I read this story in a science fiction anthology a few years ago (say ~2008), but I have no idea when it was published. The story revolves around "The Warden," a hologram/AI who was designed to control a prison planet. Here are all the details I remember:

  • The prison planet was named after some historical place, possibly the Bastille, and it had a moon whose name was related to this place. I think the moon had a feminine name.
  • The inmates had taken over the prison several years ago. A very cruel woman controlled the prison. I think she ran some kind of drug cartel or something.
  • The Warden was programmed to keep the prisoners, well, imprisoned, but he was unable to act because the woman possessed a computer virus that would erase him if he acted against her.
  • At some point, a young boy crash-lands on the planet. This is significant.
  • The planet has a highly poisonous atmosphere.

Minor spoiler:

- Somehow the Warden kills the woman; I believe it involves the atmosphere. He broke a window or something.

  • It ends with some big spoiler about how the warden was created.

I've googled as much as I can, but I can't seem to find it. I remember thinking it was a very good story and I'd very much like to read it again.

1 Answer 1


Prisons by Kevin J. Anderson & Doug Beason

Some excerpts:

I am still called the Warden. The prisoners consider it an ironic jest.

Barely a meter square, the forcewalls form the boundaries of my holographic body. Once this felt like a throne, an isolated position from which I could control the workings of Bastille. Now, though, I must look out and watch my former prisoners laughing at me.


Theowane comes to taunt me every day, to gloat over her triumph. She paces up and down the corridor outside the forcewalls. To me, she is flaunting her freedom to go where she wishes. I do not think it is unintentional.

At the time of the revolt, Theowane used her computer skills to introduce a worm program that rewrote the control links around my Personality, leaving me isolated and helpless. If I attempt to regain control, the worm will delete my existence.


A dime-sized glare shows the distant sun, too far away to heat the planet to any comfortable temperature; but overhead, dominating the sky, rides the cinnamon-colored moon Antoinette, so close to Bastille and so nearly the same size that it keeps the planet heated by tidal flexing.

  • Wonderful! Thank you very much. Commented Dec 29, 2013 at 0:21
  • Why is this the correct answer? Commented Feb 25, 2015 at 8:40
  • 1
    @Wikis Because this is indeed the story I was trying to find. It was a story identification question. This answer identified the story. Commented Mar 20, 2016 at 5:26
  • 2
    Added some excerpts to elaborate, which I assume is what Wikis was getting at.
    – Anym
    Commented Mar 31, 2016 at 21:33

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