Paradise Tales

by Geoff Ryman

Leave a Comment

Trade paper/ebook · 9781931520645/9781931520447 · 320 pp · July 12, 2011

Sunburst Award Winner
Lambda Award Finalist

Paradise Tales includes one of the most powerful stories I’ve read in the last 10 years.”
New York Times

Geoff Ryman Locus interview.

Geoff Ryman writes about the other and leaves us dissected in the process. His stories are set in recognizable places—London, Cambodia, tomorrow—and feature men and women caught in recognizable situations (or technologies) and not sure which way to turn. They, we, should obviously choose what’s right. But what if that’s difficult? What will we do? What we should, or . . . ?

“In the best of Ryman’s fiction, the world unfolds in ways that are at once astonishing and thoroughly thought out, both radically disorienting and emotionally powerful.”
—Gary K. Wolfe, Locus

“The stories gathered here from across Ryman’s career narrate paradise and its stories in ways that are far from conventionally utopian. Rather, Ryman’s paradises are not only largely intangible but often built on and out of loss. Reading his quasi-fairytales and other flights of passionate fantasy, we will always be reminded that these paradises, like all paradises, are places that can never be—except in fiction. For Ryman, however, this is an essential exception, as the power of story to heal and repair across time and across cultures becomes a recurrent theme in the collection…. By the end of Paradise Tales, however, the reader will understand that Ryman has already invented such a device: whether it is fantasy, science fiction, or some fiction in-between, the utopian, revelatory tool for Ryman is simply fiction itself.”
Strange Horizons

“A prophet of the flesh, Geoff Ryman is fascinated by biology, our human capacity (shared with the rest of squishy creation) for bodily transcendence, degeneration and metamorphosis. Whether contemplating the genetics of homosexuality (“Birth Days”), the lives of transgenic sophonts (“Days of Wonder”), or the humiliating transformations attendant upon aging (“VAO”), he brings a kind of saintly compassion and insight to his characters. But not all the entries in Paradise Tales conform to this paradigm. There are cosmopolitan explorations, such as the Cambodian-centric “Pol Pot’s Beautiful Daughter” and “Blocked.” And there are densely speculative cyber-forecasts like “The Future of Science Fiction.” But all benefit from Ryman’s economical yet lapidary prose.”

“I recommend this collection to both Ryman’s existing fans and those new to his work. It is a beautiful and challenging treasure of a book.”
Cascadia Subduction Zone

“Short-form speculative fiction doesn’t get much better than this.”
— J. J. S. Boyce, AESciFi—the CanadianScience Fiction Review

* “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. ”
Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)

Paradise Tales follows the success of Ryman’s most recent novel, The King’s Last Song, and builds on that with three Cambodian stories included here, “The Last Ten Years of the Hero Kai,” “Blocked,” and the exceedingly-popular “Pol Pot’s Beautiful Daughter.” Paradise Tales includes stories selected from the many periods of Ryman’s career including “Birth Days,” “Omnisexual,” the very popular “The Film-makers of Mars,” and a new story, “K is for Kosovo (or, Massimo’s Career).”

Small Beer Press is also reprinting two of Ryman’s novels, The Child Garden and Was (November 2011), and another collection, Unconquered Countries (June 2012), with new introductions or afterwords to continue to build the readership of one of the most fascinating writers exploring the edges of being, gender, science, and fiction.


The Film-makers of Mars
The Last Ten Years in the Life of Hero Kai
Birth Days
The Future of Science Fiction
No Bad Thing
Talk Is Cheap
Days of Wonder
K is for Kosovo (or, Massimo’s Career)
Pol Pot’s Beautiful Daughter

Praise for Geoff Ryman’s most recent novel:

“[Ryman] has not so much created as revealed a world in which the promise of redemption takes seed even in horror.”
The Boston Globe

“Inordinately readable . . . extraordinary in its detail, color and brutality.”
The Independent (UK)

Geoff Ryman is the author of the novels The King’s Last Song, Air (a Clarke and Tiptree Award winner), 253, Lust, and The Unconquered Country (a World Fantasy Award winner). Canadian by birth, he has lived in Brasil, resides in the UK and is a frequent visitor to Cambodia.
Paradise Tales by Geoff Ryman

The Child Garden

by Geoff Ryman


June 7, 2011 · trade paper/ebook · 9781931520287 · New Introduction by Wendy Pearson.

Winner of the John W. Cambell and Arthur C. Clarke Awards.

Following The King’s Last Song, The Child Garden is the second Geoff Ryman title in our list—and it’s by far the furthest out there!

Are you ready for polar bear families in London—who have their own black sheep: after all, what can a polar bear mining family do with a daughter who wants to write operas? And what is London to do with a woman who, resistant to the viruses, might be able to provided the cure for the cure for cancer? (No, that’s not a typo!)

In a future, tropical London, humans photosynthesize, organics have replaced electronics, viruses educate people, and very few live past forty. Milena is resistant to the viruses and unable to be Read. She has Bad Grammar. She’s alone until she meets Rolfa, a huge, hirsute Genetically Engineered Polar Woman, and Milena realizes she might, just might, be able to find a place for herself after all.

If you’ve been missing reading about polar bears since finishing Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials books, this is the novel for you.The Child Garden is one of the original biopunk novels: it’s over the top baroque . . . it’s a masterpiece.

Praise for The Child Garden:

“An exuberant celebration of excess set in a resource-poor but defiantly energetic 21st century.”—The New York Times

“I fell in love with this book when Jeff VanderMeer gave it to me for my birthday when we were both at Clarion in 1992. I’ve thought about it more or less constantly ever since.”
—Cory Doctorow, BoingBoing

“Undoubtedly a classic and one of the best novels ever written within the genre.”
SF Site

“A richly absorbing tale—with a marvelous premise expertly carried out.”—Kirkus Reviews

“One of the most imaginative accounts of futuristic bioengineering since Greg Bear’s Blood Music.”—Locus

“A heady novel bursting with speculation.”—Library Journal

“Excellent . . . Dark and witty and full of love, closely observed, and sprinkled with astonishing ideas. Science fiction of a very high order.”—Greg Bear
The Child Garden by Geoff Ryman

Praise for Geoff Ryman’s books:

“Ryman—best known as a fantasy writer but one who proved his power as an author of nuanced, rich historical fiction in the unsung novel Was—has not so much created as revealed a world in which the promise of redemption takes seed even in horror.”
Boston Globe

“The novel conveys not merely a story, but the light and darkness, despair and hope, tradition and Westernization that is Cambodia itself…. While peaceful William, war-consumed Map, and Cambodia-loving Luc could easily be flat, typecast characters, Ryman steers clear of such simplifications. Their interwoven histories are at times noble and at times horrifying, laced with profound emotions and punctuated with atrocities…. The King’s Last Song leaves one questioning preconceptions of good and evil, and conflicted between hope for and discouragement with the human race.”
Rain Taxi

“An unforgettably vivid portrait of Cambodian culture past and present.”
Booklist (starred review)

“Ryman’s knack for depicting characters; his ability to tell multiple, interrelated stories; and his knowledge of Cambodian history create a rich narrative that looks at Cambodia’s “killing fields” both recent and ancient and Buddhist belief with its desire for transcendence. Recommended for all literary fiction collections.”
Library Journal

“Inordinately readable . . . extraordinary in its detail, color and brutality.”
The Independent

“Sweeping and beautiful. . . . The complex story tears the veil from a hidden world.”
The Sunday Times

About the Author

Geoff Ryman is the author of the novels The King’s Last Song, Air (a Clarke and Tiptree Award winner), and The Unconquered Country (a World Fantasy Award winner), and the collection Paradise Tales. Canadian by birth, he has lived in Cambodia and Brazil and now teaches creative writing at the University of Manchester in England.

Geoff Ryman was in Boston in July 2011 as the Guest of Honor for Readercon.