Lydia Millet’s Pills and Starships takes us to a future world, decades past the Global Warming tipping point. Oceans have risen, species are extinct, and humanity is just trying to hang on by its fingertips. Massive corporations run things for the “First”, the upper, less-than-1% of society that can afford to have a private company manage their infrastructure for them. The rest of the world’s surviving population lives in a disease-ridden, nature-threatened squalor.
In a somewhat random turn of events, fueled mostly by my inability to plan for some variety in my reading schedule, I ended up starting The Flight of the Silvers immediately after finishing The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell (See my recent review here.), which meant I’ve been immersed in the topic of time and the themes surrounding its relativity and manipulation for quite a few weeks. All I needed was a good Doctor Who binge-watch to really cap it off.
Rachel E. Kelly’s second installment in her ambitious Colorworld novel series, Teleworld, picks up almost where the first one left off: A few months have gone by, and Wendy and Gabriel work to negotiate their fledgling engagement while Wen continues to struggle with her death touch. Her Uncle Robert provides stability for the young woman and her brother, Ezra, but it’s a little strange that he’s the one person Wendy finds hard to read emotionally. Is it because he’s just naturally less volatile and more guarded, or is there something more sinister about Robert’s reasons for avoiding Wen’s emodar? However, with a sudden wedding, our protagonist is more concerned about learning to be a wife, getting to know her husband better, and finding a way to belong to a warm, welcoming extended family without dropping her guard enough to accidentally kill someone.
College sophomore Wendy Whitley thought life was hard enough with caring for her fifteen-year-old brother Ezra, trying to make enough money to cover all the bills, and staying on top of her college courses. Having diabetes, an allergy to tree nuts, and the ability to sense emotions through skin contact didn’t even make her top ten worries list. When Wendy learns about a food allergy research study through mysterious Pneumatikon, it sounds like a dream come true. She thinks that life energy manipulation is a crock, but at $500 payment per session, what does she have to lose? However, when Wendy wakes up from a session with the frightening ability to kill people with her touch, she must decide how to protect those she loves most and learn how to control a new talent. As she explores more about her new skills and her own history, it seems more and more clear that her acceptance into Pneumatikon’s research study was no accident, and the reasons behind Wendy’s death touch may be more sinister than she can imagine.
Tessnia Sanoby is an extraordinary girl. She is smart, athletic, and loves her parents and friends. She moves through high school and college with dedication and ease. She stays out of trouble, studies hard, and works hard to support herself. She is tall, dark, and beautiful. Tess is so extraordinary and her life so charmingly easy, we soon start to suspect that there’s more to her than meets the eye.
Something is out there . . . Something terrifying that must not be seen. One glimpse and a person is driven to deadly violence. No one knows what it is or where it came from.
I read about the end of the world a lot. I’ve been through every kind of fictional apocalypse you can probably think of, and, naturally, I’m always looking for something new and inventive to survive. So, the description for Josh Malerman’s Bird Box on Goodreads immediately caught my eye. A post-apocalyptic world where you have to somehow avoid SEEING THINGS seemed absolutely impossible. It invites more than a little serious contemplation about survival logistics . . . assuming, of course, you don’t just give up before you even start.
Fifteen-year-old Quin Kincaid has longed to take her Oath as a Seeker for as long as she can remember. The legends of ancient justice meting heroes inspire her to join their ranks no matter the cost. She’s sure that everything will become clear when she, her cousin, Shinobu, and beloved, John, receive the mysterious initiation, and the trio will go forth to help those in need; however, the reality of Quin’s father’s Seekers varies widely from her dreams, and John hides a dangerous secret. Everyone’s choices could tear Quin’s protected world apart, and it’s unclear whether or not she’ll be strong enough to pick up the pieces when the choices are revenge or redemption.
I am a die-hard, life-long, can’t-get-enough-of-it Stephen King fan. The Stand and the Dark Tower series sit proudly in my list of all-time favorite books ever. He can’t write a book that’s too long for me, or with too many characters, or with too outrageous a plot. Even in my least favorite examples, I still always find some element worthy of turning the pages to the gritty end.
If you have ever wished that HP Lovecraft wrote more stories about the elder gods, dark things beyond human understanding, and that particular brand of madness born from knowledge no one individual should know, the short story anthology, Madness on the Orient Express, was collected just for you! This set of sixteen tales of insanity centering around the fabled Orient Express both serves as a poignant love letter to Lovecraft and as an exceptional addition to modern horror. Some pieces utilize Lovecraft’s signature writing style while others are more modern, but each one presents a perfectly encapsulated piece of atmospheric creepiness in word form.