The Prisoner: Thomas M. Disch

The story is basically about the Prisoner's escape from the Village and his recapture.

Apparently the Prisoner had escaped the Village some time in the past, but during that escape had been captured by someone and partially brainwashed. Then he is captured again by agents of the Village and is returned there. He finds that he is missing all memory of ever being in the Village before, along with other selected past memories. He plans to escape again, and once more is subjected to drug/technological "examination" by Village authorities.

In a rather odd turn of affairs, he is elected/appointed the Mayor of the Village. During the production of a play, the escape plan is put into effect, but instead of the Prisoner escaping, Number Two leaves the village. After this, the Prisoner is subjected to further brainwashing, and becomes the new Number Two, finally getting to meet Number One who turns out to be a human/android/bionic being.

The first chapter is the weakest part of the entire book, reading more like an excerpt from an Avengers script with Steed and Mrs. Peel. After that, the book maintains a rather interesting and fairly consistent portrait of the Prisoner.

In Chapter 8 we find that the Prisoner has discovered seventeen canisters of film, all about him (obviously referring to the seventeen episodes of the series) which, In the book, were real events in the Prisoner's life. Abbreviations such as Schiz for Schizoid Man emphasize this rather strongly.

One of the strongest points of philosophical interest is not made by the Prisoner, but by Number Two when he says:

"No, Number Six, though you may clang your bells for freedom, the best that you can escape to is some more camouflaged form of imprisonment than we provide."

The Number Two used in this book seems to be one of the most literate ones in the whole series, and it is interesting to see what poem he will be quoting next during the unfolding of the story.

Various other references to the original series are used, and a breakdown of camera placement within the individual cottages adds even more interest. As to Rover, Disch writes that there are a variety of spheres of different colors, but Rover is the only one able to kill.

Overall, the book is well worth obtaining. It might not be real easy to find a copy, but e-bay and used bookstores are your best bet to find it.

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