Zach's Reviews > The Child Garden

The Child Garden by Geoff Ryman
Rate this book
Clear rating

's review
Aug 17, 2010

it was ok
bookshelves: post-apocalyptic, science-fiction
Read from August 17 to 26, 2010

That rare combination of great writing and truly imaginative worldbuilding, and yet... The Child Garden takes place at some unspecified point in the future, when the Earth has warmed to the point that London has become a subtropical area protected from the sea by a human-made Barrier Reef, and 100 years after a worldwide communist revolution (and also the failure of electricity) has ushered in a new era of Foucauldian discipline, as we are repeatedly told that this is a population so conditioned not to break the law that a police force is no longer necessary. Did I mention that everyone has been flooded with viruses that inform their knowledge and actions, and make them purple so they photosynthesize, and other people have been genetically engineered into "Polar Bears" who live in the Antarctic to mine the world's last iron? I was never sure how seriously I was supposed to take this book, but I have a sinking feeling that the answer is "very seriously."

So we have this great evocative writing in this (mostly, if somewhat ridiculous) great world, and the plot is that... the main character is a Unique Individual, and she wants to, well... stage an opera? Based on Dante's Comedy. In space. Furthermore everyone else wants her to do this too, so the only real conflict is when she fires her lighting person and the latter goes insane and tries to kill her or drive her to suicide or commit suicide herself, because she wants to be a part of this opera. I know, it sounds like a joke.

Further, this is all put to use in order to beat the reader over the head repeatedly with the message that socialism is like, a terrible virus of laziness that crushes the creative spirit, and that it's up to those few gifted Creative Individuals to teach everyone else the error of their ways, which is a really important and meaningful message that we all need to zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
19 likes · flag

Sign into Goodreads to see if any of your friends have read The Child Garden.
Sign In »

Reading Progress

08/26/2010 page 315
79.0% "I'm starting to think this book will never end." 1 comment

Comments (showing 1-3 of 3) (3 new)

dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Ibrahim (new)

Ibrahim Z a+

message 2: by (new) - rated it 1 star Worm We just finished this book for book club. We all agreed it was a chaotic and tortured read. This review sums it up nicely.

Zach "Chaotic and tortured" indeed!

back to top