Category Archives: Speculative Fiction

American War

Omar El Akkad’s debut novel is an unsettling and ingenious imaging of a U.S. Civil War in the late 21st century. The story follows the life of Sarat Chestnutt, born near the Mississippi Sea in the purple state of Louisiana. … Continue reading

Posted in Fiction, Speculative Fiction | 7 Comments

The Heirs of Columbus

By this time, I’ve read more than a handful of Native American novels, several of them from the Native American Renaissance during the 1960s. There’s a thematic similarity to the ones I’ve read from that time period: they are often … Continue reading

Posted in Fiction, Speculative Fiction | 9 Comments

The Water Knife

It took me a while to get into this book by Paolo Bacigalupi. The story follows three separate characters, each one dealing with a different aspect of the calamitous water shortages in the southwestern U.S. Angel is a “water knife,” … Continue reading

Posted in Fiction, Speculative Fiction | 2 Comments

Redemption in Indigo

Karen Lord’s debut novel Redemption in Indigo is… kind of a mess, to be honest. I’m not sure what it’s supposed to be, and it’s awkward in places, and I’m not crazy about the ending. But it is the most … Continue reading

Posted in Fiction, Speculative Fiction | 2 Comments

The Core of the Sun

In the Finland of this novel by Johanna Sinisalo and translated by Lola Rogers, women are sorted during childhood into two groups: Eloi and Morlocks (named inspired by H.G. Wells). The Morlocks are the workers, free to live as they … Continue reading

Posted in Fiction, Speculative Fiction | Leave a comment

Borne

Rachel is a scavenger who lives in the ruins of an old apartment building with Wick, a former employee of a biotech firm called the Company. The environment is a complete wreck. Rachel spent much of her childhood as a … Continue reading

Posted in Fiction, Speculative Fiction | 4 Comments

Passage

Dr. Joanna Lander is a psychologist with an unusual specialty—near-death experiences. A researcher at Mercy General Hospital, she gets alerted whenever anyone codes and is brought back so that she can interview them quickly about what they experienced. The challenge … Continue reading

Posted in Fiction, Speculative Fiction | 10 Comments

White Tears

I read about Hari Kunzru’s White Tears on Other Jenny’s blog a few months ago. I doubt I would have read it if it hadn’t been for her review, but she hooked me with her description of the book as a … Continue reading

Posted in Fiction, Speculative Fiction | 9 Comments

Lincoln in the Bardo

I like George Saunders’s short stories, but I was skeptical of his first full-length novel. The premise—Abraham Lincoln surrounded by a chorus of ghosts at his son’s grave—seemed like something that could just be plotless introspection. I’d don’t need books … Continue reading

Posted in Fiction, Historical Fiction, Speculative Fiction | 8 Comments

The Carhullan Army

One of the things that I sometimes find regrettable about literary fiction is that it can be a little samey. I don’t know whether this is the result of writers’ workshops that go in cycles and turn out similar sorts … Continue reading

Posted in Fiction, Speculative Fiction | 18 Comments