martha's Reviews > The Child Garden, or a Low Comedy

The Child Garden, or a Low Comedy by Geoff Ryman
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Dec 13, 14

bookshelves: 2010, apocalypses-dystopi
Recommended for: fans of Maureen McHugh
Read from February 28 to April 04, 2010

What an odd, interesting read. The world-building is fantastic: somehow a huge welter of disparate futuristic elements manages to fit together into a cohesive whole. A subtropical, Communist, vaguely medieval London; genetically modified photosynthesizing humans; hyperintelligent children; a governing, literal collective unconscious; Dante, opera, holograms, weird genetically mutated mental contagions, etc etc.

I really liked how the society was obviously problematic without being overly menacing -- it could easily have gone over the top into Orwellian/Brave New World territory, but instead stayed in more relatable waters, flawed but well-intentioned.

I enjoyed the second half more than the first, but my one big criticism would be that the second half -- a series of flashbacks and -forwards -- got really confusing because I couldn't tell (until the very end) which timeframe was supposed to be the present.

Bonus points for being scifi that explores queer issues: what's it like to be one of the only gay people in a homophobic society that's almost eradicated gayness?

Oh, and T.S. Eliot references, woo!
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Quotes martha Liked

Geoff Ryman
“Everything move...you wonder how it all knows where to go. Einstein wondered how birds knew where to migrate to. He thought they might follow lines of light in the sky. He saw everything as lines of light. That's how he was built. So we don't know how he moved, either. Any more than the birds. ”
Geoff Ryman, The Child Garden: A Low Comedy


Reading Progress

04/04/2010 page 330
85.05% "I thought I'd have trouble getting back into this after having to put it down for a while, but nope, it sucked me right back in."

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Kelly I'm trying to track down a copy of this book and I just realized I read another one of his books (Air) a couple years ago (part of the Dave Ring book exchange special) and you might enjoy it as well.


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