Saturday, December 30, 2023

The Glass Box

The Glass Box by J. Michael Straczynski
1/9/24; 350 pages
Blackstone Publishing

The Glass Box by J. Michael Straczynski is a very highly recommended science fiction dystopian that feels closer to the future than you'd like to believe is possible in America.

Riley Diaz is arrested for protesting a new law that encroaches on our rights and is subsequently incarcerated under that same new defense act which limits the freedom of assembly. She is given the choice of prison or admittance in one of the new Department of Homeland Security American Renewal Centers (ARCs) for mandatory reeducation. The program is located in a psychiatric facility and Riley soon learns that it is not going to be as easy as she thought to escape from the facility. It also becomes clear that the ARC program is more insidious than people were led to believe and includes forced therapy, involuntary medication, solitary confinement, restricted rations, and more punishments. Riley takes a stand, endures the punishments, and refuses to submit to the manipulation.

The writing is outstanding in this fast-paced, compelling science fiction novel which is riveting from beginning to end. It is ultimately about the choices you make and the courage and determination required to stand firm on your principles while refusing to back down even when under duress. It also skirts close to reality and could portend a near future dystopian world.

Riley is wonderfully realized and realistic character. Her ability to think for herself and stand up for herself in an unjust system, even to her own detriment, is an admirable quality in a protagonist. It also makes her character likeable and trustworthy. She doesn't buckle under peer pressure or administrative sanctions. The relationship she forges with the patient known only as Frankenstein is a touching and important element in the novel.

The Glass Box is an excellent choice for readers who enjoy dystopian science fiction with a timely narrative and memorable characters.

Disclosure: My complimentary review copy was courtesy of Blackstone Publishing via NetGalley.

No comments: