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The Child Garden (#61 SF Masterworks)

Geoff Ryman

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VICTOR GOLLANCZ
01 November 2005
Science fiction; Biotechnology / Genetic Engineering; Future Society; GALAXY Special Event 1
In a semi-tropical London, surrounded by paddy-fields, the people feed off the sun, like plants, the young are raised in Child Gardens and educated by viruses, And the Consensus oversees the country, 'treating' non-conformism. Information, culture, law and politics are biological functions. But Milena is different: she is resistant to viruses and an incredible musician, one of the most extraordinary women of her age. This is her story and that of her friends, like Lucy the immortal tumour and Joseph the Postman whose mind is an information storehouse for others, and Rolfa, genetically engineered as a Polar Bear, whose beautiful singing voice first awakens Milena to the power of music.
By:   Geoff Ryman
Imprint:   VICTOR GOLLANCZ
Country of Publication:   United Kingdom
Volume:   No. 61
Dimensions:   Height: 199mm,  Width: 158mm,  Spine: 27mm
Weight:   280g
ISBN:   9780575076907
ISBN 10:   0575076909
Series:   S.F. Masterworks
Pages:   400
Publication Date:   01 November 2005
Audience:   General/trade ,  ELT Advanced
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Geoff Ryman was born in Canada in 1952 but moved to America when he was eleven. He moved to London in 1973. He began writing science fiction in 1976. His other novels include Was and 253. He currently lives and works in London and Oxfordshire.

Reviews for The Child Garden (#61 SF Masterworks)

Feeling really blue lately? Sweeping aside decades of research on brain chemistry, Glasser concludes that you're not depressed; rather, you're choosing to depress. Much-published psychiatrist Glasser (Stations of the Mind: New Directions for Reality Therapy, 1981, etc.) believes that choices about human relationships are at the heart of almost all psychological problems and that what governs such interactions is external control psychology. In other words, people generally try to coerce or manipulate others to achieve their goals. One of the more dubious tenets of his worldview is that most individuals believe it is right, it is even my moral obligation, to ridicule, threaten, or punish those who don't do what I tell them to do. Today, the author posits, relationships at home, work, and school should be characterized by a total absence of effort to control or even judge, that the focus should be on improving the relationship alone. This makes for an ultra-laissez-faire approach to much human interaction. For example, Glasser argues that failing students is inherently abusive, that a student who can't understand Shakespeare should be switched to James Herriot instead. Whatever happened to innovative approaches to learning, to teaching young people to persevere when facing difficulties? Granted, Glasser's pragmatic approach, which is elaborated in only the most general terms, may sometimes be more helpful than much psychoanalytically informed psychotherapy. In general, however, this is a grating book, for the author makes grandiose claims on behalf of his one-dimensional theory (which happens not to be terribly new at all). And Glasser relentlessly touts choice theory, even envisioning, in a community he's trying to transform, homeless people getting together for dinner and a discussion of [this] book. Wouldn't it be better if the townspeople, and the country, chose instead to deal with the roots of homelessness? (Kirkus Reviews)


  • Short-listed for British Science Fiction Association Award for Best Novel 1990 (UK)
  • Shortlisted for British Science Fiction Association Award for Best Novel 1990.
  • Winner of Arthur C. Clarke Award 1990 (UK)
  • Winner of Arthur C. Clarke Award 1990.
  • Winner of John W Campbell Award 1990 (UK)
  • Winner of John W Campbell Award 1990.

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