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The Child Garden: A Low Comedy Paperback – May 24, 2011


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 388 pages
  • Publisher: Small Beer Press; Reprint edition (May 24, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1931520283
  • ISBN-13: 978-1931520287
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.4 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #232,855 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

A future city afflicted with a viral epidemic is the setting of Ryman's acclaimed novel; winner of the John W. Cambell and Arthur C. Clarke Awards.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"Excellent...Dark and witty and full of love, closely observed, and sprinkled with astonishing ideas. Science fiction of a very high order."--Greg Bear

"A richly absorbing tale--with a marvelous premise expertly carried out."--Kirkus Reviews

"One of the most imaginative accounts of futuristic bioengineering since Geg Bear's Blood Music."--Locus

"A heady novel bursting with speculation."--Library Journal

"An exuberant celebration of excess set in a resource-poor but defiantly eneregtic 21st century...you will not be bored."--The New York Times
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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

3.9 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 4, 1999
Format: Paperback
This is a truly wonderful book, that deserves a lot more attention than it got. Ryman has an incredible range, a gift for characterization, and has mastered the art for precise observation that he can nevertheless make iconic. This book is very ambitious - and he gets away with it. He weaves together Marx, the theory of relativity, hologram productions of Dante, vampires, and genetic engineering - and it works. This is one of those books that I press into my friends' hands saying, "You have got to read this." Then I have to show up at their door to get it back because they love it so much that they don't want to give it back. If you like this book you should also read "Was," Ryman's book that tackles "The Wizard of Oz." He is a truly great modern writer.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 13, 1996
Format: Paperback
Like his brilliant "mainstream" novel "Was", "The Child Garden" is a novel that works on many levels, it leaves your mind reeling. Like Delany, LeGuin, and Crowley, Ryman is one of the masters of "serious" science fiction. This novels interweaves a lesbian coming out story with bio-engineering extrapolation in a future London. But the coming out story is just a springboard for ideas about the Self in Society, about alienation, memory, human connection. And Ryman somehow manages to weave consensus politics and the struggle of the artist into the bio-engineering theme. On top of this, the entire novel is about Art's healing powers. Through all this cerebral imagery, there are unforgettable characters, wit, and a whole lot of love. Few science fiction novels -- and novels about ideas in general -- can make one weep and think. This novel is the rare one that does both
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 22, 1998
Format: Paperback
I've read this book four or five times, and I get something new out of it every times. Somehow Ryman manages to make the book engrossing and compelling, yet multi-layered and as complex as any book I've read. Ryman has created a truly original fantasy society - all too rare in science fiction - and he mixes innovative details about bio-engineering with ruminations on Dante and the nature of love. Amazingly rich.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Very convoluted like the virus infected brains of the people of earth in this book. Almost a utopian, communist maifesto. I like it but am afraid I will have to read it again. He writes moving, interesting and unique descriptions of a world that has grown young and aimless; with everyone trying to recapture their youth and the dire consequences of manipulating our DNA. I wonder how he feels about GE food? Very thought provoking. Highly recommended.
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5 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A. Ross HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on August 21, 2005
Format: Paperback
In an average year, I read about a hundred works of fiction ranging across all genres, and only fail to finish two or three. This Arthur C. Clarke Award-winner is one of this year's few... I had previously enjoyed Ryman's 253, and the book cover synopsis sounded promising, but I just could not connect with this one at all. The setup, a post-apocalyptic tropical London in which the population is all young and children are educated via viruses. In order to maintain civilization, subjects such as law, politics, and art are distributed via these viruses so that destiny is reduced to pure biology. There's a monolithic "Consensus" which runs the country, making sure that any unconformity is rooted out. This is all solid stuff that has formed the basis for many a disturbing exercise in speculative fiction.

And of course, the story is about an outsider, a girl named Milena who is naturally resistant to viruses and is trying to hide this. She'd rather discover life on her own, and discovers the beauty of music through a talented outcast polar bear. This develops into a strange lesbian relationship with the bear and after about a hundred pages I just didn't care about any of the characters and the story didn't seem to be leading anywhere of interest. There were a few interesting bits and pieces, such as the genetically engineered postman who has instant recall and spends his days delivering messages around the neighborhood, but these are few and far between. I don't like to give up on books, and I don't necessarily think it's a bad book, but it certainly wasn't to my taste whatsoever.
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By Amazon Customer on April 13, 2009
Format: Paperback
One of my favorite books ever in the world. I love it so much. I'll never get over it.
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14 of 22 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 29, 2000
Format: Paperback
Take your chances with this book. I didn't like it really. I bought it because it was an award winner. And though the details of the story were cool, it was too pretentious for me to get into. I give 2 stars for originality and being able to convey the fantastic in rich detail. But there was nothing underneath it to hold it together. I just have to voice this opinion - you will of course make your own decisions. But the Marxism and the opera and the flash-back-forward-around was not so much impressive as tedious.
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