A Short, Sharp Shock (book, Kim Stanley Robinson, 2015)


{8F0200A5-3B45-4078-B0AB-7889B47A90CA}Img400

Not the cover of the edition I read. That was so awful I’m saving you from it.

FIVE STARS

Author: Kim Stanley Robinson

180 pages

1990

This book’s been in my collection for 15 years, according to the press release slip I found still preserved inside the cover. Fittingly, I read it on top of a cliff by the roaring sea.
A man wakes up on a beach in a strange world, next to him is a woman he doesn’t recognise but who he knows means everything to him. When she vanishes, he sets off to rescue her, taking him on a mind-bending journey that is a little like The Wizard of Oz for grown-ups, but with a lot more sea and a lot more sex.
Themes of circularity, eternity, free will, love and the persistence of self in the face of death means this lines up very closely with my own stories, so I was bound to love it.
Pleasingly enigmatic, gloriously written and full of invention, A Short, Sharp Shock is a book I’ll come back to in my twilight years. There’s a certain comfort to it that takes the edge off mortality.

If you’ve read and enjoyed A Short, Sharp Shock, do check out Champion of Mars (here’s the ebook). They’re thematically close.