Playful, passionate, provocative, and frequently very funny, Jeanette Winterson's The Stone Gods is a story about Earth, about love, and about stories themselves.
On the airwaves, all the talk is of the new blue planet—pristine and plentiful, as our own was 65 million years ago, before we took it to the edge of destruction. Off the air, Billie Crusoe and the renegade Robo sapien Spike are falling in love. Along with Captain Handsome and Pink, they're assigned to colonize the new blue planet. But when a technical maneuver intended to make it habitable backfires, Billie and Spike's flight to the future becomes a surprising return to the distant past, and they discover that “everything is imprinted forever with what once was.”
|Publisher:||Houghton Mifflin Harcourt|
|Edition description:||First Edition|
|Product dimensions:||5.20(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.70(d)|
About the Author
A novelist whose honours include England’s Whitbread Prize, and the American Academy’s E. M. Forster Award, as well as the Prix d’argent at the Cannes Film Festival, JEANETTE WINTERSON burst onto the literary scene as a very young woman in 1985 with Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit. Her subsequent novels, including Sexing the Cherry, The Passion, Written on the Body, and The PowerBook, have also gone on to receive great international acclaim. She lives in London and the Cotswolds.
Read an Excerpt
This new world weighs a yatto-gram.
But everything is trial-size; tread-on-me tiny or blurred-out-of-focus huge. There are leaves that have grown as big as cities, and there are birds that nest in cockleshells. On the white sand there are long-toed clawprints deep as nightmares, and there are rock pools in hand-hollows finned by invisible fish.
Trees like skyscrapers, and housing as many. Grass the height of hedges, nuts the swell of pumpkins. Sardines that would take two men to land them. Eggs, pale-blue-shelled, each the weight of a breaking universe.
And, underneath, mushrooms soft and small as a mouse ear. A crack like a cut, and inside a million million microbes wondering what to do next. Spores that wait for the wind and never look back.
Moss that is concentrating on being green.
A man pushes forward with a microphone —'And is there oxygen?' Yes, there is. 'And fresh water?' Abundant. 'And no pollution?' None. Are there minerals? Is there gold? What's the weather like? Does it rain a lot? Has anyone tried the fish? Are there any humans? No, there are not any humans. Any intelligent life at all?
Depends what you mean by intelligent. There is something there, yes, and it's very big and very good at its job.
A picture of a scaly-coated monster with metal-plated jaws appears on the overhead screen. The crowd shrieks and swoons. No! Yes! No! Yes!
The most efficient killing machine ever invented before gunpowder. Not bad for a thing with a body the size of a stadium and a brain the size of a jam-jar.
I am here today to answer questions: 'The lady in pink —'
'Are these monsters we can see vegetarian?'
'Ma'am, would you be vegetarian with teeth like that?'
It's the wrong answer. I am here to reassure. A scientist steps forward. That's better. Scientists are automatically reassuring.
This is a very exciting, and very reassuring, day.
We are here today to witness the chance of a lifetime. The chance of many lifetimes. The best chance we have had since life began. We are running out of planet and we have found a new one. Through all the bright-formed rocks that jewel the sky, we searched until we found the one we will call home. We're moving on, that's all. Everyone has to do that some time or other, sooner or later, it's only natural.
My name is Billie Crusoe.
'Excuse me, is your name Billie Crusoe?'
'From Enhancement Services?'
'Yes, Every Day a New Day.' (As we say in Enhancement.)
'Can you tell viewers how the new planet will affect their lives?'
'Yes, I can. The new planet offers us the opportunity to do things differently. We've had a lot of brilliant successes here on Orbus — well, we are the success story of the universe, aren't we? I mean to say, no other planet hosts human life.'
The interviewer nods and smiles vigorously.
'But we have taken a few wrong turnings. Made a few mistakes. We have limited natural resources at our disposal, and a rising population that is by no means in agreement as to how our world as a whole should share out these remaining resources. Conflict is likely. A new planet means that we can begin to redistribute ourselves. It will mean a better quality of life for everyone — the ones who leave, and the ones who stay.'
'So a win-win situation?'
'That's right, winning numbers all the way.'
Through the golden arches that are the city gates, the President of the Central Power is arriving. The arches stand like angels, their wings folded back against the lesser lights of the skyline.
The laser-gates, which look so solid, appear and disappear, like the wall that rings the city, a visible and invisible sign of progress and power.
Look in the light — the slight shimmer is their long energy. They are the aura of the city: emblem and warning, its halo and shield.
The President's cavalcade has reached the Circle. Flags, carpets, flowers, flunkeys, hitmen, pressmen, frontmen, back-up, support, medics, techies, crew, rig, lights, sound, real-time, archive, relay, vox-pop, popcorn, polish, makeup, dust-down, ready, green — GO.
The President is making a speech. The Central Power has funded the space mission for hundreds of years, and it is understood that any discoveries belong to us. He compares us to the men who found the Indies, the Americas, the Arctic Circle; he becomes emotional, he reaches for a line of poetry. For a moment, there it is, in handwriting that nobody can read, slanting under the images of Planet Blue — She is all States, all Princes I ...
The President is making a speech.
Unique moment for mankind ... unrivalled opportunity ... war averted ... summit planned between the Central Power, Eastern Caliphate, and our friends in the SinoMosco Pact. Peaceful compromise promised. New planets for old. Full pictures and information across the twenty-two geo-cities of the Central Power by tomorrow morning. New colonizing mission being made ready. Monsters will be humanely destroyed, with the possible exception of scientific capture of one or two types for the Zooeum.
Into the Circle come the spacemen themselves, in shiny titanium pressure suits, oversize helmets under their arms. These are men glamorous as comets, trailing fame in fire-tails.
There's a robot with them — well, a Robo sapiens, incredibly sexy, with that look of regret they all have before they are dismantled. It's policy; all information-sensitive robots are dismantled after mission, so that their data cannot be accessed by hostile forces. She's been across the universe, and now she's going to the recycling unit. The great thing about robots, even these Robo sapiens, is that nobody feels sorry for them. They are only machines.
She stands there, while the silver-suited saviours shake the President's hand. She's going to tell us all about the chemical and mineral composition of the new planet, its atmospheric readings, its possible history and potential evolution. Then, when the public part is done, she'll go backstage, transfer all her data, and open her power cells until her last robot flicker.
It's a kind of suicide, a kind of bleeding to death, but they show no emotion because emotions are not part of their programming.
Amazing to look so convincing and be nothing but silicon and a circuit-board.
She glances over to the Support Stand and catches my eye. I can't help blushing. I think she has read my mind. They can do that.
This is a great day for science. The last hundred years have been hell. The doomsters and the environmentalists kept telling us we were as good as dead and, hey presto, not only do we find a new planet, but it is perfect for new life. This time, we'll be more careful. This time we will learn from our mistakes. The new planet will be home to the universe's first advanced civilization. It will be a democracy — because whatever we say in public, the Eastern Caliphate isn't going to be allowed within a yatto-mile of the place. We'll shoot 'em down before they land. No, we won't shoot them down, because the President of the Central Power has just announced a new world programme of No War. We will not shoot down the Eastern Caliphate, we will robustly repel them.
The way the thinking is going in private, we'll leave this rundown rotting planet to the Caliphate and the SinoMosco Pact, and they can bomb each other to paste while the peace-loving folks of the Central Power ship civilization to the new world.
The new world — El Dorado, Atlantis, the Gold Coast, Newfoundland, Plymouth Rock, Rapanaui, Utopia, Planet Blue. Chanc'd upon, spied through a glass darkly, drunken stories strapped to a barrel of rum, shipwreck, a Bible Compass, a giant fish led us there, a storm whirled us to this isle. In the wilderness of space, we found ...
My name is Billie Crusoe. Here comes my boss, Manfred. He's the kind of man who was born to rise and rise: a human elevator.
'Billie, have you voiced through the downloads?'
'Yes, everything is there — sketches, diagrams, and a step-by-step explanation of how Planet Blue will change all our lives.'
'We have to present this positively.'
'It is positive, isn't it? Are you saying there are presentation problems with the chance that everyone is dying for?'
'Don't use the word "dying".'
'But Orbus is dying.'
'Orbus is not dying. Orbus is evolving in a way that is hostile to human life.'
'OK, so it's the planet's fault. We didn't do anything, did we? Just fucked it to death and kicked it when it wouldn't get up.'
'I know how you feel. I don't say you're entirely wrong in your analysis, but that isn't the way we can present the situation. The President has sent a memo this morning to instruct Enhancement Services and Media Services to work together on this. We don't want any stupid questions — any difficulties. The last thing the Central Power needs now is any unrest of our own. There will be trouble enough with the Caliphate and the Pact.'
'Because you're not giving a ride to either the Believers or the Collective?'
'When did they ever do anything for us?'
The Central Power is trying to live responsibly on a crowded planet, and that bunch are still scanning the skies for God, and draining the last drops of oil out of the ground. They can go to Hell.'
Manfred looked down at my notebook. He frowned his older-man-thinker-type-sexy frown. 'Billie, if you weren't so eccentric, you'd fit in better here. Why are you writing in a notebook? Nobody reads and writes any more — there's no need. Why can't you use a SpeechPad like everybody else?'
'Notebook. Pencil. They have an old-fashioned charm that I like.'
'And I like the present just as it is. You still living in that bio-bubble thing?'
'You mean the farm? Of course I am. If I'd been able to make it pay I wouldn't be working for you. But a world that clones its meat in the lab and engineers its crops underground thinks natural food is dirty and diseased.'
'Yeah. And pigs are planes. So the farm is leased to Living Museum and I am enslaved to you.'
'You don't get many scientists coming across to work in Enhancement ... It's not exactly a career move.'
I had a feeling that something else was here — one of those icebound conversations that skate over the corpse in the lake. 'Is there a problem with my work?'
Manfred shrugged. 'Like I said, a Science Service high-flyer doesn't need to take a job with Enhancement.'
'You work for Enhancement.'
He was getting impatient. 'Billie, I'm going to be running the whole shooting match within two years. I have a graph. I have a Promotion Plan. I'm heading for the top floor.' (Yep, there he goes, Penthouse Man.) 'You aren't heading anywhere. You could have been promoted to Management within six months, but you're still on the ground, visiting people in their homes.'
'That's me, a cross between a District Nurse and an Insurance Salesman.'
'What's a District Nurse?'
'Never mind. History is a hobby of mine. It's not illegal, and neither is the farm, and neither is wanting a simple life. No graph, no Promotion Plan. OK?'
He held up his hands. He turned to leave. 'Oh, you should move your Solo. Enforcement just gave you a ticket.'
'But I have a permit!'
'Take it up with Enforcement.'
'Manfred, this has been going on for a year — I clear them, they start again. I'm not paranoid, but if someone is out to get me, I would like to know.'
'No one is out to get you. But move the Solo. I would if I were you.'
He swung his handsome body and handsome head out and away to higher things.
Manfred is one of those confident men who have had themselves genetically Fixed as late-forties. Most men prefer to Fix younger than that, and there are no women who Fix past thirty. 'The DNA Dynasty', they called us, when the first generation of humans had successful recoding. Age is information failure. The body loses fluency. Command stations no longer connect with satellite stations. Relay breaks down. The body is designed to repair and renew itself, and most cells are only about a third as old as our birth years, but mitochondrial DNA is as old as we are, and has always accumulated mutations and distortions faster than DNA in the nucleus. For centuries we couldn't fix that — and now we can.
Science can't fix everything, though — women feel they have to look youthful, men less so, and the lifestyle programmes are full of the appeal of the older man. Everybody wants one — young girls and gay toyboys adore Manfred. His boyfriend has designed a robot that looks like him. Myself, I wouldn't be able to tell the difference.
I went downstairs, through the clotted ranks of Security and Support, officially known as Enforcement Services and Enhancement Services, but the SS has a better ring to it than the EE. We work together a lot of the time, soft-cop hard-cop kind of thing. It's my job — that is, our job — in Enhancement to explain to people that they really do want to live their lives in a way that is good for them and good for the Community. Enforcement steps in when it doesn't quite work out.
I know all the guys in Enforcement. I wave and smile. They nod, and let me pass.
Outside, there's a line of Solos and a line of Limos.
S is for Solo — a single-seater solar-powered transport vehicle. L is for Limo, a multi-seater hydrogen hybrid. S is for short-distance. L is for long-distance. Single-letter recognition is taught in schools.
In front of one of these vehicles, and one only, a CanCop is punching numbers into the Coder wired into his arm. CanCops are always around for back-up at high-security events — all they are is robots, soup cans with the power of Arrest.
On one of the long line of vehicles — and only one, mine — a bright yellow laser-light is covering the windshield. That's my penalty notice. Unless I press the yellow button on the parking meter next to it, I will not be able to drive away because I will not be able to see out of my glass. It's a clever system — you have to accept guilt before you can drive away and protest your innocence.
P is for Parking Meter. Slide up to the kerb, get out, look around, and the shiny solar-powered parking meter says to you, in its shiny solar-powered parking-meter voice — Hi there! You can park here for thirty minutes. I will bill your account directly. Welcome to the neighbourhood.
The meter then photographs your licence plate, connects to your Parking Account, which you must keep in credit at all times, and sends a digital receipt to your HomeScreen or your WorkScreen, whichever you have nominated. That's all there is to it, unless you run late, in which case the meter will laser-light your windshield in such a way as to make it impossible for you to drive off without accepting the Penalty.
So here I am — and I've been booked, even though I have a great big permit on the front of the car, with the date and time of my arrival and the impressive symbol of the Central Power.
I have been booked — again. If I were the paranoid type, which I am, I might almost start to believe that ... Believe what?
I wave my arms at the CanCop, and point to the permit. He shrugs his tin shoulders. The guys from Enforcement are laughing — it's true this kind of cock-up, or cop-up, happens all the time, and it's a bore but not a problem ... The trouble is that, for me, it's becoming a big problem.
I get out my Omni — the phone that does everything — and it automatically accesses the Parking Bureau Help Line. A sympathetic face flashes up in blonde pixels on my phone. 'DUE TO ...' I slam her off before she gets any further.
D is for Due to. Whenever anybody calls to complain, a sympathetic person — well, a sympathetic robot, actually, because they are programmed to be more sympathetic than persons. Anyway, this sympathetic robot says, 'DUE TO', and you know that due to a high volume of calls, due to heavy demand, due to staff shortages, due to difficulties, due to system failure, due to freak storms, due to little green men squatting the offices, well, DUE TO, nobody is going to speak to you, at least not in this lifetime.
Fuck it fuck it fuck it. F is for Fuck it.
And in the middle of this hi-tech, hi-stress, hi-mess life, F is for Farm. My farm. Twenty hectares of pastureland and arable, with a stream running through the middle like a memory. Step into that water and you remember everything, and what you don't remember, you invent.
My farm is the last of its line — like an ancient ancestor everyone forgot. It's a bio-dome world, secret and sealed: a message in a bottle from another time.
The soil is deep clay and the cattle make holes in it where they herd to feed. The holes fill with water, then ice over, and the birds crack open the ice to drink. The woodland belts that hold the fields are thick with branches thick with birds. At evening the sky above the wood is dark with the wings of birds.(Continues…)
Excerpted from "The Stone Gods"
Copyright © 2007 Jeanette Winterson.
Excerpted by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Billy Crusoe seems to view the world lightly but she's got serious problems with the way the inhabitants of earth are hell-bent on destroying it. The novel opens with Billy about to be exiled to a planet being prepared for colonization before the earth goes kaput. She's a rebel who is one of the last owners of an organic farm in a world that prides itself on not only reconstituting most food in chemical form but also is very close to reconstituting the DNA of humans who wish to be ageless, beautiful and just perfect! Imagine wanting to be a teenager to stop one's philandering husband from pursuing much younger woman - tongue in cheek for sure! There are numerous references to starting over from Robinson Caruso's heroic adventures, including a flashback to 1774 in which Billy travels to Easter Island with the famed Captain Cook's band. What is about human beings that just can't see the forest for the trees as even here they cut down all the trees to fashion their stone gods? Billie realizes they destroy their God-given earth to attempt to get closer to their imagined gods - situational irony in the extreme but typical flawed human style. We then are returned to post-war (WW III) in which we have another flashback of how Billy was separated from the mother she loved, indeed adored. Technology has taken over human reproduction and mothers and fathers are an anachronism to be jettisoned. Indeed independent human thought, feeling and goal-oriented living are just passe. Everything is planned by the 'authorities' and it is clear that Billie's hunger for connection and love is deep and unshared by her medicated and inebriated earthling friends. At first the reader will think that Billie falling in love with a robot is just plain silly, even stupid! But the conversation that flows from their evolving romantic relationship envelops the reader into a curious fascination, for Spike is more than just a hunk of metal who is programmed to automatically respond in word or deed. This is, for this reviewer, the most out-of-the-box portion of this novel that makes it very special. Spike and Billie communicate beyond the trite to the touching, essential and vibrant realities of living that soar far above survival, the book's repetitive theme, to transcending technology and touching the stars, replete with poetry, music and more! The Stone Gods is an unusual but dynamic read that is a must for science fiction lovers or those who just dabble therein! It's fresh, bright, complex and surreal! Nicely done, Ms. Winterson! Reviewed by Viviane Crystal on May 19, 2008
The Stone Gods is a dazzling novel. I am not a science fiction fan but I loved this story told with beautiful prose, sometimes achingly sad, a profound comment on our destructive relationship with the earth.
This was an unusual book, filled with a lot of interesting ideas. Unfortunately, the interesting ideas--of humanity's history, and humanity's destiny--weren't enough to make me love this story. But it did suck me in quickly enough to make me think it would.This is the story of a future earth, both similar to what we now know, and scarily possible. Human beings have messed up themselves--and the Earth in a BIG WAY--in doing so. Then another world, "Planet Blue" is found, and it seems there will be a way out of this hard place humanity finds themselves in. But humanity has a tendency to make the same errors over and over again, and this time is no different...
Science fiction, as a genre, is a way for an author and a people to look directly at their society without having to name names or point fingers. Good science fiction should be a dream, a hope, a warning, and a mirror. Not too many books these days can fulfill sci-fi's true potential...The Stone Gods does. Ok, so these are very strong words, but this reader does not think that they are entirely without backing. With this book, Winterson has recaptured much of the spirit of the classic Science Fiction writers of the middle 20th Century in a voice that is distinctly modern/post-modern. It begins in a short, descriptive, cleverly and beautify written Bradburyan world where the human planet is dying, illiteracy is state-mandated, robots are obligatory, and genetic science allows one to pick their age. When a new world, pristine and primordial, is discovered, what does humanity do?Though it is a simple and oft-seen theme, this story quickly reveals its depths and twists in a circular pattern of human nature. Part-way through it takes a very unexpected path, but that is for you to discover, not me to divulge. In many ways, it is an Environmentalist novel, but in a way that this reader felt was more touching, more troubling, and more believable than any Ismael or Silent Spring.A short novel, but one that requires patience, thought, and acceptance of the incredible. If you can give Winterson a chance, she very well might just blow you, as she did me, right off your feet.
Despite a mere 200 pages you too can experience what seems like an epic, multi-volume heap of guilt vomited upon the vulgar vanity with which us humans tuck ourselves in each night. We describe ourselves as civilized, perhaps even progressive, yet in her book The Stone Gods, Jeanette Winterson skillfully reiterates what what we humans are so good at, and obliterates such vanity like a bear would to a sausage pinata.The problem with us, Winterson reminds, is that for all our abilities, we just can't seem to learn anything from history. This recurring idea is the theme of 3 and 1/2 short stories, vignettes maybe, all intertwined within The Stone Gods. The first story, centering around the newly discovered Planet Blue, deals with a very advanced "civilization" coming to terms with its interplanetary recolonization, or at least it's inevitable effect upon colonization. The second story, a historical speculative taking place on Easter Island, illustrates the more aged impulses involved in worshiping your chosen god while sacrificing your home in the process. The third + 1/2 story deals with our near-future hubris after the inevitable Post-3 War, or a not-so-subtle hint at World War III.This novel is a brilliantly conceived yet complex mix of science fiction and dramatic literature. It's up to the reader to discern what worlds, time periods, even places Winterson is alluding to, and she does fantastic job of speculating human behavior, if it is indeed human, within each. She grapples with relevant concepts of today such as war, artificial intelligence, global warming, cosmetic enhancement, all the stuff we humans turn toward when we we turn away from ourselves. Our nuance is that we accept how flawed as a species we are, yet we still are too lazy to do anything about it.Because of this, Winterson unleashes three apocalyptic scenarios upon the reader, both with beauty and inanity. It's a profound exposition on what it means to be human; dare I say it's vividly gonzo. Although it's an excellent book, for me it tended to degrade a bit at the third + story, amounting to more an effort of stream-of-consciousness than a coherent storyline. Here she also gets a little too complex in referring to the book within the story itself.In any case, this is an imaginative and important work, good for both China Mieville and Cormac McCarthy fans.
Winterson's writing is alway, always, always brilliant. I can never put her books down until I'm finished. That said, this wasn't one of my favorites. The part I liked best was the Easter Island romance. More of that, less of robot heads would have appealed more. But I have a hunch she threw that robot head in there specifically to unsettle me, so all I can really say is well done again.
It's better when an SF writer discovers an ism than vice-versa (though not by much) as in this novel "The Stone Gods". While re-hashing and the eternal return, the cycle of violence... are a basic theme of the novel, this doesn't save it from being a bit like a badly informed but 'enthusiastic' blog: derivative, recycled, and parasitic on the form. It may work for those who have never read SF and to whom some of the elements will be new.Avoid it.
I love Winterson, I love sci fi, and I especially love dystopian novels. But something about The Stone Gods sadly fell flat for me. Perhaps it was just because Winterson was out of her comfort zone with the genre; all of the sci fi elements were either vintage or cliche (depending on how charitable one is about them). Most of the characters didn't resonate strongly with me, and the story was sketchy and hard to grasp.The last part may actually be to the book's credit. The plot is about humans' inability to grasp "the big picture," and their inability to keep from making the same mistakes - of consumerism and damage to the economy - over and over again. Quick fixes, living in the here and now, are more attractive solutions than foresight or prudence. That is how The Stone Gods begins: when it looks like the planet has just about had it, the inhabitants have caused too much permanent destruction, a new planet is discovered. It is politicized and viewed as a reprieve and a solution. But human nature doesn't change.Winterson does have some interesting things to say as far as environmental politics goes (although I couldn't help but wonder as I was reading, if the politics she satirizes will all read as terribly dated, looking back on it). But as a work of literature, it needs a bit of polish.
Wonderful book. It's one of Winterson's philosophical speculative fiction books, not one of her more narrative fiction books, so pick it up with that mindset. I can't stop thinking about it. Five stars.
This book is science fiction. Some people have a problem with this.How people react to this is always of great entertainment. It can be seen in the various online reviews of this book, trying to decipher what it is and what it is not. Most comical for me was when one reviewer insisted on correcting all the errors about Easter island the book contains; how captain cook did not abandon any of his crew on that island, how the deforestation of that island actually happened, how the natives really treated Cook and his crew. Clearly, he did not understand what was meant by the word fiction. I am sure no one questioned the validity of Jeanette Winterson's web-footed Venetians in 'The Passion', or her extraordinary revision of Noah's ark in 'Boating for Beginners'. In fact, that she even got any facts correct about Easter Island impressed me. While I was reading this I assumed, being completely ignorant of Easter Island and it's history, that the fact that it had been completely stripped of trees was a fact of her invention. I was willing to go that far to listen to Winterson's argument.Someone else nominated the absurdity of space travel for the purpose of alleviating a polluted planet. Again, the actual functionality of this plot is not the point, the point was to illustrate a flaw in human nature that causes us to have an effect on our planet.
Lyrical, harrowing and thought-provoking visions of the past and future.
What starts off feeling like a vanity project and a jumble of ideas does get woven together into a coherent tapestry and an intriguing theory about time and the universe. I do feel that it could have been developed a bit further - on both the personal and the universal levels - and the different sections tied together a bit more closely. The reader is not given time to become invested in any of the characters.
Would have liked it more if it had a clear beginning, middle and ending. Starts off with party sent to colonize another planet due to wearing out resources on current one. Found it mildly intersting, but cut short. Then a few minor chapters from different time zones and then finishing back on the war torn/dying planet. Can't quite unravel the timeline and wish it was more explicit. (Perhaps I shouldn't have skipped the captain cook chapter).
There are two science fiction dystopias in this book that are set in the 'future' and one, Easter Island, set in the past. With some gender, body-part, and robo/human changes, the same two characters appear in all of them. I was glad to see the science fiction generally serves the stories rather than the other way around. But the author has thrown in too many literary allusions, philosophical musings, and general contemporary complaints (ecological, political, anti-consumerist, self-destructiveness of humanity etc.). The stories and the articulate writing are good but the material they are made out of is unoriginal dross.
¿Planet Blue¿. Orbus is dying some will say died. The planetary residents destroyed their home by polluting everything. However, led by Captain Handsome and with Billie Crusoe and robo sapien Spike as part of the crew, they escape their madness by discovering a perfect blue planet, but must rid this new earth of its dominant species. While the humans plan on their usual mass destruction to solve a problem, Billie and Spike fall in love. They send an asteroid to crash planet-side, destroying the dinosaurs that would have made colonization difficult.------------ ¿Easter Island¿. In 1774 the longboats arrive to be greeted by the giant monuments, but first they must control the natives before they explore. As is the human way, the newcomers plan on mass destruction to restrain the islanders even as Billie and Spike fall in love.------------ 'Wreck City¿. The 3 War along with previous out of control pollution to keep the economy strong has left many places like Wreck City as no zones. These unfit places are expanding as pollution and war has wrecked the once blue planet turning it into a sickly gray. Those with wealth know it is time to escape this dying world and find a new earth to colonize even as Billie and Spike fall in love.----------- This poignant cautionary tale focuses on the theory that humans as a species or as individuals never learn from previous mistakes if a person as a child touches a hot stove, his or her child will not heed their advice and touch the hot stove. With little hope, Jeannette Winterson provides a withering condemnation of mankind who she asserts cannot help it that our DNA contains pandemic (as a society) and localized (as a person and family) destructive genes. As Zager and Evans say in 2525: ¿He's taken everything this old Earth can give. And he ain't put back nothing¿. However, instead of Judgement Day, we leave behind our mess for those struggling to survive and cannot afford escape.----------- Harriet Klausner