Thursday, July 1, 2010

Unconquered Territories - the worlds of Geoff Ryman

My awe for Geoff Ryman is enormous, largely for his ability to capture and distill depths of human emotion in unlooked for places and insert it in its truest form in the traditionally soulless medium of science fiction. If you believe maternal love to belong exclusively within the domain of biological life forms, track down his short story 'Warmth', if only to see if your prejudice will really remain standing against the challenge of a young man seeking to be reunited with the robot nanny that raised him. Any author should attempt to explore his novel created exclusively for the internet, '253', a classic excercise in viewpoint. He takes an 8 carriage underground train and gives you a glimpse inside the mind of every one of its occupants, including the driver. 'Air' turns human consciousness into a battleground, when a small, primitive community comes under the sudden assault of instantaneous and total immersion in the vast world of the virtual, by way of an airborne virus. But I've left my first introduction to this gifted author til last. 'The Unconquered Country', an award-winning novella appears as deceptively simple and short as a children's book, but its backdrop is the stark reality of war in Cambodia and its impact upon the soft targets - women and children. But the message is very powerful. Whatever shackles our bodies, within the boundless freedom of our minds and our souls we can find the inner resources to remain unconquered territory.

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