I’ve never been a big fan of science-fiction or fantasy. I seem to have a problem with planets and aliens and unicorns. However, in the hands of Jeanette Winterson, one of my favorite authors, I can get on the alternate reality train.
In The Stone Gods Winterson offers up a tale of a post-apocalyptic world on a planet ravaged by industrialization run by corporations with the help of robots. The book is divided into three parts, Planet Blue, Something I can’t remember on Easter Island, and Post 3War.
Right from the get go, Winterson makes it clear that things aren’t quite what they seem. The book opens with narrator Billie Crusoe pimping this new planet they’ve found, Planet Blue. The planet she lives on is called Orbus, and it’s been wrecked by humankind. As the story unfolds you begin to question whether Orbus is Earth or the new Planet Blue is Earth. It’s a fun ride.
Winterson paints the Orbus’ society as a mix between the governmental control of 1984 and some sort of hedonistic neverland that I’ve never read about. On Orbus people “fix” at a certain age so nobody ever grows old, everyone has been genetically enhanced to be cosmetically perfect, and in a world where everyone is “perfect” it’s the weird and unusual who are not fetishized. There’s a scene in a sex club that will make your jaw drop.
Oh and there’s some hot human on Robo sapien action, but I won’t talk about that too much lest I give away too much of the plot.
The book follows Billies of different generations through time. As the book goes you get a glimpse of what our world will become physically, morally, emotionally. It’s so fascinating. This is a slim book clocking in at only 206 pages, and it flies. It’s a rollercoaster from page one, and every second is enjoyable.
One of the things I love about Winterson’s writing is that when you crack the spine on one of her books, you have to be ready to bring it. She is not an author for the feeble-minded or literarily lazy. Every paragraph will challenge you and about every other one will be so stunningly beautiful that you’ll have to put the book down to catch your breath.