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The Stone Gods

3.68  ·  Rating Details ·  3,357 Ratings  ·  418 Reviews
On the airwaves, all the talk is of the new blue planet - pristine and habitable, like our own 65 million years ago, before we took it to the edge of destruction. And off the air, Billie and Spike are falling in love. What will happen when their story combines with the world's story.
Hardcover, 207 pages
Published April 14th 2008 by Hamish Hamilton (first published 2007)
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Apr 10, 2008 Ian rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
When I bought my copy of The Stone Gods, the bookseller told me two things: it had received strong reviews, and “It’s science fiction, you know.” I parried this last one with some fuzzy comment that much of Winterson’s fiction violates expectations, and we left it at that, both sounding smart and not having said much.

And then I started reading: sure enough, page after page, the thing read true to the sci-fi genre. And not just in the details: it sounded like sci-fi, it thought like sci-fi, it ev
Jean Menzies
Sep 22, 2015 Jean Menzies rated it really liked it
I may perhaps return to write a proper review of this book at some point; for now I am in tears.
Aug 01, 2008 Pierce rated it liked it
Okay, okay. This is tricky.

We all give ratings to books (and everything) within their genres. I do anyway. Five stars for this thing is not the same as five stars for that thing. But the problem with that is that the genres have to mean something. And be identifiable.

I have real thing for Jeanette Winterson. It dates back to Gut Symmetries, which I read at an impressionable time (maybe 17, though all my times are fairly impressionable). It was just beautiful and expansive and different and sent
Elf M.
Oct 30, 2011 Elf M. rated it it was ok
So, I’ve finished reading The Stone Gods by Jeanette Winterson, and my reactions are mixed, to say the least. My primary reaction was one of intense sadness: she really does believe that she’s braving new territory. She is completely unaware that she’s hacking through a jungle right next to a long, well-trodden road and the crew that’s building it is far, far ahead of her, and her course takes her away from the best conclusions. She’s off in a strange, dualistic universe in which robots come to ...more
Jun 27, 2008 Brian rated it it was amazing
As she did in "The Passion", Winterson displays her gift for punching the reader in the face, then kicking you in the heart, and you still come out of the experience saying, "Can someone read this to me, out loud?"

It's a critique of the modern world, a critique of the future (extrapolated from the modern world), a re-vamped look at the past, and then another critique of the future. Seriously.

Oh... also...? It's fantastic. Bleak, beautiful, poignant, hopeless, hopeful... and definitely not for th
I must have a special talent in finding really weird books. Really, really weird. This particular one is not only weird; it’s also kinky, almost pornographic. But the story behind all these peculiar things it will shatter your heart; it will depress and break you to pieces.

It’s also the most acid attack on today society I ever encountered in a story. It has so much virulence in those words that you’ll feel them like a slap in your face.

Up until about 30% I found it somewhat amusing and I thought
I am a car in neutral with my wheels in a metal track, covered in the mud and salt and grime of the roads that scar Orbus, Planet Blue, Earth. I am dragged into position; the chemicals hit my shell. Acidic, corrosive, an unsubtle back and forth to knock loose the corruption I've picked up in my travels. The wash cares not at all about delicacy. It shoots it fine mist of torture and hustles me into the frame. Once in that frame, that frame of hanging, dangling mitters, multi-coloured tassels, twi ...more
Gary Foss
Aug 23, 2015 Gary Foss rated it it was amazing
Shelves: epic-pick, re-read
The bad news: If you haven’t read Jeanette Winterson yet then your life has been, hitherto, a waste.

The good news: Not to worry; it’s not too late. There’s plenty of her work around and you can get started putting your life in order right away.

More good news: Her work is short. Generally, her books run 150-200 standard sized pages. In these days of children’s books with five or six times as much verbiage, that’s quite brief. However, her work isn’t a quick read. Oh, I’m sure you could blow throu
Nov 06, 2012 Kristine rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Yeah. What to say.

On the plus side, the last chapter has some funny parts, and the protagonist sort of gets a happy ending.

On the minus side, from beginning to end this reads like a bunch of liberal hand-wringing about sexism, government/corporate control, and the exploitation of nature and of other humans. Don't get me wrong, I'm a liberal, and I do plenty of hand-wringing myself, but this was a little over the top. Really, the characters were pretty uniformly flat and uninteresting, though tha
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Maybe I just didn't get this book, but I definitely didn't enjoy it.

The start was somewhat promising, it had potential to be a good story with a powerful message but I feel like after the halfway point the author sort of dropped the ball. The book then became confusing and disjointed for me.

I also felt like there was a little too much time spent on the message the author was trying to put in and too little on the story. I didn't feel connected to the characters and neither did I feel like I ever
Sep 14, 2008 Jenny rated it it was amazing
Winterson leaves me astounded. Her prose is simply fantastic - I am amazed at how she makes the simplest observations read like poetry, and what could be a very fatalistic narrative is instead deeply seeded with hope.

Early on in this book, I was thinking I would rate it four stars, since I felt that though truly engaging, and in her wonderful style, her book, "The Passion" was a superior work. I've changed my mind. This is as good as "The Passion". Wholly different, but just as good. It almost
Mar 31, 2008 Tripp rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
eanette Winterson's latest novel, the Stone Gods, is a dark mix of 1984, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep and the Cloud Atlas. Despite the fact that her characters state they don't like science fiction and she herself says she hates it in this interview, the book is very much a science fiction novel. It is fixed on ideas, but would be comfortably shelved in either the literature or the science fiction sections of the bookstore.

The book's principal idea is that human society is pre-disposed to
Mar 25, 2012 Keegan rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012
Here's the thing: science fiction is always...ALWAYS heavy handed social commentary. It was designed that way by the early pioneers: Zamyatin, Orwell, etc. This is why so much science fiction is dystopian: because the author's only see negative outcomes from the actions of people today.

When I started reading The Stone Gods, I was ready for it, and Winterson includes the usual suspects: abuse of the planet and natural resources, suspicious wars against technologically weaker races, the hubris of
Oct 30, 2008 H.N. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My local library has this shelved in the Sci Fi section. The bookstore where I work at one point moved this to Sci Fi (my section to maintain), but I moved it back to the regular fiction section. Why? I'll stand by my determination that I don't think this is a work of genre fiction - it uses the tropes, and it uses the fantastic, but in essence it's still a work of Jeanette Winterson's dreamy, ephemeral fiction. We live in a sci fi world - much of which is explored in this book - where we can't ...more
A very pleasant surprise. Wonderfully written and a joy to read.

It is a hard book to say much about without spoiling major parts. I will say that if you are reading this because it is "science fiction", don't give up on it too quickly. The first part of the book is pretty clumsy in the SF department but that is to be expected from someone who makes it clear that she is not a science fiction fan. Just keep reading until the end and trust me that it will all make sense.
Frederick Masterman
Feb 28, 2010 Frederick Masterman rated it really liked it
This satirical, sad, and often poetic presentation of the human condition is described in three short stories (or three and a half), all linked by a protagonist of the same name, though the three time periods (past, present, future) are far from each other. The author chooses the name Billie Crusoe for the protagonist in all three(female in the first and last, male in the second), and the famous castaway’s dilemma of survival hovers behind it all, with even a “Friday” character as a guide in the ...more
Kivrin Engle
Mar 13, 2010 Kivrin Engle rated it it was amazing
"Everything is imprinted for ever with what it once was" is the final line in this stunning novel.

So, Winterson would tell us, Read closely. Planet Blue, Easter Island, Post-3 War. There is a connection between these three scenarios-these three apocalyptic tales-these three love stories. Life is repetition. Can humans learn from the mistakes of the past? Winterson unfolds all at once, a cautionary tale, a survival story, and a complicated, exquisitely written novel on what it means to be human,
May 05, 2012 Tony rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This book strikes me as a very good example of a mainstream "literary" fiction writer experimenting with genre, and failing horribly. Winterson is a highly respected, award-winning English author, and many friends of mine love her writing. However, this foray into speculative fiction ventures into thematic territory (namely the essentially destructive nature of humanity, both with regards to each other and the natural world) that's been deeply explored, and displays all the traits of the worst k ...more
Jun 10, 2008 Gina rated it it was amazing
What a daunting task, writing a review of a Jeanette Winterson book, and this book is so prolix, I may just start with a few paragraphs and then add on as ideas begin to formulate.

Let's start with form: it is a sci-fi, anti-Utopian, satire, biography, lyric poem.

Here's my synopsis of the plot, maybe. Part I is called "Planet Blue" and the characters are aboard a spaceship leaving Orbis (Earth) which has finally succeeded in annihilating itself. Planet Blue is populated by dinosaurs, so the M
Feb 07, 2016 Yasmeen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Oh Jeanette Winterson. How I love your crazy and beautifully written meanderings.

I don't know that she's saying much that's new here- yeah, we should probably stop polluting, yeah, nuclear weapons are pretty horrifying, yeah, as a society we're way too obsessed with looking a specific way, looking younger, doing things faster. And yes, AI might evolve faster than we can deal with. Lots of people have dealt with this stuff, and lots of people have done it very well. But The Stone Gods stands out
Jan 30, 2014 Shellan rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Ich hatte nach dem Text bei Amazon wirklich hohe Erwartungen an dieses Buch ....

Das Cover ist wirklich schön und besticht mit einer wirklich tollen Aufmachung die den Leser einfach anzieht.

Billie ist unsere Protagonistin. Sie ist eine Wissenschaftlerin und irgendwie gleichzeitig eine kleine Öko-Tante, was sich in meinen Augen irgendwie widerspricht. Ihre Gefühle sind erst ein Rätsel und dann wie ein offenes Buch. Es ist ziemlich schwierig noch mehr über sie zusagen, bei dem Schreibstil.

Auch über
In the face of a crumbling world similar to ours, Jeanette Winterson's Stone Gods teaches that history is most unkind to those who fail to learn from past mistakes.


I wouldn’t say there’s so much of a plot as there is a theme. The theme of the book is that humans are consistently destroying our habitats and we’re not learning from past mistakes. This lesson takes place over three different time periods, all with the same lesson. It’s a good theme, in theory, to explore, but rarely do authors
Nov 16, 2009 Adam rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Feminists, Dystopia Fans
Recommended to Adam by: Dawn Lunan
I'm not really sure what to write. This is closer to 3.5 than 4 in my opinion, but it's not average so I have to give it the extra star.

Wonderful in that marvelously dystopian way. Though I disagree with some of the messages that Jeanette Winterson tries to convey. Maybe I'm too hopeful for her dystopia.

Or maybe I'm just a man which Winterson isn't very... fond of? I'm not sure that that is the best term, but others are slightly too harsh.

The novel chalks up a lot of the world's problems by indi
Sep 21, 2009 Betty rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Circles in circles, which is the beginning and which is the end?

What would we do if we found a new world? Is there any good answer to this question? Would any group come to agreement? Would the answer be based on greed? The question is asked via example in this quixotic, fascinating story of "Post-3 War" (decades or possibly centuries later): inspiration, desolation, promise, disappointment, and cleverly woven past, present, future. Amazing and horrifyingly possible, this book is whimsical and h
Feb 25, 2013 Jim rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This novel is beautifully and poetically written with rare wit. Billie Crusoe, a disillusioned enhancement officer, where depression should no longer exist, meets a beautiful robot, Spike (the first robo sapiens) and together they head for a blue planet which offers hope for a world which has been slowly destroying its own planet. The book could come over as preachy if you don t share the author's concern for the environment, but for those sympathetic to her views we can say "amen!". The Stone G ...more
Jan 23, 2009 ellen rated it it was ok
Jeanette Winterson is one of my favorite authors. The Passion is one of my favorite books of all time, but I found this book to be lacking, much in the way of a favorite band branching off in some new direction and simply not striking the chord that made you love them in the first place. You still love their voices, and there's a glimmer of the past greatness about them, but it still falls short.

Perhaps it's my general dislike of the Science Fiction genre or my discomfort with the preachy / pol
Mar 30, 2008 Imogen rated it really liked it
After all the identity blurring and timeline overlapping in her work, nobody was surprised when Jeanette Winterson turned into Angela Carter.

I don't know whether this will replace the Passion or Lighthousekeeping as one of my top favorites of hers. I mean, it's way better than the Powerbook or Gut Symmetries, in my way less than humble opinion, but I honestly can't predict whether it'll stick like my favorites of hers. It's beautifully constructed, though, it's a great idea, it's science fictio
Jan 15, 2012 Jillian rated it really liked it
Recommended to Jillian by: H.N.
Shelves: sci-fi
There are some books you love because the story is so good, and others because the writing is so beautiful. And some have both! This book isn't really a gripping page-turner, but it's beautiful and sad and lovely. Jeanette Winterson is fantastic.

The premise of the novel is repeating history - how the same thing can happen over and over again, in different times and possibly planets. Humans never seem to learn from their mistakes. In each part of this novel, a character with the same name (differ
Jen Doucette
Jul 23, 2015 Jen Doucette rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I picked up this book because the writing reminded me of a favorite student's writing in my class.

But I kept reading for its lyricism.

The story is told in different times and settings, but with similar characters each section. The plot guides us to question our culpability in the destruction of our resources and the way we blindly follow corporations.

This book made me cringe, want to put it down forever, made me cry and think and read and reread. I changed my mind many times but determined at
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Sci-Fi & Fantasy ...: March/April 2015 Group Read:The Stone Gods 15 21 Mar 31, 2015 07:07PM  
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Novelist Jeanette Winterson was born in Manchester, England in 1959. She was adopted and brought up in Accrington, Lancashire, in the north of England. Her strict Pentecostal Evangelist upbringing provides the background to her acclaimed first novel, Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit, published in 1985. She graduated from St Catherine's College, Oxford, and moved to London where she worked as an assi ...more
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“What it means to be human is to bring up your children in safety, educate them, keep them healthy, teach them how to care for themselves and others, allow them to develop in their own way among adults who are sane and responsibile, who know the value of the world and not its economic potential. It means art, it means time, it means all the invisibles never counted by the GDP and the census figures. It means knowing that life has an inside as well as an outside. And I think it means love.” 108 likes
“For my part, I think we need more emotion, not less. But I think, too, that we need to educate people in how to feel. Emotionalism is not the same as emotion. We cannot cut out emotion - in the economy of the human body, it is the limbic, not the neural, highway that takes precedence. We are not robots...but we act as though all our problems would be solved if only we had no emotions to cloud our judgement.” 62 likes
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