Weird & Wonderful Book Club: "All the Birds in the Sky" by Charlie Jane Anders
Our monthly celebration of the weird - be it science fiction, speculative fiction, fantasy, magical realism, or any genre otherwise strange.
This month's book club pick is All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders.
From the former editor-in-chief of io9.com, a stunning Nebula Award-winning and Hugo-shortlisted novel about the end of the world--and the beginning of our future. An ancient society of witches and a hipster technological startup go to war in order to prevent the world from tearing itself apart. To further complicate things, each of the groups' most promising followers (Patricia, a brilliant witch and Laurence, an engineering "wunderkind") may just be in love with each other.
When Patricia Delfine was six years old, a wounded bird led her deep into the forest to the Parliament of Birds, where she met the Great Tree and was asked a question that would determine the course of her life. When Laurence Armstead was in grade school, he cobbled together a wristwatch-sized device that could send its wearer two seconds into the future. When Patricia and Laurence first met in high school, they didn't understand one another at all. But as time went on, they kept bumping into one another's lives. Now they're both grown up, and the planet is falling apart around them. Laurence is an engineering genius who's working with a group that aims to avert catastrophic breakdown through technological intervention into the changing global climate. Patricia is a graduate of Eltisley Maze, the hidden academy for the world's magically gifted, and works with a small band of other magicians to secretly repair the world's ever-growing ailments. Neither Laurence nor Patricia can keep pace with the speed at which things fall apart. But something bigger than either of them, something begun deep in their childhoods, is determined to bring them together. And will.
As the battle between magic and science wages in San Francisco against the backdrop of international chaos, Laurence and Patricia are forced to choose sides. But their choices will determine the fate of the planet and all mankind. In a fashion unique to Charlie Jane Anders, All the Birds in the Sky offers a humorous and, at times, heart-breaking exploration of growing up extraordinary in world filled with cruelty, scientific ingenuity, and magic.
"Everything you could ask for in a debut novel -- a fresh look at science fiction's most cherished memes, ruthlessly shredded and lovingly reassembled." --Cory Doctorow
"Into each generation of science fiction/fantasydom a master absurdist must fall, and it's quite possible that with All the Birds in the Sky, Charlie Jane Anders has established herself as the one for the Millennials...highly recommended." --N. K. Jemisin, The New York Times Book Review
Charlie Jane Anders is the author of All the Birds in the Sky, which won the Nebula, Locus and Crawford awards and was on Time Magazine's list of the 10 best novels of 2016. Her Tor.com story "Six Months, Three Days" won a Hugo Award and appears in a new short story collection called Six Months, Three Days, Five Others. Her short fiction has appeared in Tor.com, Wired Magazine, Slate, Tin House, Conjunctions, Boston Review, Asimov's Science Fiction, The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, McSweeney's Internet Tendency, ZYZZYVA, and several anthologies. She was a founding editor of io9.com, a site about science fiction, science and futurism, and she organizes the monthly Writers With Drinks reading series. Her first novel, Choir Boy, won a Lambda Literary Award.
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