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Short, (A) Sharp Shock

Robinson, Kim Stanley

437 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 0929480198 / ISBN 13: 9780929480190
Published by Mark V. Ziesing, 1990, c1990,, 1990
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1st Edition, #208 of 500 copies, cloth, fine w/dj & box, 147 pps, B & W illus. by Arnie Fenner, 8vo, signed by the author & the artist, '.incorporating erotic symbolism fraught with quasi-Freudian. Bookseller Inventory # 24747

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Short, (A) Sharp Shock

Publisher: Mark V. Ziesing, 1990, c1990,

Publication Date: 1990

About this title


A man tumbles through wild surf, half drowned, to collapse on a moonlit beach. He awakens in a surreal landscape of savage beauty, with no memory of who he is or where he came from. He knows only that the woman who washed ashore with him disappeared sometime in the night. Aided by strange tribesmen, he journeys to the cove of the spine kings, a brutal race that has enslaved the woman and several of the tribesmen. So begins his quest to seek out the identity and the fate of the woman whose hold on his imagination is both unfathomable and unshakable. Haunting and lyrical, filled with uncommon beauty and terrible peril, this luminous short work from one of science fiction's most respected talents confirms his reputation for brilliance and for the unexpected.


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 Selby

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