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Book Information: How the Whip Came Back

How the Whip Came Back (1970) [Short Story]
by Gene Wolfe Rating: Weighted - 4.9 / Average - 3.0 of 10 (2 votes) (Rate!)
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Summary (IBList user synopsis):

Slavery -- it has been a curse upon humankind for thousands of years, and even in the present age of "enlightenment" some nations still practice it in one form or another. In "How the Whip Came Back", future nations are struggling under the burden of an increasing prison population. Each new prisoner means money put forth by the taxpayers, money the governments would like to use for other purposes. So when the proposal comes up at a world assembly to reinstitute slavery as a "lease" system using prisoners as the property, world leaders jump at the idea.

A vote has been scheduled, and the Pope, now the leader of a precious few thousand believers worldwide, meets with a minor US delegate, Miss Buchanan. Together, they discuss the ramifications of the coming change, and what it would mean if they chose to vote against their own leaders.

Published in Orbit 6, ed. Damon Knight (1970). Reprinted in:

  • Gene Wolfe's Book of Days (1981)
  • The Oxford Book of Science Fiction Stories (1992)

Original title: How the Whip Came Back
Original languages: English


Genre: FictionScience FictionPoliticalDystopia/Utopia

This work is a subwork of the following works :
     Gene Wolfe's Book of Days (1981) [Collection]
      Author: Gene Wolfe
     Oxford Book of Science Fiction Stories, the (1992) [Anthology]
      Authors: Arthur C. Clarke , Ursula K. Le Guin , David Brin , Rudyard Kipling , H. G. Wells , William Gibson , George R. R. Martin , Brian W. Aldiss , Harry Harrison , Frederik Pohl , Cordwainer Smith , Thomas M. Disch , Walter M. Miller, Jr. , Bruce Sterling , James Blish , Larry Niven , A.E. van Vogt , Clifford D. Simak , Norman Spinrad , Paul J. McAuley , J. G. Ballard , Gene Wolfe , Lewis Padgett , Jack Williamson , Raccoona Sheldon , Hilbert Schenck , John W. Campbell , Frank L. Pollock , Stanley G. Weinbaum , James H. Schmitz

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