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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Easily the best book I have ever read
The Child Garden is one of the few books I have read that has really moved me, and one of even fewer that I would instantly cite as the best book I have read in my life (and I've read quite a few!). The future it describes could be a dystopian commentary of our own society, but instead it's a story about people, who are ultimately the most important components of any...
Published on 30 Oct. 2001

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Great concept, great characters, great writing style, but ....
I found the later stages of the plot a bit confusing, and I don't think I agree with the conclusions. Certainly worth reading. If we had a finer scale to rate books I would give it about 3.8 stars.
Published 7 months ago by DB


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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Easily the best book I have ever read, 30 Oct. 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: The Child Garden (Paperback)
The Child Garden is one of the few books I have read that has really moved me, and one of even fewer that I would instantly cite as the best book I have read in my life (and I've read quite a few!). The future it describes could be a dystopian commentary of our own society, but instead it's a story about people, who are ultimately the most important components of any society. It's a future where people are still flawed and petty, and life is not easy of perfect, and that there are always some people who will stand out and make their mark on history. Milena is one such person, a heroine who grows up during the course of the book, and painted so well by Ryman that your perception of her changes as she does. For any London dweller the description the city with a coral reef and rice paddies, sub tropical temperatures and the night lit by oil lamps is one that will strike into the heart and awake the imagination. You cannot help but be touched by its depth, and a little haunted by the future that we could all inherit. Read it, you won't be sorry.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Intriguing and thought provoking, 5 Jun. 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: The Child Garden (Paperback)
In a future version of London (which still carries many curious echoes of our own age) global warming has produced a subtropical climate. Plant DNA introduced into human beings gives them the ability to photosynthesise (and an unnatural purple cast to their skins). People are educated by virus so that they literally catch learning (and propaganda) like a disease and the whole of society is governed by the Consensus - a kind of collective vegetable mind made up of democratic 'Readings' of peoples thoughts. Child Gardens are orphanages but they are symbolic of the whole society because life expectancy has been dramatically reduced so that in a sense everyone is a relative child. The death of childhood seems to be one of the underlying themes of the novel. Milena is an actress (amongst many other things) who has escaped her 'Reading' and is immune to the viruses. The book is the story of her life as she struggles with love (of an unusual kind) becomes the most significant artist of her day and finally has to confront the Consensus.
But enough of the plot. It's the colloquial dialogue and the matter of fact (almost banal) pieces of the novel which give it so much power. They offset the strange and grotesque elements until it all seems perfectly reasonable. Its kind of like East Enders wandering into a stage set from one of the better Dr. Who episodes and then just rolling up their sleeves and getting on with the same old soap opera (but the ending is far from banal). This novel could only have been written by a British author and for this British reader at least it is refreshing now and again to read science fiction that isn't centred on America.
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22 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Raw emotion, 7 July 2006
By 
Mr. J. J. Hawkins "scratlin" (Bristol, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Child Garden (S.F. MASTERWORKS) (Paperback)
What an incredible book this is! The premise outlined in the blurb is promising (children grown in gardens in a tropical london educated via viruses). Seems gloriously messed up and it is easy to happily resign yourself to an exploration of these themes and their ramifications...

Instead you will read of the emotional and physical journey of one of the most remarkable heroines in modern literature. It is through her that we are guided around this very odd world. There are some fantastic shifts in narrative pace and style. Apologies for ruining anything for you but there is a breathtakingly beautiful 50 page chapter which leaves you in such a tangle of emotions that you realise you are totally embroiled in the world of the book and the peaks and troughs of Milena. It is a blistering moment of clarity when all those little questions, that sci-fi books like to throw up, are given some kind of disjointed but final closure. The most fantastic thing about that chapter - indeed, the reason I am writing this review, is that the end leaves you only halfway through a book which you will remember forever. I have been searching for something new this heartfelt in sci-fi for a while and I have found it. Geoff Ryman is one to watch.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The secret of a good book, 19 Oct. 2004
This review is from: The Child Garden (Paperback)
Fantastic book!! I just wish I could have a chat with Geoff Ryman and clarify a few little questions in my mind -did it make perfect sense to everybody else when they read it as I think I was with it most of the time, but got slightly lost when they were putting on the show in space - I really enjoyed it though!!
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3.0 out of 5 stars Great concept, great characters, great writing style, but ...., 3 Sept. 2014
By 
DB "davidbirkett" (Co. Kildare, Ireland (but born & raised Liverpool, UK)) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Child Garden (S.F. MASTERWORKS) (Paperback)
I found the later stages of the plot a bit confusing, and I don't think I agree with the conclusions. Certainly worth reading. If we had a finer scale to rate books I would give it about 3.8 stars.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Chid Garden, 13 July 2010
By 
Mr. Roy Tomkinson (wales-uk) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Child Garden (S.F. MASTERWORKS) (Paperback)
This is a strange story with lots of very original themes, not always an easy read as it incorporates many time shifts. The end of the book is odd, it is a very personal thing to decide if it works. Worth reading as it is certainly different.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A love story in reverse, 3 Aug. 2001
This review is from: The Child Garden (Paperback)
It is years scince I read "Child Garden"- I think it was 9 years ago or thereabouts. I've re-read this masterpiece 3 times scince then. Each time I can't believe how much the book changes. Milena, the heroine, is fabulous. You will love the Bears and the decription of the eastend and the southbank in London.
Ryman's future London is hot, humid and covered in Rhodopsin (a photosynthetic chemical) and bamboo. People are almost dickensian and elaborate. The world has scaned the limits of genetic engineering and amongst this Milena looks for reality, love and truth. Stays with you.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A grim prognostication with a glimmer of hope, 24 Oct. 2009
By 
Ashvajit (Birmingham, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Child Garden (S.F. MASTERWORKS) (Paperback)
This was my first Geoff Ryman read, and a wholly fascinating one. Ryman takes us into a future of ecological and psychological disaster, in which the one redeemimg feature is the power of love. The book could be seen as a grim warning for humanity if it does not now take steps to avoid further pollution of the planet, and fails to understand the power of the mind for good and for evil and to educate its children to develop their minds accordingly. Worth every penny and every minute expended.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, Epic, imaginative and woefully tragic., 14 May 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: The Child Garden (Paperback)
Milena, milena is amazing, she lets yu into her world and then tortures you for a while, hurting herself and not even noticing. Geoff Ryman is an amazing writer, who can obviously become anyone, and write them truely. And what gorgeous chapter titles. And the singing virus, oh that little poem set to the teddie bears picnic tune is sheer wit. You must read this book.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Completely trippy., 3 July 2010
This review is from: The Child Garden (S.F. MASTERWORKS) (Paperback)
Lesbian polar bears, senile, immortal cancer-fuelled geriatrics, a totalitarian virus-educated society, and London in the far future. Nothing not to like! You might need a lie-down in between chapters to deal with it all.
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The Child Garden (S.F. MASTERWORKS)
The Child Garden (S.F. MASTERWORKS) by Geoff Ryman (Paperback - 11 Aug. 2005)
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