First up, OUT ON BLUE SIX (cover at top), which was first published in 1989…
Hundreds of years from now, the world is perfect. The Compassionate Society guarantees happiness, peace and total personal fulfillment to its citizens, and those less than satisfied are guilty of Paincrime.
Among them, count cartoonist Courtney Hall, who runs afoul of the Ministry of Pain when one of her cartoons hits a little too close to home. Pursued by the relentless Love Police, she drops down a rabbit hole into a counter-world of rebels, artists and enhanced raccoons.
Out on Blue Six is a fast, funny, bizarre story of an almost-Utopia–and almost-Utopias make the best dystopias.
‘For ten years, I’ve been singing the praises of OUT ON BLUE SIX, Ian McDonald’s 1989 science fiction novel that defies description and beggars the imagination… this book is one of those once-in-a-generation, brain-melting flashes of brilliance that makes you fall in love with a writer’s work forever.’ — Cory Doctorow
Published in 1991, KING OF MORNING, QUEEN OF DAY went on to win the Philip K. Dick Award…
In Ireland, three generations of young women fight to control the powers coursing through their blood: the power to bring the mystical Otherworld into our world, and change it.
Emily, Jessica and Enye must each face their dark side of human mythoconsciousness — and their own personal histories. But the forces of faerie are ever treacherous…
Filled with vivid, passionate characters you will never forget, King of Morning, Queen of Day is a spellbinding fantasy of the real Ireland.
‘McDonald’s power as a storyteller lies in his stylistic versatility and intensity of language as well as in his capacity to create vivid and memorable characters. Highly recommended.’ — Library Journal
‘A brilliant book.’ — Charles de Lint
Next up, 1992’s THE BROKEN LAND…
Grandfather was a tree, Father grew trux, in fifteen colours. Mother could sing the double-helix song, sing it right into the hearts of living things and change them…
The Land is a living, breathing, sentient world, where careful skills and talent can manipulate its very substance into a myriad different shapes and forms.
This is the world in which Mathembe Fileli grows up, until the conflicts tearing her country apart shatter her village, her home and her family and scatter them to the four winds. Can Mathembe reunite her family in a world full of angels, talking trees, squalor and glory?
‘At once disturbing and beautiful… superbly realized.’ — The Times
‘Ian McDonald takes on all the atrocity and strife of the 20th Century, radically displaces it, and dares to envision a means of change. It’s a brilliant achievement.’ — Locus
‘Inventive and often effective drama, but dense and oppressive, with the dark and anguished backdrop looming above the characters; and the ending bleakly acknowledges that, in terms of today’s troubles, nothing much can be done.’ — Kirkus
‘[The] world is a captivating one with its rampant biotechnology and passionate characters. But McDonald…, a lifelong resident of Belfast, also succeeds in presenting the religious and national conflict of an Ireland that still knows no respite from bloodshed.’ — Publishers Weekly
Look at that fantastic (and slightly terrifying) cover for the new edition of SCISSORS CUT PAPER WRAP STONE! First published in 1994, this edition also includes the short story THE TEAR. Here’s the synopsis…
Words can control you, words can make you act against your own will… and words can kill.
Ethan Ring discovers computer graphics with profound effects on human minds — fracters. Dark political forces want his power, and Ethan must face the consequences of his creation, and his actions.
In search of redemption, he embarks on an ancient thousand-mile pilgrimage, but can he ever escape the forces that once controlled him, and can he resist the power of the deadly images tattooed onto his hands?
‘Cyberpunk’s first lyrical poem, mixing Kabbalah, manga, pop-culture trivia and Zen with enough style and dexterity to actually pull it off… [McDonald] does more in a page than most writers do in a chapter.’ — Neal Stephenson
‘[A] slim but powerful vision of 21st-century Japan and a guilt-ridden man’s journey through it toward redemption… effectively blends Ring’s personal story with his depiction of a future Japan reverting to technological feudalism and haunted by reconstructed “ghosts” of the dead preserved in virtual realities, and he keeps this fine novel tight and well focused.’ — Publishers Weekly
And finally, SACRIFICE OF FOOLS, which was first published in 1996…
They’re ancient, power, enigmatic, and here.
Eight million alien Shian have come to Earth. Not as conquerors, or invaders, but as settlers. In exchange for their technology, they’re given places to live.
One of those places in Northern Ireland, where eighty thousand Shian settlers disrupt the old, poisonous duality of Northern Irish life. The Shian remain aloof from the legacy of violence — until a Shian family is murdered down to the last child.
Humans and aliens seem on a collision course, unless Andy Gillespie, ex-con, now Shian translator, can hunt down the killer before they strike again. But that’s not so easy in Northern Ireland…
‘A spell-binding tale of intrigue and empathy.’ — SF Site
‘A powerful and effective story.’ — Jo Walton