Picture of author.

Geoff Ryman

Author of Was

47+ Works 4,387 Members 137 Reviews 28 Favorited

About the Author

Image credit: Geoff in his beautiful silk shirt. Photo by Johan Anglemark.

Works by Geoff Ryman

Was (1992) 905 copies
Air: Or, Have Not Have (2004) 868 copies
The Child Garden (1989) 734 copies
253 (1996) 560 copies
The King's Last Song (2006) 227 copies
Lust (2001) 227 copies
The Warrior who Carried Life (1985) 175 copies
The Unconquered Country (1984) 144 copies
When It Changed: Science into Fiction (2009) — Editor — 58 copies
Tesseracts Nine: New Canadian Speculative Fiction (2005) — Editor — 41 copies
HIM (2023) 39 copies
V.A.O. (2002) 34 copies

Associated Works

Brave New Worlds: Dystopian Stories (2011) — Contributor — 509 copies
Year's Best SF 9 (2004) — Contributor — 258 copies
Year's Best SF 5 (2000) — Contributor — 255 copies
Year's Best SF 15 (2010) — Contributor — 201 copies
Cities (2003) — Contributor — 195 copies
The Wesleyan Anthology of Science Fiction (2010) — Contributor — 136 copies
Nebula Awards Showcase 2013 (2013) — Contributor — 119 copies
The Mammoth Book of the Best of Best New SF (2008) — Contributor — 104 copies
The Best Science Fiction of the Year: Volume 1 (2016) — Contributor — 101 copies
The Best of Interzone (1997) — Contributor — 99 copies
Nebula Awards Showcase 2009 (2009) — Contributor — 94 copies
The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror 18 (2007) — Contributor — 76 copies
Fantasy: The Best of the Year, 2007 Edition (2007) — Contributor — 76 copies
Year's Best Fantasy 7 (2007) — Contributor — 61 copies
Stories for Chip: A Tribute to Samuel R. Delany (2015) — Contributor — 60 copies
The Year's Best Science Fiction & Fantasy, 2016 Edition (2016) — Contributor — 60 copies
The Stories: Five Years of Original Fiction on tor.com (2013) — Contributor — 38 copies
New Worlds 10 (1976) — Contributor — 37 copies
Welcome to Dystopia: 45 Visions of What Lies Ahead (2017) — Contributor — 35 copies
Year's Best Fantasy 9 (2009) — Contributor — 34 copies
Burning Brightly: 50 Years of Novacon (2021) — Contributor — 33 copies
London Centric: Tales of Future London (2020) — Contributor — 32 copies
Robots, A Science Fiction Anthology (2005) — Contributor — 30 copies
Imaginarium 2012: The Best Canadian Speculative Writing (2012) — Contributor — 26 copies
Crossing the Border (1998) — Contributor — 21 copies
Vital Signals: Virtual Futures, Near-Future Fictions (2022) — Contributor — 14 copies
Polder: A Festschrift for John Clute and Judith Clute (2006) — Contributor — 13 copies
Apex Magazine 37 (June 2012) (2012) — Contributor — 5 copies
Galaxies 2010 (2010) — Contributor — 2 copies
Wielka Księga Horroru - Tom II (2010) — Contributor — 2 copies
Evolution @ Intersection — Contributor — 2 copies

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I must admit I became enamoured of Geoff Ryman’s work after reading The King’s Last Song, a superb tale which relates the story of an archaeologist working on the stupendous site of Angkor Wat where he finds a book of golden leaves which is a memoir written by Jayavarman Seven, one of the first Buddhist kings in Cambodia. The second story reveals the contents of the memoir as its being written. The third story revolves around a former Khmer Rouge policeman. The intersection of these stories haunts me still, years after having read it.

Since then, I’ve read just about everything Ryman has written, and have always been deeply affected.

Ryman’s latest novel, Him, surpasses anything he has written thus far. In my opinion, the skill and scope of the novel firmly places him in the same league as Rushdie and Atwood. And like those luminaries’ works, Him is destined to not only become a classic in literature which transcends genre, but join that cannon of books which are banned and burned.

Him is a reimagining of the mythology of Jesus, and what Ryman creates is believable, sensitive, devastating. As always, his writing is precise, his characters clearly defined, his pacing and plot fraught with tension.

Ryman’s exploration reveals a pregnant woman married off to a man who is essentially the village idiot. She cannot account for her pregnancy, thus the virgin birth. He has been exiled for preaching questionable views of the Torah. The marriage is difficult in that neither wishes any sexual congress, and yet they do somehow manage children. The eldest child, born female and named Avigayil, becomes a transgender individual, and after serving an apprenticeship as a stonemason, goes on walk-about preaching a new interpretation of the Hebrew texts. As expected, their following grows. The essential points of the Jesus story are followed.

But what Ryman does with the characters and events is startling, provoking, and utterly memorable. Maryam’s shock, fear, and disgust of her daughter’s actions is made abundantly clear, to the point she refers to her daughter, now identifying as male and Yeshu, as It, or the Cub.

Yosef barLevi, the hapless husband and father, stumbles his way through existence, incapable of providing for his family, of demonstrating any act of connection.

And Avigayil-become-Yeshu, rockets through phases of recklessness, demand, and grief, until embracing their course of action as a teacher, a prophet, and in the end a god.

Ryman examines profound discovery and self-realization, ripping away any sentimentality and doctrine, and in the end exposes the core of what it means to be human, and to love.

I will not reveal the last passage of Him. Suffice it to say I read it at 3:00 a.m., weeping because of the beauty of what Ryman had written, and the emotional impact of what he had to say.

If Him doesn’t make the shortlist for the Booker, the Giller, and the GG, there is something truly wrong with our understanding of stunning literature. And you should go out right now, obtain a copy, read it, weep, and then give Him a permanent place in your library.
… (more)
 
Flagged
fiverivers | 1 other review | May 27, 2024 |
A gimmick novel consisting of 253 short profiles of people on a tube train in London. Enough said.
½
 
Flagged
TomMcGreevy | 19 other reviews | May 21, 2023 |
This book demands much of the reader. It has taken me the better part of this year to complete it with many gaps, filled with not-reading. There is a massive imagination at work in here, exploring creation, all the realities we live in, proposing one outcome, ultimately undone. But it asked more of me, than I had to give.
½
 
Flagged
TomMcGreevy | 16 other reviews | Dec 22, 2022 |

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Statistics

Works
47
Also by
64
Members
4,387
Popularity
#5,720
Rating
½ 3.7
Reviews
137
ISBNs
85
Languages
9
Favorited
28

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