Since, thanks to the estimable auspices of Time, everyone now knows that they must get a copy of Magic for Beginners as soon as possible, it struck me that it might be worth adding a second recommendation for USians about to head out to the bookstores, looking for the perfect Christmas gift.
Assuming you have a love of rock ‘n’ roll, and like that pirate kind of image thing, the Night Shade edition of Gwyneth Jones’s Arthur C. Clarke award winner Bold as Love is hard to go past. The book is terrific. What’s it about? Well, the cover blurb says this:
Dissolution Summer: the soon-to-be-former UK was desperate. The world was in the grip of a fearsome economic depression. The anti-globalization movement threatened stability throughout Europe, supported by rioting youth, bitterly disaffected voters, and encroaching environmental doom.
The Home Secretary decided to recruit a Countercultural Think Tank: pop stars would make the government look too cool to be overthrown. His girlfriend, club-promoter and music biz socialite Allie Marlowe, filled his shopping cart for him with such indie notable as Ax Preston, the soft-spoken biracial guitar virtuoso; Aoxomoxoa (aka Sage Pender), techno-wizard king of the lads; and Fiorinda Slater, the baby punk-diva with a horrendous past.
It was just another publicity stunt for the rockers, until the shooting began. Now Slater and her friends must find a way to stay alive, and overthrow the dominant social order, while the UK disintegrates under their feet. Will rock & roll’s revolutionary promise finally deliver, or will ethnic violence drown hippie idealism in rivers of blood? Either way, the world will never be the same.
In these days when Bono spends as much time with Prime Ministers and Presidents as he does on stage, it’s not hard to see how a rock star might step over from one world into another. When I first read this back when it was published in the US I loved it. I still do. Go buy it for someone you love, and let them know that three more books have been published and Jones has just finished the final book in the set, Rainbow Bridge.