Robinson’s only fantasy to date. A compelling far-future tale guaranteed to delight his fans.
A man tumbles through wild surf, half-drowned, to collapse on a moonlit beach. When he regains consciousness, he has no memory of who he is or where he came from. He knows only that the woman who washed ashore with him has disappeared sometime in the night, and that he has awakened in a surreal landscape of savage beauty – a mysterious watery world encircled by a thin spit of land.
In a perverse world of which he has no understanding, he must struggle to find the woman, who is being held hostage by a savage tribe. And he must struggle to find himself, because he doesn’t know who or what he is.
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Kim Stanley Robinson, justly famous for his science fiction, has created a mesmerizing fantasy work in A Short, Sharp Shock. Each brief chapter (with evocative titles such as "Beauty Is the Promise of Happiness") explores a little further along the path of the amnesiac protagonist, Thel. Thel finds himself on an amazing world, which has just one narrow ridge of land encircling the globe, with endless ocean on either side. And Thel is on a quest, searching for the woman who was with him when he first awakened, but who was taken by the murderous spine kings. In his travels along the ribbon of land, Thel encounters exotic local peoples and their legends of the origin of the world, and learns more about his companions and himself. Robinson's imagination is far-ranging and he has a pointed way with words: in a scene where Thel is slowly pushed through a magical mirror, Robinson's evocation of pain is unforgettable. A Short, Sharp Shock is guaranteed to haunt the reader for a long time. -- Blaise SelbyReview:
‘IF I HAD TO CHOOSE ONE WRITER WHOSE WORK WILL SET THE STANDARD FOR SCIENCE FICTION IN THE FUTURE, IT WOULD BE KIM STANLEY ROBINSON’
NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW
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Book Description Voyager, 2000. Paperback. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # 0006510787