Sunday, February 12, 2012

Bargain Book: Grazing The Long Acre by Gwyneth Jones

Grazing The Long Acre by Gwyneth Jones is temporarily free in ebook format--probably for five days, but I don't know when the promo started. This is a collection of short stories with one inspired by Cinderella and several with fairy tale influences. The collection was star reviewed by Publishers Weekly. Check here to see if it is also discounted in the UK.

Book description:

Gwyneth Jones’s novels have been acclaimed for three decades, and her modern fairytales Seven Tales And A Fable won two World Fantasy Awards in 1996. And now we have Grazing the Long Acre, the first UK collection of her short fiction. Some of the stories selected, including the BSFA award-winning “La Cenerentola”, have been anthologised; several have never before been reprinted. The earliest here “The Eastern Succession” was written in 1985, the most recent “In The Forest Of The Queen” in 2007.

The settings range from a lyrical, Zelazny-influenced far-future South East Asia, to black comedy sci-fi in the New Space Opera style. There are ghosts and miracles, magical science and scientific magic; characters from novels, investigations of sexual difference, speculations on a future in which physics and neuroscience move into convergence, interrogations of our fascination with the other. Gwyneth Jones’s capacity to move and astonish the reader is undimmed, when distilled into the shorter form.

Review from Publishers Weekly:

Starred Review. In this collection of dense and challenging short stories, many tied to her novels but all easily read alone, BSFA Award winner Jones (Life, Bold as Love) demonstrates that traditions and beliefs dictate the course of the future more than advances in technology or science. Whether cloning the perfect offspring ("La Cenerentola"), subtly undermining a princely succession ("The Eastern Succession") or assassinating a reactionary alien to allow a progressive to ascend ("Saving Tiamaat"), her characters find their fond hopes (or their fears, as in "Grazing the Long Acre" and "The Voyage Out") diminished by the persistence of the past. Pairing naïve Americans with world-wearier Europeans, Jones exposes the utopian impulse of SF to feminist and anti-colonial critiques suffused with literary, genre, film and pop music references. Genre fans will recognize their favorite ideas and images but are sure to be pleasantly surprised by the ways Jones handles them.

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