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March Books 1) Air

1) Air (or Have not Have), by Geoff Ryman

I mostly agree with Geneva Melzack and Iain Emsley, and where I differ from them I agree with Claude Laumière. This is a great novel about the changes wrought in our world by the new communications technology. Unlike most such novels, rather than fixating on the technology itself, Ryman looks at what the coming information revolution will mean to ordinary people living ordinary lives. Unlike any other such story I have read, his characters are not teenagers living in Western affluence, but villagers in a fictional Central Asian country, at the intersection of the Turkic and Chinese cultural spheres, in other words about as far from the West as you can culturally get in today's world. I thought it was fascinating and compassionate.

However. Ryman is a proponent of the "mundane science fiction" school and oddly enough the two most problematic elements for me in the book for me were the two most fantastic ones. The physical flood threatening to overwhelm the village threatened to be a rather overstated echo of the metaphorical deluge of the new technology, but I think Ryman just about got away with it in the end. The heroine's bizarre pregnancy, however, just did not work for me.


( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 4th, 2006 11:32 am (UTC)
I hav a theory that pregnancy is what the book is all about. if I can find my old review, I'll link..
Mar. 4th, 2006 01:41 pm (UTC)
What did you think of The Child Garden?
Mar. 4th, 2006 03:40 pm (UTC)
Haven't read it.
Mar. 5th, 2006 03:12 pm (UTC)
I liked Air a lot, except for the bizarre pregnancy, and the Akira-powers, both of which seemed out of place to me.

I thought the idea of the pregnancy was fine - and have the child changed by Air was a good idea, but it didn't seem to fit into the same world as the rest of the book.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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