The Rotating Prison in the Mountain
December 11, 2007 6:29 PM Subscribe
I'm looking for the title and/or author of a story I read years ago. It was about, or had in it, a description of a terrible kind of prison, a vast multilayered cylinder carved inside a mountain, that would rotate slowly around its course from the efforts of the prisoners inside. The only way to free those inside was, according to the story, to keep adding new prisoners to the vacated cells to keep pulling the thing along.
posted by aeschenkarnos to writing & language (14 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
Obviously, it was an allegory for self-perpetuating undesirable institutions in society; while everyone might want it to be abolished, without a steady flow of new arrivals those inside would be trapped. I don't remember much in the way of other details, except that there was some mechanism for getting food and water to the prisoners and removing waste (maybe it involved passing food and water along, for everyone's survival was required to keep the cylinder moving). The ruler who built it may have ended up in it himself.