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Unconquered Countries
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Unconquered Countries

really liked it 4.0  ·  Rating details ·  95 Ratings  ·  7 Reviews
From his stories in the Hugo Award winning Interzone, via Was, his examination of the reality and fantasy behind The Wizard of Oz, to his bestselling hypertext novel 253, Geoff Ryman has conducted a series of dazzling experiments with the very nature of storytelling. Through this restless innovation, he has constantly explored the gulf between appearance and truth, the way ...more
Published (first published 1987)
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Mar 16, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: sf-fantasy
The four novellas in this collection range from hard sci-fi (“Fall of Angels”) to Gibsonesque new media obsessions (“Fan”), to futuristic holocaust spec fiction (“O Happy Day”), to a pretty clear allegorical fantasy of wartime Cambodia (“Unconquered Countries”.)

Ryman’s strength as a writer seems to be his ability to depict the full emotional/psychological landscape of his protagonists, complete with their short comings and personal failings, and he seems to do a particularly good job when his p
This is a collection of four novellas: "A Fall of Angels, or On the Possibility of Life Under Extreme Conditions," "Fan," "O Happy Day!" and "The Unconquered Country." The last was published under its own cover, and I read it before, but the rest were new to me. "The Possibility of Life Under Extreme Conditions" could summarize most of these novellas, and indeed much of Ryman's work. There is a blurb from a review by science fiction writer Eileen Gunn on the back cover, and I'm going to let Ms. ...more
Mar 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I found all the novellas in this collection very satisfying. "A Fall of Angels" was my favorite. It broke my heart. Love it when a book does that. "Fan" was a very satisfying tale of fixation. "O Happy Day" was brutal. "The Unconquered Country" had these great walking houses! I would put the last tale as my second favorite. All of these stories brought forth emotional response from me. It is so rare that I read a collection, even one this small (in number of stories) and close the book stating i ...more
Sep 29, 2010 rated it really liked it
Excellent collection of SF short stories. Best in my opinion is The Fan, which appears to be about Daniel O'Donnell (touch of Wizard of Oz in there too). Ryman writes very well indeed. He has an incredible imagination plus the logic required to make his worlds seem possible.
Dec 02, 2012 rated it it was ok
Unconquered Countries is a collection of four stories. The collection is named after the most famous: The Unconquered Country which won the World Fantasy Award, and has been published as a separate stand alone novel. The other three stories are straight up Sci-Fi. What all four stories have in common is that they are very depressing ;).
The Unconquered Country is really more Science Fantasy than pure Fantasy. It is more of an alternative world SE Asia where machines are organic and can be grown,
Jun 05, 2010 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Kristen, Kelly
Shelves: genre, short-stories, 2010
My previous experience with Geoff Ryman can be boiled down to: great concepts, when I understand what the hell is going on, so I worried this book of novellas might be the same. Happily, the stories were all way more comprehensible than I'd worried, and the concepts were just as original.

My favorite story was probably the last one, "Unconquered Country", about war in a futuristic Cambodia; the worldbuilding -- personal story layered over cultural context layered over the scifi elements -- remind
Jun 24, 2010 rated it liked it
A mixed bag of sci-fi shorts. It's been awhile but the story that sticks in my mind from this collection is "A Fall of Angels". Ryman is a writer with a unique voice and vision and is always worth reading, even if it is just to dip in and experience some of his ideas.
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Geoffrey Charles Ryman (born 1951) is a writer of science fiction, fantasy and slipstream fiction. He was born in Canada, and has lived most of his life in England.

His science fiction and fantasy works include The Warrior Who Carried Life (1985), the novella The Unconquered Country (1986) (winner of the British Science Fiction Award and the World Fantasy Award), and The Child Garden (1989) (winner
More about Geoff Ryman...