The Universe of Things

Gwyneth Jones, Aqueduct (Pathway, dist.), $18 trade paper (296p) ISBN 978-1-933500-44-7
Clarke Award-winner Jones creates several wondrous universes in which reality and fantasy bleed into each other. A sword-and-sorcery virtual world masquerades as therapy ("Red Sonja and Lessingham in Dreamland"). A self-harming princess and office worker makes a real marriage out of an evil spell ("The Thief, the Princess, and the Cartesian Circle"). Jones takes classic fairy tales like Cinderella ("La Cenerentola") or genre tropes such as the haunted house ("Grandmother's Footsteps") and reveals that the wonder and the horror lie not in glass slippers or creaking staircases but in the relationships revealed when "dreams come true." Jones's sharp writing forces the reader to reconsider the standard building blocks of SF in light of real human history, sociology, and radical analyses of power structures. As engineer-journalist Johnny Guglioli observes in "Blue Clay Blues," "The technology is helpless to save the world. It's what goes on between people that fucks things up." (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 11/08/2010
Release date: 01/01/2011
Genre: Fiction
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