It is partly a contemporary and near-future satire of consumerism (particularly sexual), space exploration, robots, the media as non-elected government, environmental destruction, the individual versus the system, techno-information and computerised impersonal policing.
The Stone Gods – Jeanette Winterson
It is a brilliantly imaginative leap into the near future where dogs have a bark button (to switch the bark off), kitchen hands are intelligent machines that tidy up, and nearly everyone gets genetically fixed at the age they believe will suit them ...
An idyllic planet has been discovered – Planet Blue – so the dominant military/economic block plan to move there and leave the ailing Earth to the others.
At other times and places the story appears to have been repeated and maybe long ago the Earth was spotted from a dying planet and colonised as a fresh start. Lo, we've screwed up again.
There is a romance between a woman and a robot, and this ISN'T really part of the satire; it is a very nifty way of checking the reader's assumptions about romance: is it a meeting of bodies, minds or mysteries? The robot, being far more open-minded than any self-proclaimed open-minded human, is genuinely open to all ideas and experiences, including lesbian sex (before it even has a body fitted to its 'head'), and poetry (for which it wasn't programmed).
Jeanette Winterson - author
Despite the themes of the book being close to my heart, I didn't feel any new sense of frustration with the witless collective veneration of consumerism. I did keep re-reading the book as if hungry for more. I'd like to know more about the many interesting (and superficial) characters this future world introduced.
This story would make an excellent film, especially with a team sympathetic to Jeanette's work. A few brilliant ideas, like the bikers, are too brief to do them justice.
Favourite quote: ... the stretch of the body beloved is the landmass of the world.
Jeanette Winterson - her favourite books - video
Jeanette Winterson - interview
Recently, (19th November 2012) Jeanette Winterson was in the news calling for the UK's library service to be expanded, and suggested, rather topically, that it could be paid for by Google, Starbucks and Amazon - the three global enterprises at the top of the league (so far) in avoiding paying tax on their UK profits.
In May 2012 Jeanette Winterson was appointed Professor of Creative Writing the University of Manchester Centre for New Writing - the post taking effect from October.