The Child Garden (S.F. MASTERWORKS) Paperback – 11 Aug 2005
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'Angela Carter meets Derek Jarman's Jubilee in a Max Ernst landscape. Excellent' Time Out
From the Back Cover
In a semi-tropical London, surrounded by paddy-fields, the people photosynthesise. The Consensus, a vast DNA unit, oversees the country. The young are raised in Child Gardens and educated by viruses which control their behaviour. Nonconformism is ‘treated’. Information, culture, law and politics are now biological functions.
This is the story of Lucy, the immortal tumour, Joseph the Postman, whose mind is an information storehouse for others, and Milena an incredible musician, who has a secret, lost even to herself. Milena is resistant to viruses. It will make her one of the most extraordianry women of her age. Her secret is hidden somewhere – in the Child Garden.
“Remarkable … extraordinarily grotesquely convincing”
THE TIMES EDUCATIONAL SUPPLEMENT
“Ryman describes a decayed, over-populated London of magic and squalor and high science; if you read one novel this year, it should be this one”
LONDON EVENING STANDARD
“The rich texture of language and imagery are beautiful … Angela Carter meets Jarman’s ‘Jubilee’ in a Max Ernst landscape. Excellent.”
“I can’t imagine anyone not getting charmed doo-lally by this book. ”
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I found the later stages of the plot a bit confusing, and I don't think I agree with the conclusions. Certainly worth reading. Read morePublished 24 months ago by DB
A most unusual story. I like it for its interest, but find it a bit heavy going at times. Good condition purchase. Thank youPublished on 2 July 2014 by Jane
Lesbian polar bears, senile, immortal cancer-fuelled geriatrics, a totalitarian virus-educated society, and London in the far future. Nothing not to like! Read morePublished on 3 July 2010 by HeecheeRendezvous
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... Read morePublished on 19 Oct. 2004
If you have read the elegant and clever book 253 and are expecting more of the same, you'll be disappointed. Read morePublished on 28 April 2003