Will Barrent could choose--exile on a nightmare planet, or life under the tyranny that had taken over Earth!
First appeared under the title Omega in Amazing Science Fiction Stories, published by Ziff-Davis.
roximately three Earth years."
It took a while for those last words to take effect on Barrent. He was still contemplating the novelty of having a name. He hadn't considered any of the implications of being a murderer on an underworld planet.
The new prisoners were led to a row of barracks at Square A-2. There were nearly five hundred of them. They were not yet men; they were entities whose true memories extended barely an hour in time. Sitting on their bunks, the newborns looked curiously at their bodies, examined with sharp interest their hands and feet. They stared at each other, and saw their formlessness mirrored in each other's eyes. They were not yet men; but they were not children either. Certain abstractions remained, and the ghosts of memories. Maturation came quickly, born of old habit patterns and personality traits, retained in the broken threads of their former lives on Earth.
The new men clung
Sheckley's 1960 novel postulates a future in which the criminals of Earth are stripped of their memories and shipped to a prison planet where crime rules and from whence there is no possible return. While the action surrounding prisoner Will Barrent is interesting, and Sheckley's commentary on human society amusing, the prison planet has neither reality nor absurdity enough to hold the plot together. It's all too clean.
Good premise, mostly good plot, decent characters. Starts well, goes on well but the author perhaps tired of the tale and goes for a weak ending.
But don't take my word for it—I'm pretty critical.
Thanks! This book's very interesting
Thrilling novel in a future with a gulag planet. Philosophical interesting as the author goes to extremes eradicating all crime on Earth, creating a black/white world (rings a bell, doesn't it?). Well worth a read.