Read A Paradigm of Earth Online

Authors: Candas Jane Dorsey

Tags: #Science Fiction

A Paradigm of Earth (41 page)

…every heart, every heart to love must come, but like a refugee …
“In a radical departure from her austere first novel,
Black Wine
(1997), Canadian author Dorsey has produced a powerful character study filled with colorful and highly emotive language … . Morgan’s development from a depressed, hollow shell of a person to someone who can both love and be loved is detailed with impressive skill. Those interested in gender and feminism, as well as fans of thoughtful, emotion-centered SF, have a treat in store.”

Publishers Weekly
“Although socially marginal, Dorsey’s characters are ordinary enough, believable because of their flaws, and become extraordinary through their circumstances and relationships.”

“A Paradigm of Earth
overflows with two qualities that are rare in literature: goodness and sanity. To capture them seems like a modest achievement. But it is not. This wonderful, moving SF parable of humans and aliens negotiating community and risking the boundaries of self is a most humane document—brave, funny, heartbreaking, sexy, dangerous, and trustworthy. Candas Jane Dorsey is a writer with perfect human pitch. That, too, is easy to underestimate. A humdinger of a novel.”
—Patrick O’Leary
“In Candas Dorsey’s powerful novel, A
Paradigm of Earth
, an alien world sends its emissaries to Earth to learn about humanity, and one of them finds a home in a house-of-all-sorts in the Canadian midwest among the yearningly alienated and disaffected. Their story burns with intensity beneath Dorsey’s deceptively smooth and eloquent style.”
—Phyllis Gotlieb
A work of fiction is always unconsciously pieced together in part from the ragbag of real experience, but that process can happen consciously too. In this book, I have taken a certain gleeful pleasure in salting the mine with some references to reality. Among others, the artistic works and contributions of (in no particular order) Edouard Lock and La La La Human Steps (especially
Businessman in the Process of Becoming an Angel
, 1984), Ferron, Leonard Cohen, Caetano Veloso, Earl Klein, Rachmaninoff, John Crowley, Bob Dylan, Colin Simpson, Jane Siberry, Jack Dorsey, Marie Dorsey, Jaclyn Dorsey, Michael Dorsey, Sara Dorsey, Robin Dezall, Bambino Farelinelli and his creator (“Love one another with a pure heart fervently …”), Ronnie Burkett and his Theatre of Marionettes, Judith Merril, Brian Fawcett
Public Eye
), Ken Brown (
The Cambodia Pavilion
), Sarah Smith, Joanne Sydiaha, Ankie Engel, Greer Ilene Gilman
Zhauna Alexander
(Amelia’s Aquarium),
Steeleye Span, Sima Khorrami, Peter Sutherland, Chantal de Rementeria, Gay Haldeman, Dede Weil, Dean Stoker, Guy Kay
Evergon, Jon Lomberg, Ursula K. Le Guin, Ma Rainey, Samuel R. Delany, Doug Barbour, Spider Robinson, Derwyn Whitbread, Jane Duncan, Judy Chicago, Margaret Atwood, Maria Formolo, Edgar Meyer, Rickie Lee Jones, Ian Tamblyn, Rachel Pollack, Annie Dillard and even Ian Fleming have contributed to the tapestry, either through my references that can be caught by the reader or simply by inspiring at some point the spirit or intention of the work. Sharon Grant Wildwind invented in a piece of fiction the idea of kids in the future having recycling routes, and I use it with her permission. A poem written by a fellow student in a poetry class in 1971 (“the energy needed to live / alone is so great”) has stayed powerfully with me although I have unfortunately forgotten the author’s name. I have also forgotten the name of the dance company in Winnipeg in 1994 whose brilliant adagio dance to Rachmaninoff’s
is paid homage in Jakob Ngogaba’s
Night Through Slow Glass.
These are only a few of the influences on this book.
First Contact novels are common. We all know what we have to do. This is a book not about aliens but about love. Thanks to all whom I loved and who loved me through the years of its creation. You know who you are.
Thanks to David Hartwell at Tor for his breadth of experience, editorial persistence, and friendship; thanks to his assistants Jim Minz (then) and Moshe Feder (later). Thanks to a community of writers and readers, and especially thanks to all the people who offered or were drafted to read all or parts of this book while it was in progress, including but not limited to (in alphabetical order) Timothy Anderson, Peter Brand, Bev Estock, Pamela Freeman, Betty Gibbs, Amber Hayward, Nalo Hopkinson, Farah Mendlesohn, John Park, Ursula Pflug, Cordelia Sherman, Donna Simone, Michael Skeet, Gerry Truscott, Elisabeth Vonarburg, Mary Woodbury, and no doubt others shamefully forgotten: thank you all for important comments and support.
Thank you too to the Alberta Foundation for the Arts and the Canada Council for the Arts for providing financial support directly for the writing of this book or for my writing work in general. Such patronage is essential for the existence of artists in general and of Canadian culture on the world stage.
This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this novel are either fictitious or are used fictitiously.
Copyright © 2001 by Candas Jane Dorsey
All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce this book, or portions thereof, in any form.
Edited by David G. Hartwell
A Tor Book
Published by Tom Doherty Associates, LLC
175 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY 10010
is a registered trademark of Tom Doherty Associates, LLC.
Book design by Heidi Eriksen
eISBN 9781429973120
First eBook Edition : March 2011
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Dorsey, Candas Jane.
A paradigm of earth / Candas Jane Dorsey. p. cm.
“A Tom Doherty Associates book.”
ISBN 0-312-87796-X (hc)
ISBN 0-312-87797-8 (pbk)
1. Human-alien encounters—Fiction. 2. Infants—Fiction. 3. Canada—Fiction. I. Title.
PR9199.3.D56 P37 2001
First Hardcover Edition: October 2001
First Trade Paperback Edition: November 2002

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