Paradise Tales

Geoff Ryman, Small Beer (Consortium, dist.), $16 trade paper (320p) ISBN 978-1-931520-64-5
Often contemplative and subtly ironic, the 16 stories in this outstanding collection work imaginative riffs on a variety of fantasy and SF themes. "Pol Pot's Beautiful Daughter," a Cambodian ghost story, and "The Last Ten Years in the Life of Hero Kai," a samurai-style narrative, have the delicacy of Asian folktales or lyrical fantasies. By contrast, "V.A.O.," about a future society destabilized by prohibitively expensive health care, and "The Film-makers of Mars," which suggests that Edgar Rice Burroughs's John Carter stories were drawn from life, are set in futures that credibly extrapolate current scientific and cultural trends. Ryman (The King's Last Song) frequently explores human emotional needs in heartless environments, as in "Warmth," which poignantly portrays a young boy's bond with his robot surrogate mother. Readers of all stripes will appreciate these thoughtful tales. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 01/10/2011
Release date: 07/01/2011
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