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Kit Reed - author of Seven for the Apocalypse & @expectations
"Reading the first sentence of Geoff Ryman's brilliant new novel is like passing through a Tipping Point. The instant he touches you with his story, you're caught, and the world changes as suddenly as Paul Revere changed America: because it brings the news. Air is a message from the future beyond broadband. More than a message, it's a tip. Listen to Geoff Ryman and you're already on the inside track."
- John Clute, author of The Book of Endtimes
"Say that we are all already living in Air, and need with all our heart to know better what it means and how it works. That would be one way of describing the continuous pleasure of reading this great novel—the thrill of recognition. It is like a magic mirror—we are in Chung Mae and she is in us, and her world is utterly alive. What more can fiction do."
- Kim Stanley Robinson, author of the Mars Trilogy & The Years of Rice and Salt
Posted February 27, 2006
Air is a brilliantly conceived book that- at its very core- is a damning indictment of the 'civilized' world's immoral disregard of cultures considered 'primitive' and therefore inferior, even expendable. At the same time, it's also a novel about hope, and the remarkable resiliency of the human spirit. These messages shine brightly together in Ryman's clever story, where a Karzistan village- filled with people living meaningful, dignified lives in their own way- is disrupted and change forever when the villagers are selected as guinea pigs in an ill-fated United Nations experiment involving Air, a quantum device intended to transmit a flood of worldwide information directly into their targeted brains- in essence, 'westernizing' them in an instantaneous and overwhelming fashion. The result is chaos for the villagers, even death, and the beginning of a strange, almost magical journey for Chung Mae, a village elder who becomes a seer of sorts, and a warrior for survival of her people. Although very different from those of us in the west, Ryman's characters are not only believable, but universal and immediately familiar. As intriguing as the book's premise is, it's these sharply defined characters that keep the pages turning, as we weep for what they lost forever and cheer them on to victory. I can't recommend this book highly enough, especially for those who 'hate' science fiction because they have no idea what it's capable of. Air will change their minds. Another science fiction novel that touches on the themes of dignity and resiliency of the human spirit is the intelligent An Audience for Einstein, a young adult title. I'm far too old to wear that young adult label myself, but still found it enjoyable and highly worthwhile.
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Posted June 29, 2009
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