The Greatest Book You’ve Never Read. Sea of Glass (1986) Review

I’m a slow reader hence I haven’t read a ton of books in my life, but out of the ones I have read Sea of Glass (written by Barry Longyear) is probably the most intelligent, moving and resonating.

Its so great I’m baffled that almost no one has heard of it.

Thomas Windom has been confined to his house since birth, but on his seventh birthday he opens a window and sees the outside world.

The world is ruled by MAC III, a computer that has implemented a brutal population control policy to preserve humanity’s future.

Thomas is caught by the authorities. His parents are executed and he is taken to what is essentially a death camp for illegal children.

As he grows up in this dystopian world, he tries to rebel against MAC III and forge a somewhat normal, happy life.


Longyear presents the story from Thomas’ point of view and records his thoughts, feelings and memories in great detail.

At the beginning a lot of time is spent showing Thomas with his parents, establishing their chemistry and relationship. So when they get caught its devastating as well as terrifying.

This use of perspective makes Sea of Glass a much more emotional experience than 1984 and Fahrenheit 451.

Unlike Guy Montag and Winston Smith who start out in secure positions in their dystopian societies, Thomas begins in a normal, loving family environment, one we can all understand.

When he goes outside, we’re not just introduced to the story’s world buts it’s antagonism.

From vicious prison guards to a concise police force, the world’s horror is shown first hand and at some points in rather gruesome detail.

Sea of Glass is probably one of the greatest dystopian novels out there and deserves a whole lot more recognition. It truly is an undiscovered gem.

I give Sea of Glass an outstanding 10 out of 10.


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