The Child Garden

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The Child Garden
Cover of first edition (hardcover)
Author Geoff Ryman
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Genre Science fiction
Publisher Unwin Hyman (U.K.) & St. Martin's Press (U.S.)
Publication date
Media type Print (Hardcover & Paperback)
Pages 389
ISBN 0-04-440393-3
OCLC 20016163

The Child Garden is a 1989 science fiction novel by Geoff Ryman. It won both the Arthur C. Clarke Award and the John W. Campbell Memorial Award in 1990.[1]

The novel is structured as two books with a brief introduction. The first book was originally published in two parts as "Love Sickness" in the Summer and Autumn 1987 editions of the British science fiction magazine Interzone.[2] It won the 1988 BFSA Award[3] and placed 8th in the Locus Poll Award for Best Novella.[1]


In a future semitropical England cancer has been cured, but, as a result, the human lifespan has been halved and socialism has replaced capitalism. It is a world transformed by global warming and by advances in genetic engineering. Houses, machines, even spaceships are genetically-engineered life-forms.

Milena, an actress, secretly has an immunity to the viruses routinely used to educate people. She attempts to use holograms to stage an opera based on Dante's The Divine Comedy. The opera is written by her genetically modified friend Rolfa. As she works on the opera she encounters the ruling body of the world, called the Consensus, an artificial hive mind made up of the mental patterns of billions of children. Milena slowly discovers that this gestalt consciousness is lonely and afraid of dying and it looks to Milena as a form of salvation.

See also


  1. ^ a b "The Locus Index to SF Awards: Index of Literary Nominees". Archived from the original on 2009-02-10. Retrieved 2009-02-26.
  2. ^ Per jacket cover by St. Martin's Press
  3. ^ "1989 Award Winners & Nominees". Worlds Without End. Retrieved 2009-09-17.

External links

  • The Child Garden at Worlds Without End
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