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Fairyland
Paul J. McAuley
Gollancz, 416 pages

Paul J. McAuley
Paul J. McAuley was born in England in 1955 and currently lives in Scotland. He worked as a researcher in biology at various universities before going to St. Andrew's University as a lecturer in botany for 6 years. He's chosen to move on to become a full-time writer.

His first novel, Four Hundred Billion Stars, won the Philip K. Dick Memorial Award and several subsequent novels have been nominated for the Arthur C. Clarke Award, winning one for Fairyland which also won the 1997 John W. Campbell Memorial Award for Best SF Novel. His short story, "The Temptation of Dr. Stein," won the British Fantasy Award. Pasquale's Angel won the very first Sidewise Award for Alternate History (Long Form) in 1996. McAuley also produces a regular review column for Interzone and contributes reviews to Foundation.

Paul J. McAuley Website
ISFDB Bibliography
SF Site Reading List: Paul J. McAuley
SF Site Review: Whole Wide World
SF Site Review: The Secret of Life
SF Site Interview: Paul J. McAuley
SF Site Excerpt: The Secret of Life
SF Site Review: Shrine of Stars
SF Site Review: Pasquale's Angel
SF Site Review: Ancients of Days
SF Site Review: The Invisible Country
SF Site Review: Child Of The River
SF Site Review: Fairyland
SF Archive: Paul J. McAuley
Star Makers - Paul J. McAuley
Mark/Space: Paul J.McAuley

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Rodger Turner

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Fairyland I was browsing a bookseller's stock one day when I saw a signed set of Paul McAuley's books. I'd heard about him but he'd yet to be published in North America. I was mulling over whether to buy a signed/limited edition by a favourite author of mine (and many, many others). The price of the McAuleys were the same as this single volume. I went for the McAuleys. Boy, was I ever glad I did. Terrific stories, brilliant plot, intriguing characters, peculiar technological notions, I became a fan. So too did a couple of American publishers. They've published many of his titles.

Alex Sharkey is a pudgy, socially inept designer of soon-to-be-illegal psychoactive viruses. He's getting his butt kicked around by a bent cop, the gangster to whom he's in debt, the gangster's minions, his landlord, in fact just about everybody. He's not happy. One day he meets Milena, who looks about eight, acts about ninety and who wants him to design an enzyme. With her contacts and his work, they can convert a new toy of the age, gene-engineered slave dolls, into living beings, fairys. So, he figures, why not? What can it hurt? He'll get out of debt, annoy those who torment him and have a bit of fun. As you can guess, things don't quite happen that way. It begins a quest through Europe, from the Magic Kingdom outside Paris (Disney will not like what he does to EuroDisney) to the Library of Dreams, which may or may not be real (nobody can decide) to Albania where war has made a mockery of western civilization.

McAuley's prose is so striking, his science is so ingenious, his characters are so vivid, that I can't begin to describe his ideas and to do them proper justice. The depth of detail just swept me away. I'll bet that you'll be hooked like I was.


Copyright © 1996, 2002 Rodger Turner

Rodger has read a lot of science fiction and fantasy in forty years. He can only shake his head and say, "So many books, so little time."


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