This book, which I ordered from an independent bookstore, complete with a bookplate signed by the author and virtual attendance at an interview/event held by the bookstore was one of my favorite reads of 2022. Published in 2020 by my favorite science fiction writer, N. K. Jemisin, this sci fi novel takes place in New York City. Many of you who have followed my blog know about my fascination with NYC, so you can imagine how fast I ordered this book after reading about it coming out. It was everything I had hoped for and more.
The City We Became is Jemisin’s first book in The Great Cities Trilogy. Neil Gaiman declares it to be “Glorious,” and, indeed it is.
“Every city has a soul. Some are ancient as myths; others are as new as children. New York? She’s got six–and all six will be called to arms in the greatest battle the city has ever fought.” The story opens with an exciting, terrifying scene where a young man, later identified as Manhattan, encounters monsters and catastrophic activity in “The Battle of FDR Drive” in chapter one. Each of New York’s boroughs makes up a team of individuals who must fight creatures from an alternate universe who seek to destroy NYC and eventually the Earth.
Set in contemporary NYC, this “modern masterpiece of culture, identity, magic, and myth,”has just whetted my appetite for the second book in the series, presumably set in Paris; then I think it’s on to London for the final book in the series. I can hardly wait!
This 2017 sci fi publication by author and popular blogger, S.J. Higbee (“Brainfluff”) begins on board the starship “Hawking”. No braver more enterprising protagonist exists than Elizabeth (aka Lizzy), whose domineering father known as “The Cap,” rules with an iron fist–both his ship of command and his daughter’s life.
On a forbidden foray into the strange underworld which opens the novel, Lizzy encounters Wynn (aka “Blondie” to the sneering gang members who pursue Lizzy and her friends). This blonde-haired, blue-eyed heartthrob is more than “just a pretty face.” He is a worthy, intelligent “opponent” to Lizzy’s dismissive first impression, only to have Wynn save her, then have to turn around and save Wynn in the fight that ensues. The young people end up recuperating on the neighboring starship, “Star,” where its leader, General Norman takes an unusual, unwelcome interest in Lizzy herself, and who also seems to have a strong interest in keeping Lizzy and Wynn apart.
With many twists and turns, the plot unrolls, providing a fast paced adventure covering many planets, wars, and battles. The book contains much action, never drags, and the reader is never bored. Just when things begin to slow down a bit–heads up!–something new happens. The characters are well-drawn, presented as young lovers the reader comes to care about, and they conduct themselves with wit and cleverness when called upon by the unexpected twists of the plot.
This book, Running Out of Space, was so good, I immediately ordered Book Two in the series, Dying for Space. Higbee, the author, will not let you down.