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Paradise Tales: and Other Stories Paperback – July 12, 2011

5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Often contemplative and subtly ironic, the 16 stories in this outstanding collection work imaginative riffs on a variety of fantasy and SF themes. "Pol Pot's Beautiful Daughter," a Cambodian ghost story, and "The Last Ten Years in the Life of Hero Kai," a samurai-style narrative, have the delicacy of Asian folktales or lyrical fantasies. By contrast, "V.A.O.," about a future society destabilized by prohibitively expensive health care, and "The Film-makers of Mars," which suggests that Edgar Rice Burroughs's John Carter stories were drawn from life, are set in futures that credibly extrapolate current scientific and cultural trends. Ryman (The King's Last Song) frequently explores human emotional needs in heartless environments, as in "Warmth," which poignantly portrays a young boy's bond with his robot surrogate mother. Readers of all stripes will appreciate these thoughtful tales. (Mar.)
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Review

“Paradise Tales includes one of the most powerful stories I’ve read in the last 10 years.”
New York Times

“In the best of Ryman’s fiction, the world unfolds in ways that are at once astonishing and thoroughly thought out, both radically disorienting and emotionally powerful.”
—Gary K. Wolfe, Locus

“Often contemplative and subtly ironic, the 16 stories in this outstanding collection work imaginative riffs on a variety of fantasy and SF themes.... Readers of all stripes will appreciate these thoughtful tales.”
Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Small Beer Press (July 12, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 193152064X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1931520645
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.5 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,677,319 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By Dmitry Portnoy VINE VOICE on July 27, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Geoff Ryman is the master of a genre of his own creation (though Greg Bear anticipated it with "Blood Music") that I want to call "utopian horror." In Ryman's great works of science fiction, "Unconquered Countries," "The Child Garden" and "Air," as well as his pornographic novel "Lust," hope grows directly from despair, victory arrives at the very peak of suffering, a new paradigm unravels from the tightest twist of emotional, biological and cosmic torment. As befits true dialectics, Ryman's fully-realized works present protagonists who do not reject and battle terrors, as much as move through them, and embracing them, transform them into joy. Typically this happens on the last page of about four hundred.

"Paradise Tales" is a collection of short stories. They are not sketches but portraits that service their concepts and their characters with as much rigor and irony (note the title) as his longer works. But necessarily, rather than depicting the entire journey, each depicts a stage: departure, arrival, or transition. This makes the book a breathtaking, lurching roller-coaster ride, where one never knows in which direction the characters are heading or if any individual situation will end in hope or horror. If a Ryman novel is like major surgery, a Ryman short story is like being stabbed.

Needless to say, the blade is sharper and gleams brighter than any other out there. And one should probably stay away from great science fiction or indeed literature if one treasures one's hide.
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