The Stone Gods
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The Stone Gods

3.67 of 5 stars 3.67  ·  rating details  ·  2,338 ratings  ·  334 reviews
"The Stone Gods is a vivid, cautionary tale--or, more precisely, a keen lament for our irremediably incautious species." Ursula K. Le Guin, "The Guardian" (UK)

A glimpse into unlikely love braved in the face of the void. 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 destr...more
Hardcover, 206 pages
Published by Hamish Hamilton (first published 2007)
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Ian
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...more
Pierce
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...more
Brad
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
Brian
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...more
Elf M.
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
Megan
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Tripp
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...more
Kristine
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...more
Jenny
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...more
Ben
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
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
Gary Foss
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...more
Kivrin Engle
"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,...more
Keegan
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...more
Tony
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
H.N.
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
Gina
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...more
Shellan
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...more
Adam
Nov 16, 2009 Adam rated it 4 of 5 stars
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...more
Betty
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...more
ellen
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...more
Imogen
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...more
Jillian
Jan 15, 2012 Jillian rated it 4 of 5 stars
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...more
Stephen
Miraculous. Simply miraculous. Like nothing I've read before nor ever will again. Fair warning: this novel is incredibly meta. I'm not sure I completely understood it. And that's okay for me, because I'm happy to re-visit it in the future. The story is engaging from start to finish, make no mistake. The language is visual to the point of being palpable. And Winterson clearly has something to say about our world, mankind and how we live. I fully intend to read her other works and treasure this ex...more
Oyster
What if humans could just start over somewhere else? Long the stuff of science fiction, the possibility of settling on another planet is starting to seem like a not too distant reality. Winterson’s cheeky version features two unlikely lovers on an epic journey through space and time as they strive to reach a mysterious blue planet that looks a lot like Earth did millions of years ago.
Colin
This book was alright. There were some sections of Winterson's typical flowery writing style that I liked. The story seemed to go downhill for me. By the end I was continually checking how many pages I had left. Even though I thought the book addressed interesting themes--corporate power, environmental destruction, class--I felt like I never actually got to really know the main character, and it was pretty didactic overall. It felt shallow, even though Winterson tries to explore the Deep Meaning...more
Michael
how does she do it? can she make anything, any story line, into something beautiful and inspiring and mind-tingling and arousing? this is definitely still Jeanette Winterson and her gorgeous writing, just with a corny, off-the wall, sci-fi plot line... when you read the inside cover, you can't help but ask yourself "what the...?" or perhaps simply "whoa!?" a, galactic circle of life/ apocalyptic/ history repeating itself kind of thing paired of course with love and eroticism and fantasy and hist...more
Zoe Brillante
jeanette has been one of my all time favourite authors and has given me so much inspiration and joy in my life. her language is such a beautiful one. it's been a long time since i read any of her work. while i really enjoyed the book and the theme is a very timely and important one, this book didn't burrow into me like her other works from the past. well maybe the sci-fi side of things just didn't take with me. it was fresh... the move from historical to futuristic, but i didn't feel the charact...more
Sonja
"all this has happened before and all of it will happen again"

i was not expecting this book to have so many themes in common with battlestar galactica. BUT I LOVE THAT IT DOES.

the jumps from one "reality" to the next were also unexpected and when i hit the second part i was like wtf is this but then it was just so well-written that i got excited again, so i'm keeping my 5 star rating. some lines are like a kick in the guts but i loved every minute of it.

everyone please read this. jeanette winter...more
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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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Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit Written on the Body Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal? The Passion Sexing the Cherry

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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.” 94 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.” 55 likes
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