanced psyche…
The censorship wars during which the Curious Yellow virus devastated the network of wormhole gates connecting humanity across the cosmos are finally over at the start of Hugo-winner Stross's brilliant new novel, set in the same far-future universe as 2005's Accelerando. Robin is one of millions who have had a mind wipe, to forget wartime memories that are too painful or too dangerously inconvenient for someone else. To evade the enemies who don't think his mind wipe was enough, Robin volunteers to live in the experimental Glasshouse, a former prison for deranged war criminals that will recreate Earth's "dark ages" (c. 1950 2040). Entering the community as a female, Robin is initially appalled by life as a suburban housewife, then he realizes the other participants are all either retired spies or soldiers. Worse yet, fragments of old memories return extremely dangerous in the Glasshouse, where the experimenters' intentions are as murky as Robin's grasp of his own identity. With nods to Kafka, James Tiptree and others, Stross's wry SF thriller satisfies on all levels, with memorable characters and enough brain-twisting extrapolation for five novels.
Interesting and suspenseful. One of my favorite Stross books. Stands entirely on its own. Good plot. Interesting characters who actually develop throughout the course of the book.
Interesting and compeling, but fell a little flat at the end.
Good read, a decent mix of scifi tech and future stuff with a few violent or suspensful moments to mix it up. The ending was a bit weak for me, it seemed like there were lots of ways to finish the story and Stross went with a wrap up that felt a bit lazy.