Last year I received a manuscript about two fifteen-year-old boys starting a band after seeing Dylan live in 1965. Over the next 1,000 pages and 400,000 words it touches on the Summer of Love, the Vietnam War, Woodstock… and what happened in the decades between then and now. For a solid week I couldn’t escape its gravitational pull. Its called Outside the Gates of Eden, its by Lewis Shiner and its a great American novel.
Before Eden, Lewis Shiner was a cyberpunk pioneer, a Hugo Finalist, a World Fantasy Award winner. He has written about the tango, race relations, rock music and skateboarding (and all these novels are forthcoming from Head of Zeus) and now he has presented us with his magnum opus, Outside the Gates of Eden. Now, it also turns out that Lew was one of the original Wild Cards writers with George RR Martin, and on a recent blog GRRM had this to say about the book:
'EDEN starts in the 60s and goes all the way up to the present day and the near future. Along the way it touches on the counterculture, the Summer of Love, the Vietnam War, Woodstock, and so much more… it is, in short, the story of a generation. Honestly, I really don’t know how Gen Xers or millennials will respond to it. Maybe they’ll see it as a historical novel, as distant from themselves as a novel of the Civil War. I can’t imagine a Boomer not responding to what Lew has done here. I read this in galleys, long before publication, and I find myself thinking back on it often. Let me give this one the ultimate compliment: I wish I had written it. I didn’t, though. Lew did.’
You can read Mr Martin’s full blog over at his Not a Blog.