Imagine an England where pop stars slaughter excess cattle for the TV cameras, and refugees are greeted with music festivals!
Bold as Love is a surefire contender for this year's Clarke award; and for others, too, whether sf or mainstream. Joyously written, this compelling novel represents a major change of direction for Gwyneth Jones (albeit one presaged, in part, in KAIROS and such 'Ann Halam' novels as The Fear Man and The Powerhouse). Blending intimate technologies and magical energies, 'shit venues and flashes of genius', near-future possibilities and a mythic past, indie music and funky, chaotic revolution, Jones delivers a weird new future, just a heartbeat away. And she does so more convincingly even than Bruce Sterling or William Gibson--largely because of her stunning sense of place, both physical and cultural, and of history and duration. Take a step to one side (the left, of course) and this is a hopeful vision of here-and-now, steeped in the matter of England and rooted in a timely evocation of Britain's essential diversity. With Bold as Love, Jones has joined the small number--the very small number--of fantasists (Mieville, Noon, Shiner, Waldrop) to write well about popular music. Among its many accomplishments, the novel perfectly captures and fondly ironises the romanticism and cynicism, idealism and solipsism of rock culture, the counterculture and science fiction, too.
If there are any TV producers out there with a little courage and imagination, and who are fed up with the endless cycle of costume dramas and regional cops, they should drop everything and snap up the option to adapt Bold as Love today.