Burn

Burn

by James Patrick Kelly

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Overview

Nebula Award Winner
Hugo Award Nominee


Burn is James Patrick Kelly at his best, and there’s nothing better.”
—Connie Willis, author of Doomsday Book

The tiny planet Morobe's Pea has been sold and renamed Walden. The new owner has some interesting ideas. Voluntary simplicity will rule in the Transcendent State; Walden is destined to become a paradise covered in lush new forests.

But even believers find temptations in the black markets; non-believers are willing to defend their ideals with fire. Walden's only hope may lie with a third option: a very unlikely alien intervention.

In Burn, James Patrick Kelly (Think Like a Dinosaur) delivers an innovative, entertaining, and morally-complex vision of the perils of idealism.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781892391278
Publisher: Tachyon Publications
Publication date: 11/01/2005
Pages: 178
Product dimensions: 5.54(w) x 8.30(h) x 0.80(d)
Age Range: 14 - 18 Years

About the Author

James Patrick Kelly has won the Hugo, Nebula and Locus awards and his fiction has been translated into eighteen languages. His most recent publication is a career retrospective in Centipede Press’s Masters of Science Fiction series entitled James Patrick Kelly. His sixth novel Mother Go is forthcoming from Audible.com and a short story collection The Promise of Space will be published in October by Prime Books. With John Kessel he is co-editor of Digital Rapture: The Singularity Anthology, Kafkaesque: Stories Inspired by Franz Kafka, The Secret History Of Science Fiction, Feeling Very Strange: The Slipstream Anthology and Rewired: The Post Cyberpunk Anthology. He writes a column on the internet for Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine and is on the faculty of the Stonecoast Creative Writing MFA Program at the University of Southern Maine.

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Burn 3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Archren on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
¿Burn¿ is a story rich in metaphor and symbolism. The language is not ostentatiously ornate, but it is certainly beautiful. As a novella it focuses closely on a single person, and in the end on a single relationship. Many things are alluded to, implied, talked around. In short, it¿s not your everyday science fiction novella.Prosper Gregory Leung is a member of the Walden colony. Established by a rich idealist, the colony attempts to achieve perfection of simplicity. The homes are simple, most people live in small villages, there are no planes. There is only minimal television and wireless communication, and no connection to the wider future internet of colonized worlds.Except in the hospital where Prosper is recovering from wounds received fighting a forest fire. Previously, Walden had been a more normal colony. That colony had failed and most people had moved away or been bought out by Walden¿s founder. Some people refused to leave. When the founder, for ill-explained reasons, tries to cover the entire planet with forests, depriving the previous colonists of their previous habitat, they retaliate by setting forest fires.In searching the planetary internet randomly for people with his own name, Prosper makes contact with an extraordinarily odd child whose back story is never really given. He has something to do with luck. He, a bunch of his young friends, and their minder suddenly appear on Walden - possibly to let the child make friends with Prosper, possibly for some hidden agenda.The focus of all of this is Prosper, particularly his relationship with his soon-to-be-ex-wife. Their relationship had been disintegrating, and her brother died in the same fire that almost killed Prosper. In the end all the powerful imagery of uncontrolled fire is harnessed in a swirl of passion and self-destruction centered on her. As such, there are some very moving passages in this story.However, as a story it has some issues. There are characters that exist not as people in their own right but only as metaphors. Some things are too elliptical. Where the author might have delved into the politics of colonialism, he deliberately muddied the waters and left it unexamined. The ending left me particularly disappointed, with the plot wrap-up seeming to undercut one of his most powerful images woven only pages before. I appreciated what Kelley was going for, but his overarching vision didn¿t seem to seamlessly unite with the plot foundations that science fiction stories need to have. A worthy effort, but a flawed one.