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Fairyland [Paperback]

Paul McAuley
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
RRP: 8.99
Price: 7.53 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

3 Sep 2009

The 21st century.

Europe is divided between the First World bourgeoisie, made rich by nanotechnology and the cheap versatile slave labour of genetically engineered Dolls and the Fourth World of refugees and homeless displaced by war and economic upheaval. In London, Alex Sharkey is trying to make his mark as a designer of psychoactive viruses, whilst staying one step ahead of the police and the Triad gangs. At the cost of three hours of his life, he finds an unlikely ally in a scary, super-smart little girl called Milena, but his troubles really start when he helps Milena quicken intelligence in a Doll, turning it into the first of the fairies.

Milena isn't sure if she's mad or if she's the only sane person left in the world; she only knows that she wants to escape to her own private Fairyland and live forever. Although Milena has created the fairies for her own ends, some of the Folk, as fey and dangerous as any in legend, have other ideas about her destiny . . .


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Product details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Gollancz (3 Sep 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0575086580
  • ISBN-13: 978-0575086586
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 295,950 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

I'm the author of more than twenty books, including science-fiction, thriller, and crime novels, several collections of short stories, a Doctor Who novella, and an anthology of stories about popular music, which I co-edited with Kim Newman. My fiction has won the Philip K. Dick Memorial Award, the Arthur C. Clarke Award, the John W. Campbell award, the Sidewise Award, the Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award, and the British Fantasy Award for best short story.

Before I went over to the dark side and became a full-time writer, I worked as a research biologist in various universities, including Oxford and UCLA, and for six years was a lecturer in botany at St Andrews University. My chief research interest was symbioses between unicellular algae and coelenterates, including green hydra, sea anemones, and reef-forming corals. I'm still a huge fan of all things to do with science, and spend too much time tweeting about weird and wonderful stuff as UnlikelyWorlds; Time magazine listed me as one of their top 140 most interesting tweeters in 2013.

I live in North London, and haven't yet walked down every street in the A-Z. But I'm trying.

Product Description

Amazon Review

Having already made the final shortlist for the Arthur C. Clarke Award with his SF novels Eternal Light and Pasquale's Angel, Paul McAuley finally won this coveted prize with Fairyland. The title's hint of fey fantasy is blackly ironic: this is a streetwise cyberpunk future, replete with gene-hacking, instant designer drugs, and mind-warping viruses that function as "love bugs" or "loyalty plagues". One spinoff of genetic tailoring is a slave race of blue-fleshed "dolls", modified baboons made bright enough to do society's dirty jobs--until they're liberated by the unholy alliance of an idealistic child prodigy and a biologically savvy nerd, boosting them to thinking, evolving, breeding "fairies". And indeed the night becomes full of unwholesome magic and fanged terrors again, as this new race steps into the old mythological niche of the dark elves, attacking venomously from the trees and setting up their private fairyland in the decayed remains of a certain Magic Kingdom outside Paris... Though occasionally obscure and not quite plausible in all its plot details, Fairyland is a creepily effective nightmare of a world becoming increasingly chaotic under the stress of runaway biotechnologies, excessively deadly toys in the hands of people with no more common sense than children. Vivid and viscerally compelling. --David Langford --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Book Description

When gene hacker Alex Sharkey helps a super-smart girl turn a genetically-engineered doll into a new species he accidentally gives history a dangerous shove.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars My 100-word book review 27 Mar 2007
By A. J. Cull VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback
Set in a dystopian near future, Fairyland is filled with exotic and sinister technological wonders. Designer drugs, mind-altering viruses, savage "warewolves", personalities uploaded into virtual worlds. And, of course, there are the dolls, artificial beings created for humanity's amusement but which, like miniature Frankenstein monsters, become increasingly and alarmingly independent. Fairyland suffers from being a novel in three parts, with separate casts of minor characters, and this makes it rather disjointed. But the firecracker display of ideas is exhilarating, Alex Sharkey is a refreshingly atypical hero and, despite dating from over a decade ago, this novel remains relevant and enjoyable.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
"Fairyland" remains one of the most impressive works in post-cyberpunk fiction, conjuring a nightmarish vision of a near future Europe in which biotechnology has run amok, creating new species of humans designed for pleasure and violent sport. Paul J. McAuley's novel is a fast-paced thriller reminiscent of William Gibson and John Shirley's early cyberpunk novels in its pacing. Succumbing to the charm and vision of a megalomaniac brilliant young child, Milena, genetic engineer Alex Sharkey helps unleash a dire threat to humanity's existence, allowing "dolls" - bioengineered beings based on human DNA, designed for pleasure, slavery and wanton destruction in gladiator-like amusement games - the opportunity to think for themselves and understand the notion of free will. He will pursue these beings and other, similar, creatures across decades across a European landscape wasted by the ravages of war and poverty, searching for Milena and a means to ensure humanity's survival. Without question, "Fairyland" is still one of Paul J. McAuley's greatest works in fantasy and science fiction, demonstrating his great gifts in storytelling and writing.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing 15 Dec 2009
Format:Paperback
I love my sf. I found Mcauley while browsing waterstones on a dull wet day having neared the end of my previous read. It sounded promising, cyber-nano-faeries, what a great combination.
I'm also keen on not wasting my precious spare time draggin my eyes and mind through books that just dont do it for me. This is one of those books i'm afraid to say.
Its starts off well and you get a good feel for the character Alex and his (possibly induced) infatuation with Milena. Then part 2 arrives and it all goes a bit astray. Alex's character becomes watered down and theres no real sense of belief in any of the other characters that appear. Part 3 just confuses the situation even more. I haven't even finished it to be honest as I have lost all interest in it. The only thing I can say, as an aspiring writer (in those precious spare moments between life, hence the need for books to really enage, and not waste my time) is that if Mcauley can win an award for this then there is hope for all budding authors!
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An Enjoyable Science Fantasy Loses It’s Way 31 Dec 2003
By Jane Aland VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback
For two-thirds of its length Fairyland is an enjoyable character-driven science fantasy, but unfortunately it falls at the final hurdle with an overly obscure and anticlimactic ending. The central idea seems to be an expansion of McAuley’s earlier short story ‘Karl and the Ogre’ (collected in The King of the Hill) with it’s setting of a seemingly fantastic landscape created out of technology. The story centres around the evolution of genetically engineered dolls into fairies – part one showing the creation of the first fairy, with part two dealing with an early colony set up in the remains of the old Disneyland Paris. Both of these are expertly paced as the sympathetic characters draw the reader deeper into the mystery of fairy ‘Queen’ Milena, and paint a disturbing picture of a world where nanotechnology is capable of changing people’s perception on a massive scale.
This is excellent stuff, but unfortunately it all falls apart with a confusing finale concerning Milena’s quest for immortality. This muddled and unclear ending ensures the novel ends on a low point, which is a shame for a novel that promised so much. Fairyland also suffers in comparison with Richard Calder’s Dead Girls – another novel that tackles the idea of engineered dolls gaining their freedom, only with a lot more style and emotion. Fairyland is patchy and rather staid in comparison, but this is still an interesting read for sf fans.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
This book blew my mind. Without giving too much away.. it started like a detective novel, snaked its way through cyber-punk and blossomed into a treatise on the very nature of what it really means to be alive with our need for hopes, fears, symbols and myths.
In the not too distant future the boundaries blur between technology , mythology and magic. This is science fiction at its heady best and although somewhat slow to get into, I guarantee that by page 60 you'll never want to put it down. This book lives with you. Fabulous. If you enjoy it (and i know you will) also try Ice People by maggie gee and Child Garden by Geoff Ryman.
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