Review: Glasshouse by Charles Stross

I finished reading Glasshouse by Charles Stross yesterday, and holy crap this book is awesome.

Glasshouse takes place in the distant future, and follows Robin, who, dealing with the effects of memory surgery (he knows nothing about himself at the beginning of the novel, except that he was very recently someone who wanted to get rid of all his memories) decides to join an experiment, where he'll be put in a controlled community for three years, in an attempt to replicate as closely as possible what life was like in the "Dark ages" -- roughly 1950 to 2050.

Within the experiment, Stross does an awesome job of unpacking the weird fundamental assumptions of 20th and 21st century society -- stuff like biological determinism, the social contract and peer pressure, sexism, and heteronormativity.

It's also a fantastic psychological thriller -- because memory and consciousness altering are major parts of the setting, and because everyone in the experiment is assigned a new body and asked not to talk about their past lives, it's often unclear whether anyone is who they say they are, including Robin, and we get the story directly from within his (and her) head.

Glasshouse is a great book, and I would recommend it highly to anyone looking for contemporary far-future sci fi.