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Fairyland. Paul McAuley
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Fairyland. Paul McAuley

3.57 of 5 stars 3.57  ·  rating details  ·  606 ratings  ·  36 reviews
In the next century, an underground chemist becomes obsessed with Milena, a child genius who is the ultimate product of gene-splicing technology. Milena is an advocate of the dolls: artificial constructs that have replaced extinct companion animals. A magnificent novel of near future science fiction, this may establish McAuley as one of the hottest Sci Fi writers of our ti ...more
Paperback, 376 pages
Published September 1st 2009 by Gollancz (first published 1995)
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Mcauley offers up a slice of what could be called biopunk treading similar ground to Difilippo’s Ribofunk, but definitely punk as opposed to funky from characters quoting Talking Heads (the appropriate “Life during Wartime”) and listening to Bad Brains, to the despairing and nihilistic tone. A near future revolution of manufactured dolls like Calder’s Dead Trilogy or Rucker’s ‘ware trilogy but with the intense characters, muscular realism, and realpolitik of Lucius Shepard. A great stylistic ran ...more
A Memorable Post-Cyberpunk Novel Set in a Wasted, Near Future Europe

“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
Althea Ann
Fits firmly into the cyberpunk genre, with hints of Neal Stephenson influence.... However, I didn't really enjoy the 'feeling' of the book. I liked McAuley's Confluence trilogy much more than this novel.
Steve Grandpre
By far, the best cyberpunk book I've ever read. It explores the deep implications of the technology of its world, as every good sci fi book should. The tone is dark and a tad noir, and every mystery reveals deeper forces at work.

The main character starts of creating drugs out of custom crafted viruses that deliver tailored psychoactive effects. As time passes, customized viruses are obsoleted by programmed nanobots that interact with the brain on a molecular level. The technology is so accessib
Les romans de McAuley sont toujours assez indescriptibles. Celui-ci, toutefois, est assez clair.
Enfin, assez clair, assz clair, faut voir ...
Donc, ce roman se situe dans un futur proche, mais indéterminé. Le climat s'est suffisamment réchauffé pour faire de Londres une capitale au climat tropical, et des carpathes (où se finit le roman) une forêt subtropicale. Le progrès s'est comme d'habitude orienté dans des directions curieuses, qui cette fois-ci semblent être les biothechnologies dans leur e
I had to rate this book four stars purely because of the impressive scope and dazzling imagination of it, even though I probably only enjoyed it to a three-star degree. I'm not sure exactly why that is; I just found it a bit of a slog, particularly in the first two parts. I suppose it took me that long to figure out what was really going on—what the book was trying to do—and that made it difficult. I think it was also made a little difficult by the somewhat underdeveloped settings. The world as ...more
Roddy Williams
‘In the twenty-first century Europe is divided between the First World bourgeoisie, made rich by nanotechnology and the cheap slave labour of genetically engineered Dolls, and the Fourth World of refugees and the homeless, displaced by war and economic turbulence.

Alex Sharkey is trying to make his mark as a designer of psychoactive viruses in London whilst staying one step ahead of the police and Triad gangs. He finds an unlikely ally in a scary-smart but dangerous child named Milena, but his tr
Joe Zivak
Prva tretina bola slubna, preto pokracovanie tak sklamalo. Biopunk bol v nej uveritelny, autor je biolog, ale co sa rozputalo dalej uz bol jeden velky chaos bez logiky a poriadneho vyvrcholenia. Prvy problem nastal uz tam, ked autor skocil v pribehu o desiatky rokov vpred. Uplne tym zmenil svoj svet a celu tu zmenu sucho historicky opisal na desiatkach stranok, cim uplne zlikvidoval tempo z prvej tretiny. Najhorsie je, ze vsetky tie programovatelne nanovirusy sirene svetom boli vsemocne, menili ...more
Sharakael took me close to a year to finish this novel.

It started off nicely, nice pace, nice set up, intriguing characters... and just when I thought the novel's going to be plain awesome, it ended on that peak. Then it fast-forwards a number of years; new characters, new set up showing what had become of the world after the events in the initial segment... a majority of everything new, in fact, that it felt like the novel was rather disjointed.

The book is divided into 3 major segments (or was it 4
Alissa Thorne
The dyspepsia world of Fairyland is vivid in its filth and brutality. The technology introduced makes for compelling mechanics, and they build upon and play off of one another.

Sound like a great (albeit, unpleasant) book? Well, it was for the first two thirds. The book was broken up into three independent stories. The switch from "book" one to two felt like it added a lot of depth to the world, and that the main character grew and changed a lot. By contrast, the switch from two to three felt fr
Nicholas Whyte[return][return]A 1995 novel of the near future which won the Arthur C. Clarke Award (and I think also the BSFA). It's a pessimistic take on the post-nanotech future, particularly convincing on the relationship between high-tech computing and low-tech field combat in a very recognisable near-future Albania (yep, I've stayed in that hotel too). [return][return]I thought the settings were very convincing if rather gloomy - 1994-95 saw the height of the Bos ...more
Wow, surprisingly good mid-90s SF novel here! It's hard to recap, but McAuley basically revamps a lot of cyberpunk tropes to make them "biopunk," or a near future with biological engineering. Fairyland follows the liberation of a slave-class of "dolls" through the eyes of a gene-hacker, Alex Sharkey, medic, Morag, and journalist, Todd. I found the first section of the book pretty slow, but loved the second in which Morag fought to save a little boy abducted by the "fairies" (freed dolls) who liv ...more
I found this book very difficult to finish. I liked the premise, and I wanted to enjoy it, but there were a number of things that kept getting in the way. Initially, it was the heavy language - new words were thrown around with little context or explanation, though it was possible to pick up the general meanings over time. Then, it was the story line. It started well, but became plodding and erratic. I didn't feel a connection to the characters and by the end of it, I just wanted to get through ...more
Mark Harding

I picked up Fairyland because Adam Roberts recommended it as his ‘Clarke of Clarke’s’

I immediately stopped reading his review until I’d read the novel. And then after reading the novel, I foolishly (or very wisely) I read his review before writing my notes here.

So now I am silenced. Put in my place. Feeling shallow and inadequate and dense and insensitive.

The only bright spot is AR says Spenser’s ‘parfit gentle knight’, when, in fact, it was Chaucer. (Spenser is simply ‘A Gentle Knight’.)

After my first foray into key biopunk literature, Ribofunk, which surprisingly left me disappointed, I moved on to Fairyland.

I enjoyed the narrative much more than Ribofunk, which felt a bit too tongue in cheek for me to gain traction with any characters or story.

Fairyland was very enjoyable with a beautifully created world, although I found the plot dragged at times and although the world created wasn't, the story was largely forgettable.

Despite my disparaging remarks, I'd still recommend it p
A cyberpunk contemporary of Gibsons’s Neuromancer and Stephenson’s Diamond Age, Fairyland begins in a 21st Century London that has been drastically altered by climate change. Humans have developed live ‘dolls’ and mind altering nanotechnology that spreads like a virus. Andy is a gene hacker under the glamour of a brilliant girl who is the creation of a corporation. She convinces him to help her liberate the dolls and give them the ability to reproduce. What results impacts both cyberspace and a ...more
Miodrag Mitic
The story line is centered on new life forms evolving from genetically engineered "dolls" used as disposable slaves in a near future Europe. When read together with related short stories in the Invisible Country collection, it is very entertaining and rich in ideas. For example, psycho plagues are spread through the use of microscopic bots that alter behavior and personalities. They are used for mass manipulation and traded as illegal drugs. Yee haw!
Jedna z mala knih zanru ktery by se mohl jmenovat BioPunk nebo NanomachinePunk. Slusne napsane, mozna bych pridal pul hvezdicky, ale neni to uplne top. Pribeh dava smysl ale zpusob jeho podani, nektere postavy a jejich chovani jsou takove... divne. Jako by autor vedel co chce rict ale nebyl dost dobry na to aby to napsalopravdu dobre. Ale dost brblani, cetl jsem to podruhe a moc me to bavilo.
I bought this because the cover was absolutely gorgeous.

The book itself was absolute rubbish. Two-dimensional - no, make that ONE dimensional - characters and a plot that barely made sense. Maybe if you like hardcore science punk, this book is for you. It certainly wasn't for me. I struggled to finish it.
James Ward
Original ideas very well crafted. The book seems to be structured as three detailed pictures of a dystopia future spaced over several decades so I found it difficult to follow the plot in some cases. But the writing is spectacular for the genre and the "future" described holds up well even after nearly 20 years.
Liz Young
A post apocalyptic sci-fi based on a world which has mastered nano-technology and made the drugs to prove it. Slightly unnerving, but most of all, this story is waaaaay beyond me! A little too much techno-garble, and not enough straight lines of story. But Michelle, i think you might be able to handle it!
Mark Lacy
Dec 11, 2013 Mark Lacy marked it as abandoned  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: scifi
Abandoned 2/20/05 after about 100 pages. It could have been better if only there was a likeable or halfway decent character in the story, but I got tired of reading about all these nasty people doing nasty things to each other. Lots of violence. No character to identify with. Disappointing.
Very bizarre story about an underground gene-hacker and a megalomaniacal little girl in the ruins of future Europe. This was one of the very first books I ever released into the wild through Bookcrossing a few years ago. I haven't heard back from it yet...
Highly recommended by James McKee - so I thought I'd give it a go.

Good book - not great - maybe a bit too much hype/ Genetic engineering in a cyber punk setting - lots of great ideas, but no gosh wow o boy o boy factor from me.

Good read over all.
It's been over a decade since I read this book, but I still have fond memories. It's very captivating, and introduces the reader to a strange, yet possible future if we let bio-technology get out of control.
The first book I ever read by this author and it was phenomenal. Such detailed writing of intricate abstract ideas. I loved it, yet I have not really been absorbed by any of his other works.
2 stars for a book I finished and then wished I hadn't. Whatever it is with Paul J McAuley and I, no matter how well awarded or reviewed his books, I just don't like reading them.
Tough going, without much reward. A dark, dystopian future of genetic engineering gone mad. Sone great sequences in occasional bursts, but overall leaves too much unexplained.
Susan Klemetti
The high level of biotech, partly destroyed ecosystem and complete social chaos make for an intriguing world. However, the story was disappointing and difficult to finish.
Hmm. Enjoying it thus far. It could end up pissing me off, though. We will see.

It did. Grr. Should really be a 2 1/2 for the first wee bit.
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fairyland: good or excellent? 1 4 Nov 29, 2009 01:24AM  
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Since about 2000, book jackets have given his name as just Paul McAuley.

A biologist by training, UK science fiction author McAuley writes mostly hard science fiction, dealing with themes such as biotechnology, alternate history/alternate reality, and space travel.

McAuley has also used biotechnology and nanotechnology themes in near-future settings.

Since 2001, he has produced several SF-based tech
More about Paul J. McAuley...
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