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A powerful feminist story in a dystopian landscape(0)

June 19, 2017

The Book of the Unnamed Midwife, by Meg Elison @@@@ (4 out of 5) Meg Elison‘s debut novel, The Book of the Unnamed Midwife, won the prestigious Philip K. Dick Award and was included among the Publishers Weekly Best Books of the Year, 2016, and Amazon Best Books of the Year, 2016. It’s another sign that science fiction has… Read More ›

Terrorism. Homeland Security. Teenage rebellion.

Little Brother, by Cory Doctorow @@@@@ (5 out of 5) Welcome to dystopia. In Little Brother, the Department of Homeland Security runs amok in San Francisco after terrorist bombings take out the Bay Bridge and the cross-bay BART tunnel with the loss of more than 4,000 lives. The city is flooded with heavily armored agents… Read More ›

A novel about Middle Eastern refugees that ignores the challenges refugees face

Exit West: A Novel, by Mohsin Hamid @@ (2 out of 5) Most literary critics, and the people who hand out the Booker Prize, tend to be a reliable source of books I won’t like. So I should have been paying more attention when I picked up Exit West by the award-winning British-Pakistani novelist Mohsin Hamid…. Read More ›

An engrossing tale of aliens, giant robots, and a motley collection of scientists

Waking Gods (Themis Files #2), by Sylvain Neuvel @@@@ (4 out of 5) Here’s how I began my review of Sleeping Giants, the first novel in the Themis Files series: “Every once in a while you come across a work of fiction so puzzling that you simply can’t put it down. No matter that the… Read More ›

San Francisco after the Plague

The City, Not Long After, by Pat Murphy @@@@ (4 out of 5) Pat Murphy’s novel, The City, Not Long After, is a puzzling piece of work. With generous helpings of fantasy, it doesn’t quite qualify as science fiction. Sometimes the book is categorized as a dystopian novel. Since the near-future American society Murphy depicts… Read More ›

Life on Earth after the apocalypse

Station Eleven, by Emily St. John Mandel @@@@@ (5 out of 5) This is not the plot for Emily St. John Mandel’s captivating post-apocalyptic novel, Station Eleven: Doctor Eleven has fled the destruction of Earth to take up residence on Station Eleven, a space station the size of a small planet that is nearly covered… Read More ›

A superb tale of a future where artificial intelligence rules

This Perfect Day, by Ira Levin @@@@@ (5 out of 5) Centuries in the future, the people of Earth live under the control of an artificial intelligence called UniComp. A century and a half earlier, the computers governing the five continents had come together in the Unification. The result was a worldwide society free of… Read More ›

Overpopulation in fiction and on film

Make Room! Make Room!, by Harry Harrison @@@ (3 out of 5) In 1973, American filmgoers were shocked by a film entitled Soylent Green, starring Charlton Heston and Leigh Taylor-Young. The film depicts New York City in 2022 with a population of 40 million. The streets are crowded with homeless people, but those few with… Read More ›

In an alternate history, the Nazis occupy England

SS-GB, by Len Deighton @@@@ (4 out of 5) In the literature of alternate history, Nazi Germany often wins World War II. Philip K. Dick’s The Man in the High Castle, Fatherland by Robert Harris, and Jo Walton’s Farthing Trilogy (Farthing, Ha’penny, and Half a Crown, all reviewed here) are prominent examples. There are many others,… Read More ›

A terrifying vision of the future in an award-winning young adult novel

Feed, by M. T. Anderson @@@@@ (5 out of 5) M. T. Anderson’s award-winning novel, Feed, is one of the scariest books I’ve read in many years (and it was written for teenagers!). Yet the terror it evokes emerges only slowly, as Anderson reveals, chapter by chapter, additional details that demonstrate the hopelessness of the… Read More ›