To be clear: I have no clue when I am going to finish Panopticon, mostly because I have no clue when I can sit down and finish it. But since you’re already here, well, let me tell you a little about it.
The word “panopticon” is a word that means, basically, all-seeing. (You know, “pan” meaning all and “opticon” meaning see.) So, Panopticon is a story about surveillance, or really, what happens on the other side of the camera. (The security camera, not a film camera.)
Spies have been around to millennia, but so have police agencies (yeah, bodyguards of the king count too, since they’re protecting the government). But as technology has advanced, so have their ability to work covertly. Now, in this day and age, the lines between spies and those who hunt them have been blurred almost beyond distinction. It seems no one knows who’s a spy and who chases them.
The line of work that both do are frighteningly similar. Emails are stolen by one and censored by the other. Phone calls are listened to. The difference between eavesdropping and censoring is only identified by which department of the government one works for, and which country you’re stealing information for.
Now, what would it be like, to be one of these people?
Panopticon explores the possiblity- or the reality- of the people who work every day to make the country safer; or to breath down people’s necks without the noticing. As the story goes, one such person, Viktor Smirnov, has to distinguish what is for the good of the people and what is not, eventually having to make the decision for himself.