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Yarn Paperback – Dec 1 2010

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 309 pages
  • Publisher: Night Shade Books (Dec 1 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1597802107
  • ISBN-13: 978-1597802109
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 2.5 x 21.6 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 318 g
  • Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,322,756 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

About the Author

Jon Armstrong is a speculative fiction writer. His first novel, Grey, was published in 2007 and was short-listed for the Philip K Dick Award. That same year, Jon was also nominated for the Campbell Award for Best New SF Writer.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0x9ccdec54) out of 5 stars 9 reviews
HASH(0x9cbaf834) out of 5 stars Style matters May 6 2012
By Gail Posey - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I knit and sew, and sometimes design clothing for myself, so I admit: I was prepared to condescend to Jon Armstong's book, Yarn. However, I speedily realized my error. Jon has been to design school and is miles ahead of me! I really thought I couldn't finish the book because it was so far over my head.

However, I got a grip on myself, finished reading the story, and enjoyed the amazing storytelling. I will say I personally spent the most time marveling over the machines Jon invented, trying to imagine how they worked.

The detailing in Yarn will blow you away. Forget what you think you know and let Jon lead you into his universe.

You can listen to Jon's first book, Grey, at for an introduction to his storytelling ability. Check out his podcast, If You're Just Joining Us, for the interview where Jon talked to the cover artist. It was great.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9cbafdf8) out of 5 stars Armed with just his yarn pulls, scissors, Mini-Air-Juki handheld sewing machine , and his wits ... Feb. 12 2011
By Ove Jansson, - Published on
Format: Paperback
Yarn is and isn't your ordinary cyberpunk story. Yarn is about Tane Cedar a master tailor and the story takes place in the world of fashion. My first thoughts were that this is outside my comfort reading zone but the stunning cover art and the blurb's talk about fashionpunk, saleswarriors and a love story reeled me in and I am very happy it did.

Like in most good stories it involves a woman. In this case an ex-lover who is on the run from the authorities when she comes to Tane late one night. "Where have you been? What happened? What are you wearing?" are his first questions because that is the kind of man he is. She tells him she is dying and asks him of a favor. She wants him to make her a garment of the illegal psychedelic Xi yarn to ease her last hours. He accepts before she disappears again and the rest of the book tells the story of how he goes about tracking down and acquiring the yarn to fulfill her last wish. The author portions out key pieces of Tane's past from his youth in the slums to yarn-thief to lover to fashion genius that ties in to and explains what is happening in the main story line. That worked very well for me here.

The story contains delightful black humor and Tane Cedar is an interesting character with an inner dignity to him throughout all his ordeals that makes him easy to love. The other characters are more superficial but there are some really interesting ones like Brunne the fashion dictator of Seattlehama, Vada his ex-lover revolutionary and a few more.

The world building is on par with the story and the characters. "Seattlehama: the volcano-powered sex and shopping capital of the world" is the name of a chapter and a good description of the setting. The slums or slubs where Tane grew up are hash places where lives are cheap and workers are recycled to nourish the plants. The fashion scene is as much a place of fighting and warriors as in any cyberpunk story but it also helps setting Tane apart in his focus on the yarn. Greater truths about the world are uncovered as the story progresses.

Yarn is a delightful dark comedy about a dignified master tailor with some serious skills whose world is torn apart one day by an old lover. It lives up to its name; it is indeed a yarn of the best kind, one that captivates you from the first page to the last. This is the first I read by Jon Armstrong and I am mightily impressed. I am really interested to read Grey his debut now. This is a standalone prequel to Grey. Highly recommended.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9cbafcc0) out of 5 stars Brilliant world-building...but yet? April 14 2011
By Darth Breather - Published on
Format: Paperback
What I loved:

It was the cover-art of this book that *really* grabbed me. I kept going back to where it was displayed at a FOGcon dealer table, and in the end decided to judge the book by its cover.

The world-building was brilliant. I loved the Japanese cast to the whole thing, and using Fashion as the guiding principle of society was intriguing and unique. The descriptions were wonderfully evocative.


There was some kind of mismatch between the plot and the place and pace. I felt the story wanted to be about the plot, but it kept getting overwhelmed by the world-building. The use of language, though inventive and apt, still required more effort than I wanted to make... there was perhaps a little too much of it? Like a brocade that's so densely figured that it detracts from all the other characteristics of the fabric. The continuing talk about the fabrics didn't feel "insider" so much as "swallowed a textile encyclopedia." It was difficult to get involved enough to care; I remained a distant spectator, even though I liked the protagonist.


That said, it also feels like one of those books where once you've understood the world, it's easier going. So I may well decide to read the sequel some time, and may enjoy it more.

This book was *very* visual. I can see movie rights in its future. And maybe a graphic novel if there isn't one already.
HASH(0x9cbb115c) out of 5 stars Inspired, deeply satiric, acidly funny Dec 13 2010
By Manleyhorn - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I love, love love the mind of Jon Armstrong. His GREY was probably my favorite book I read in 2010, and one I discovered completely randomly in a bin at my local library. Why he isn't yet the overlord of his own fashion/literary cult...well, there is time.

Yarn takes place in the same Fashion-fueled dystopia of Grey. Or is that Fascion? The casual melding of totalitarian cruelty and high couture, with no moral distinction, is part of what makes his world so bitterly funny and so compelling.

The sentences this man writes can inspire me for weeks. "I am the corporate fashion slut of my dreams!" is one early example. Retail Warriors speak in "WarTalk" that is like Calvin Klein perfume ad copy as written by Joseph Conrad. There really is nothing quite like Yarn and Grey that I've found, and spending time in Mr. Armstrong's carefully and thoroughly-wrought world is as luxurious as fine cashmere kissing milk-white skin.

A few minor quibbles: Mr. Armstrong appears to be sinking comfortably into a slot known as 'speculative sci fi.' I don't know what that means, only that the parts of the book that sagged for me where the parts where I was most aware of the author trying to fit into a 'genre' (when the book took itself seriously as a sci-fi thriller/mystery mostly). I don't know if that is author or publisher driven, but I'd say go with your gut Mr. Armstrong and write what you want, the stranger the better--risk the messy plot and keep the WarTalk coming. Good writing is good writing, don't focus on the sci fi / fantasy labels, defy and transcend them.

Immediately after reading Yarn, I got Gary Shteyngart's "Super Sad True Love Story" on my kindle. Ironically, another near-future dystopian fiction. My review of that novel can be summed up as: 'meh.' Yet it's a critical smash and bestseller. To my ear and eye, Armstrong's take on vapid and rampant consumerism is far funnier and moving than is Mr. Shteyngart's. Where is Michiko Kakutani when you need her?

I hear rumors of another book set in the same world of Grey and Yarn. I'm excited by that--the universe summoned by Mr. Armstrong is so rich in potential it could support at least 2 sequels. This corporate fashion slut cannot wait to go back.
HASH(0x9cbaffb4) out of 5 stars Sci fi without superheroes Feb. 14 2013
By Miles E. Keogh - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I like how in this book the hero isn't a mercernary or a cop or a super-hacker, just a farm boy come to the city with an interest in fashion. How many friends do you have who are mercernaries? Makes this book highly relatable even though it's set in a totally futuristic setting. Great dialogue, good action, excellent pacing, and fun from start to finish.