The Unconquered Country

Geoff Ryman
The Unconquered Country Cover

The Unconquered Country


Life during wartime. To get by, Third Child sells her blood and rents out her womb to give birth to industrial materials. Birthing weapons pays the best but is also the most painful and bloody.

Ryman's short novel, based on his earlier novella, chronicles the horrors of a proud and peaceful people who lose everything, abandon their rural existence for life in a city they do not understand, and learn in the end that even the people they support in the war will turn against them in the chaos following victory.

Houses that grow and move with their occupants, those grotesque births Third Child undergoes – Ryman's novel has many fantastic elements. But when he wrote it in 1986, reports coming out of Cambodia and his own experiences in Southeast Asia provided the framework for his story. You need only read today's reports from Syria and South Sudan to appreciate his novel's continuing relevance.