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Bold as Love (Bold as Love, #1)
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Bold as Love (Bold as Love #1)

3.52  ·  Rating details ·  212 Ratings  ·  32 Reviews
Three extraordinary people in some most extraordinary times: It's Dissolution Summer and as the United Kingdom prepares to break up into separate nations, the Counterculturals have gathered for a festival where everything's allowed. Among them is a talented little brat called Fiorinda, rock and roll princess by birth, searching for her father, the legendary Rufus O'Niall. ...more
Mass Market Paperback, 405 pages
Published May 9th 2002 by Gollancz (first published January 1st 2001)
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Rating details
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2.5 stars. A very original novel and unlike anything else I have read to date. The world created by Jones of a future Britian falling into anarchy is intriguing. That said, the prose and the characters were a little hard to get into and the plot was a little too "all over the place" for me to rate it higher.

Winner: Arthur C. Clarke Award (2002)
Nominee: Bristish SF Assn Award (2002)
Nominee: Locus Award Best Fantasy Novel (2002)
Jun 12, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sf-fantasy
Generally I am only adding books as I read them, but I thought I would throw this in there, because it is unlikely that anyone will find it without being told to go look for it...

OK, so in the mid eighties when I discovered Gene Wolfe (the shadow of the torturer series, etc.) I was totally blown away, but it was literally another 10 years before I came across another person who liked him... Then all the sudden he is well known and respected.

I feel the same way now about Gwyneth Jones as I did Wo
Rachel (Kalanadi)
Aug 16, 2017 marked it as did-not-finish  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: winners-clarke
DNFing at 15%

In the abstract, this sounded like a cool book. Rockstars as revolutionaries get involved in politics, a "pop-icon team that's supposed to make the government look cool."

In the reality, this left me cold. I didn't like the characters, the story, the writing, or pretty much anything. Also, as I have suspected for a while (but now it's confirmed), I really hate reading about the indie music / hippie rockstar scene and music festivals. And there are a lot of screwed up dirty hippie mus
Catherine  Mustread
From Christmas Critics.:
If submerging yourself in a fully furnished fictional world that goes on and on is more to your taste, you can do no better than to seek out the hard-to-find Bold as Love series by Gwyneth Jones. Think of it as a quest. For a free taste, check out the series Web site, a multimedia work of art in its own right, at The five novels take their titles from Jimi Hendrix's song list, and they tell the story of a near-future "Dissolution" of England, in whic
Mar 20, 2011 rated it liked it
(7/10) This book was published in 2001, but it seems like a relic of the 60s and 70s, taking seriously the idea that rock and roll can change the world. That's not a bad thing, just kind of odd. Bold as Love rests on the improbable idea of a bunch of counterculture rockers taking over the government of England and trying to steer it through crisis after crisis.

The larger point is that this is a kind of mock epic, in which the Arthurian saga is retold through the lens of rock and rebellion, and i
Apr 07, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
This book knocked my socks off. It's not what I expected. Looking at the back of the book, I figured "Rock Stars take over England, it'll be a romp." No. This is an often brutal and savage book, with many scenes of tenderness as well. This is a strong, character driven novel with plenty of plot twists and political turmoil.
There are three protagonists , although Fioridna gets the most Point of View time, especially at the start. She is a singer at war with the founder of her own band, but that'
Nov 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing
A brutally, beautiful and lyrical novel that cast its shadow far and wide.
As a science-fiction novel it predicts all number of events and inventions that have to pass. In terms of concepts and delivery, it is a finely tuned machine that depicts our ugly times in a mirror that I can only call ‘truth’. What William Gibson did to science-fiction, Jones has done to science fiction-fantasy, only she did it a decade and a half ago.
Perfectly paced and intelligently written, Bold as Love (Bold As Love
Mar 25, 2014 rated it liked it
This was a very strange book. The premise seems crazy to me. Yes, I can believe societal breakdown caused by climate change and computer viruses, but I can't see how teenage and twenty-something musicians would end up as the leaders. The writing was also all over the place -- some party tightly written, others confusing and sloppy. I am still not sure if I want to read the next book.
Jun 05, 2009 rated it really liked it
Wow - the first book in a long time I've read and had to immediately get hold of the next title - the cliffhanger had something to do with it, but it's a pretty astounding near-future post economic collapse fantasy. I got it for the Arthurian tropes but was blown away by the whole package.
In an alternate very-recent-past or very-near future Zaphod, Ford and Trillian are all music stars, form a sweetly complicated but stable threesome, and have inherited a half-arsed kind of coup kicked off by the Sex Pistols. Or maybe Oasis.

Bold as Love was a strangely beautiful read (predominantly late at night). The premise and incidental ideas interesting, the details often grim or downright nasty, the plot meandering, and the prose veering between elegaic and punchy. It was a little like read
Mar 30, 2010 rated it it was ok
Shelves: sf
I had high hopes for this, despite the appauling blurb on the back making it sound like a teenage romance novel, but I'm afraid to say that it disappointed me big time.

This is essentially an extrapolation of near future of Britain in which the United Kingdom breaks up into seperate states and an ever more popular and dominant Counter Cultural Movement (CCM) causes the monachy to fold and get replaced by the "leaders" of the CCM who become the head of state (but with real power): Rock stars! The
Sep 21, 2011 rated it liked it
Gwyneth Jones tells a story of three rock frontpersons, a fairy-like and magnetic young woman, strong leadsinger/guitarist politico and dangerously hypnotic soundscpae wizard, who are swept away into nation wide intrigue. Jones can be seen to explore the myth of rock/pop as a revolutionary force that can be used to change the society around it, a bit like not-so-sunny version of the hippie generation dream in a largely modern world filled with bits of magic.

The book explores the semi-realistic r
Ian Massey
May 29, 2013 rated it did not like it
I bought this during a period when I was picking up books based on end-of-year recommendation lists from various sources, in this case the BSFA. A combination of two things I love (music and science fiction) and a winner of the Arthur C. Clarke award - how could it possibly not be worth reading.

In fact, this is a clear example of why I should probably a) stick with what I know I like and b) not rely on awards and recommendations. It just didn't engage me at all. The SF is minimal - apart from on
Maria Longley
Dec 28, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2016, fa, sci-fi-fantasy
Bold as Love is a near-future fantasy that was written in 2001 but due to Brexit reading about the Dissolution of the British countries felt a bit more nearer-future now. This is a wild, odd book, and I don't find these very often so I really enjoyed reading this (even when it got a bit gory). In a bid to hold England together rock stars have been recruited to prop up the government, but things go awry and soon rock stars are seemingly the only thing holding the country together while facing a c ...more
Rena McGee
Oct 14, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Gwyneth Jones is a great writer, and I find her work in general very readable, even if a lot of the time they are only one time reads. (This is not the case with this book. I have read and re-read this book dozens of times.) Bold as Love is a near future science fantasy with a chilling motif that borrows heavily from the fairytale type where the king tries to marry his own daughter (such as Donkeyskin, Allerleiruah, and so on). In general, child abuse and child endangerment is a recurring theme ...more
Katie M.
May 27, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: fantasy lovers, environmentalists, anglophiles, rock stars, everyone
This book is extraordinary. It's premise is original: in a near-future England the summer the UK breaks up voluntarily, a bunch of rock stars end up trying to hold the country together after a coup topples the power structure. Sounds a bit ridiculous, but Jones draws you in with inventive yet believable worldbuilding and vivid characterizations. This novel is the unlikely but enthralling lovechild of dystopian sci-fi, Arthurian legend, an environmentalist protest rally, and a rock festival. It's ...more
Gregory Sotir
Apr 06, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
The characters and setting seemed way too contrived and stuck in some MTV wonderland. Maybe it's a Londontown thing. I found my mind wandering way too much while reading it, and had to reread passages to get back into the flow of the characters oh so hip and oh so transgressive misadventures. But it seemed to me like an amphetamine rush, and I never really liked speed anyways...

I am using a lot of slang here in the same way that I found Jones to.

I found the text overwrought, overwritten, and too
Dec 24, 2015 rated it really liked it
A bunch of rock-stars, assorted hippies and artists get involved in politics as the British Isles implodes and the world turns to crud. An Arthurian tale of gigs and festivals taking the place of political rallies as our anti-heroes try to hold the country (and themselves) together in the face of a slow apocalypse. Sounds like a ridiculous premise but is nowhere near as daft as it sounds. The story is original, the writing is superb and the main characters and their various stories are enthralli ...more
Feb 12, 2009 rated it it was ok
Shelves: urban-fantasy
This was very odd. A futuristic dystopian fantasy with rock stars, it was too strange for me to really enjoy it, unfortunately.

As the political structures of England fall apart, violent coups occur and alternative regimes rise up, with our Arthurian-inspired trio, Fiorinda, Ax and Sage rising to lead the people. And give concerts and inspire the people along the way.

It's not dreadful, certainly, and I quite like Jones' writing style and her quirky characters - but this plot was too vast and wei
Jan 30, 2012 rated it really liked it
Deeply weird, beautifully written near-future dystopia that also pays abstract homage to Arthurian legends. Music and art, technology, religion and environmental collapse are the hinge points with civilization in flux. Also very, very British, in the best way.

Hard to find in the U.S., but the first four books are free PDF at

Warning: explicit and sometimes disturbing content.

(review is for entire 5-book series)
Oct 02, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf
Strange but interesting. The setting was oddly retro (so many hippies), and the pace was meandering but the premise was fascinating. I did think there was a gratuitous use of child sexual exploitation though and some other parts seemed a bit on the gory side. Overall - very different but infrequently revolting.
Nov 10, 2008 rated it did not like it
I couldn't finish this book. While I normally enjoy a vision of a dystopian future, I couldn't get into this one. I didn't care about the characters, the context didn't interest me, and the writing failed to keep my attention. I even begrudge the $.50 it will cost me for turning it in late at the library.
Dec 15, 2011 rated it liked it
I have just closed this book and I genuinely don't know if I liked it or not. I enjoyed the characters and I actually grew to like the dystopian near-future setting, but it was just so... rambling and plotless. A bunch of incidents occur (that are quickly dealt with) and the narrative shuffles on but nothing really happens in 250+ pages.
Sep 03, 2013 rated it did not like it
I found this to be tedious and caricature-ridden, yet trying too hard to escape stereotypes. I felt like every page was a slog and found myself counting the pages til the end every few minutes. I never engaged with the characters or situation and clearly never felt the magic that other readers seemed to experience. Two thumbs down.
Jada Roche
Sep 06, 2014 rated it liked it
what a weird, oddly compelling book. truly different. Would have been fantastic with a good editor. found myself frustrated in many parts, feeling lost in dialogue and annoyed by grammatical or printing errors.
Kirstyn McDermott
Apr 03, 2012 rated it liked it
For an in depth discussion of Bold As Love, please listen to my podcast, The Writer and the Critic, episode 5.
Elizabeth McDonald
May 31, 2009 marked it as to-read
Recommended to Elizabeth by: Katie
Apparently this isn't actually available in the US, so it might well sit on this to-read shelf for a while...
Nov 02, 2012 added it
I think I'm in love with Gwennyth Jones, but I know I'm in love with Fiorinda. The guitar slinging redhead has a new fan. Jimi Hendrix would be proud of his influence, and I know I'm hooked.
Sep 15, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: adult-literature
While I found myself not very invested in the plotline itself, the characters were amazingly well-written and slightly more than 3D, as befits rock stars.
Karen Dolman
Jun 23, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Arthurian tales with rock music! What more could I ask for...
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Gwyneth Jones is a writer and critic of genre fiction. She's won the Tiptree award, two World Fantasy awards, the Arthur C. Clarke award, the British Science Fiction Association short story award, the Dracula Society's Children of the Night award, the P.K.Dick award, and the SFRA Pilgrim award for lifetime achievement in sf criticism. She also writes for teenagers, usually as Ann Halam. She lives ...more
More about Gwyneth Jones

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Bold as Love (6 books)
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