Saturn's Children - Charles Stross the ideas behind the theme What Makes a Slave a Slave are particularly interesting when considering how they are approached and transformed by the genre in which they appear. in fantasy and historical fiction, slavery is often depicted as a regular part of the environment, and if a central character is enslaved, it is merely an obstacle that is usually surmounted. in horror, the idea of a total loss of freedom, especially the loss of an individualized mind, becomes another facet of evil: possession, automation, etc. in erotica and PNR and the queasy Gor universe, enslavement can be a path to 'true freedom' and a comment on the fluidity of power and disempowerment.

regarding Saturn's Children: rarely have i read a breathless scifi space opera that seriously attempts to understand the mentality of a slave - and one that attempts to juggle all of those approaches to slavery. in the end, a moralistic and 'humanistic' stance is clearly taken (which i personally appreciated), but the journey to that end does not engage in puritanism or easy, knee-jerk generalizations.

despite the deep and intriguing theme, this is a light entertainment. lots of graphic and semi-graphic robot sex. overall an absorbing but not overly-elaborate post-human adventure.