5

I am trying to locate a story I read in the 70s; I think it was a short story but could have been a novel.

As I recall, in the story prisoners are sent to a work camp/planet. They are paid, and can purchase a ticket home, but there is a local powerfully addictive drug that they all end up spending their money on, thereby effectively sentencing themselves to life there.

It provided a powerful allegory of the human tendency to succumb to immediate easy pleasures and avoid short term discomforts that can have big future payoffs.

Thank you for any clues.

  • 2
    He who controls the spice controls the universe. – Broklynite Oct 6 '15 at 22:25
  • 1
    It's not your story, but the old classic novel The Space Merchants, by Frederick Pohl and C. M. Kornbluth, has some of the same elements (although they're technically "workers" not prisoners). – Joe L. Oct 6 '15 at 22:58
5

The story is Logic of Empire by Robert Heinlein.

It's about a Venus colony where workers can indenture themselves for a lump sum then work until they pay off the money. The trouble is that without paying for a drink called rhira life is unbearable. The cost of the drink means the workers will never pay back the money.

  • 1
    But "Logic of Empire" wasn't "a powerful allegory of the human tendency to succumb to immediate easy pleasures and avoid short term discomforts that can have big future payoffs." It was about the economic forces that result in things like endentured servants (which the people in "Logic of Empire" effectively were) and the futilitely of trying to fight those forces. – JRE Oct 7 '15 at 12:43
  • 1
    Indeed, the whole point of the story is that the protagonist BELIEVES that drug addiction and the Venusian indentured servitude is a product of inferior people's lack of self-control - until he's caught up in it himself. – outis nihil Oct 10 '15 at 12:36

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.