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 . . . ?
Paradise Tales builds on the success of his most recent novel, The King's Last Song, and on the 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 Film-makers of Mars,” and a new story, “K is for Kosovo (or, Massimo’s Career).”
To complement this first full-length short story collection, Small Beer Press is reprinting Ryman's backlist: Was, The Child Garden, and a book of four novellas, The Unconquered Countries, with new introductions to continue to build the readership of one of the most fascinating writers exploring the edges of being, gender, science, and fiction.
Geoff Ryman is the author of the novels The King's Last Song, The Child Garden, Air (a Clarke and Tiptree Award winner), and The Unconquered Country (a World Fantasy Award winner). Canadian by birth, he has lived in Cambodia and Brazil and now teaches creative writing at the University of Manchester in England.
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.