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Lust: or No Harm Done Paperback – August 1, 2004


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin; First Edition edition (August 1, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312312121
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312312121
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.4 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,272,233 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

"Reality's got a hole in it." That's what runs through Michael Blasco's head when he discovers that he has the uncanny ability to bring his fantasies to life in this wacky, inspired third novel by Ryman (Was). The 38-year-old gay protagonist is a government scientist experimenting on baby chicks and has a flat in London's West End with Phil, his passionless boyfriend. While seething on a subway platform, he imagines the beefy trainer at his gym stripping naked right in front of him-and poof-it happens! Terrified at first, Michael quickly regains his composure and wills into action a series of characters like Tarzan and cartoon diva Taffy Duck; narcissistically, he also conjures a copy of himself. His reunion with a long-lost high school sweetheart nicknamed Bottles proves to be touching and funny, but his meeting with Mark, a victim of AIDS, turns sad when Mark rebuffs his plea to revive him. In an effort to inject passion into his stagnant relationship, Michael "calls up" a younger version of Phil paired with a younger version of himself. When this scheme backfires, he returns to the anonymous "speedy, functional sex" that has long sustained him. A night out with feisty Billie Holiday, passionate sex with Picasso and dalliances with Lawrence of Arabia on Viagra reinvigorate him and make for some funny, titillating reading, but as Michael's notebook of his wild adventures begins to overflow, the story's whimsical tone changes, revealing more of his true character as well as some particularly troublesome personal problems. Among them is a disturbing boyhood fixation on his father, which mutates into a wincingly unnerving incestuous sequence. Ryman's "careful-what-you-wish-for" message is artfully packaged in this quirky, offbeat, entertaining novel.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"Inventive ... a risky, highly imaginative addition to a unique and valuable body of work."
-Kirkus

"Ryman's 'careful-what-you-wish-for' message is artfully packaged in this quirky, off-beat, entertaining novel."
- Publishers Weekly


"Inventive ... a risky, highly imaginative addition to a unique and valuable body of work." (Kirkus)

"Ryman's 'careful-what-you-wish-for' message is artfully packaged in this quirky, off-beat, entertaining novel." (Publishers Weekly)

More About the Author

Geoff Ryman is a Canadian living in the United Kingdom. His first book based on events in Cambodia was published in 1985, the award-winning The Unconquered Country. The King's Last Song was inspired by a visit to an Australian archaeological dig at Angkor Wat in 2000. He has been a regular visitor since, teaching writing workshops in Phnom Penh and Siem Reap twice, and publishing three further novellas set in Cambodia. In Britain he produced documentaries for Resonance FM, London, on Cambodian Arts. He has published nine other books and won fourteen awards. He teaches creative writing at the University of Manchester.

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Josh Aterovis on October 13, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Imagine discovering that you have the power to create a temporary copy of anyone in the world alive or dead-and they will be yours to command. You can make them desire you, work for you, tell you their deepest, darkest secrets. What would you do with such a gift? Or is it a curse?

This has become the reality for Michael Blasco, a mild-mannered research scientist. When he first conjures up a copy of his hunky gym instructor on a train platform, Michael fears for his sanity. He quickly realizes, however, that the copies are every bit as real as the original, complete with intelligence and awareness-at least while they exist. With just a thought, Michael can end their existence as easily as he brought them into being. Once they are gone, nothing remains of them except Michael's memories.

While he first sees it all as a sort of game for his own amusement, as time goes on, Michael begins to wonder why he has this strange ability. The book takes a more serious turn as Michael searches for answers and explores the morality of the situation.

What at first seems to be a wet-dream come true gradually turns into a nightmare as Michael realizes that there are consequences to his actions with the copies. His long-term relationship is crumbling, he neglects his research project, the originals seem to retain some memory of what their copies do, and not all copies appreciate being brought back from the dead.

Lust is an amazingly original and thought-provoking concept. It could have turned into a prurient tale in the hands of a lesser author, but Geoff Ryman's strong writing more than pulls it off. The story both entertains and causes us to think about the consequences of our actions.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on November 24, 2002
Format: Paperback
What an interesting book! What a concept - a gay scientist can materialise any person he wills - for conversation and/or sex! When I commenced it I was aware that the author had written a cyber-novel, and my initial feeling was that this novel was written in a fashion dictated by the internet - short sentences, single and simple ideas. But no - complexity gained with each page, and fairly early on the writer showed depth, a marvellous eye for character and detail, a great sense of humour, and an ability to halt any wandering mind with a sentence that captures a sentiment so expressively that the mental jaw drops in mid-read - "It was going to be tiring living with someone who went straight to the truth without passing GO first" (from memory - forgive me, GR, if wrong). The 'scientific breakthrough' at the end seems initially out-of-place - but it does indeed work, to tie the novel together and allow it and the dear protaginist to move forward. Recommended as a quirky and unusual read that will have you recalling it fondly days afterwards.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By groucho on January 10, 2004
Format: Hardcover
This is one of the most original stories I read in a long time -- more so because it was written in a conversational, non-preachy stream-of-consciousness which somehow involves the reader.
The book raises questions about Messianic possibilities and the excruciatingly painful stings of humiliations due to missed opportunities and lost chances. The book realistically investigates Michael Blasco's "gift" and how even the possession of such a gift can still make one lonely, wanting and unfulfilled. The author seems to know the nuances and ramifications of love in its glory and loss at its most heart-rending.
The book has a lot of heart and a wry sense of humor and it ended with wise authority. I thought the conjuring of Billie Holiday and Pablo Picasso were original (I had fun reading Billie's envy to Ella Fitzgerald and how Teddy Wilson hated her and quickened the tempo of "What A Little Moonlight Can Do") and inspired.
Although the vivid descriptions of same sex copulations are an acquired taste, one can't help but laugh at Ryman's descriptions and comparisons to animals. His perspicacity in observing humans and how their faces express many telling things gave this book its deserved excellence and timelessness.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Isabelle on October 12, 2005
Format: Paperback
This book is sometimes funny, frequently poignant, a little kinky and thoroughly thought-provoking. It's the story of a research scientist who one day discovers he has power to create a double of anyone on Earth who must obey his every command. At first he uses it for the obvious - sexual wish fulfillment (and some wacky experimentation with Tarzan and a buxom cartoon character) but, ultimately, he learns about himself and his responsibilities in love and life. Great characters who you can care about and a great message.
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