Next book

JUST CITY

A brief but high-minded speculative tale set in Silicon Valley.

Awards & Accolades

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

In Tymofiyeva’s debut SF novel set in Silicon Valley, a would-be entrepreneur gets more than he bargained for while beta-testing a new video game.

In three months, 21-year-old college student Nathanand his best friend Jack will be pitching ideas to San Francisco’s most prestigious tech incubator. Nathan is confident in the strength of their idea—a tracking system to prevent people from stealing shopping carts—but there’s still the matter of the pre-seed funding they need just to compete for the incubator’s support. Luckily, his grandmother has just come to him with an opportunity: She and her university colleagues have designed an online multiplayer virtual reality game “rooted in political philosophy.” If Nathan serves as one of the beta testers for Just City, he could win up to $10,000, depending on his score. Each player designs a society according to their own specifications and then must complete tasks within it. Nathan recruits some friends, then quickly sets up what he thinks will be a meritocratic utopia—and soon, he finds that the game is a lot harder than he thought it would be. Can Nathan adjust his political philosophy enough to take home the prize money? And how will he feel when he gets back out into the real world? Tymofiyeva’s prose is simple but sharply effective. Here, for example, she describes one of Nathan’s incarnations: an unhoused man, suffering from clinical depression, who isn’t good at racking up points: “My character has encounters with the police, gets sick because of malnutrition, takes drugs, and gets beaten up by some punks. There is no help in sight.” The overall tone can be moralizing at times, but thankfully, it effectively pushes past the incidents of the game to address their ramifications for Nathan in the real world. The author’s characters feel somewhat underdeveloped, but readers will likely respond to the book’s consideration of ethics against a background of commerce and technology.

A brief but high-minded speculative tale set in Silicon Valley.

Pub Date: Dec. 5, 2022

ISBN: 9798365536807

Page Count: 175

Publisher: Self

Review Posted Online: Jan. 24, 2023

Awards & Accolades

Likes

  • Readers Vote
  • 165


Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT


  • New York Times Bestseller

Next book

DEVOLUTION

A tasty, if not always tasteful, tale of supernatural mayhem that fans of King and Crichton alike will enjoy.

Awards & Accolades

Likes

  • Readers Vote
  • 165


Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT


  • New York Times Bestseller

Are we not men? We are—well, ask Bigfoot, as Brooks does in this delightful yarn, following on his bestseller World War Z(2006).

A zombie apocalypse is one thing. A volcanic eruption is quite another, for, as the journalist who does a framing voice-over narration for Brooks’ latest puts it, when Mount Rainier popped its cork, “it was the psychological aspect, the hyperbole-fueled hysteria that had ended up killing the most people.” Maybe, but the sasquatches whom the volcano displaced contributed to the statistics, too, if only out of self-defense. Brooks places the epicenter of the Bigfoot war in a high-tech hideaway populated by the kind of people you might find in a Jurassic Park franchise: the schmo who doesn’t know how to do much of anything but tries anyway, the well-intentioned bleeding heart, the know-it-all intellectual who turns out to know the wrong things, the immigrant with a tough backstory and an instinct for survival. Indeed, the novel does double duty as a survival manual, packed full of good advice—for instance, try not to get wounded, for “injury turns you from a giver to a taker. Taking up our resources, our time to care for you.” Brooks presents a case for making room for Bigfoot in the world while peppering his narrative with timely social criticism about bad behavior on the human side of the conflict: The explosion of Rainier might have been better forecast had the president not slashed the budget of the U.S. Geological Survey, leading to “immediate suspension of the National Volcano Early Warning System,” and there’s always someone around looking to monetize the natural disaster and the sasquatch-y onslaught that follows. Brooks is a pro at building suspense even if it plays out in some rather spectacularly yucky episodes, one involving a short spear that takes its name from “the sucking sound of pulling it out of the dead man’s heart and lungs.” Grossness aside, it puts you right there on the scene.

A tasty, if not always tasteful, tale of supernatural mayhem that fans of King and Crichton alike will enjoy.

Pub Date: June 16, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-2678-7

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Del Rey/Ballantine

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

Awards & Accolades

Likes

  • Readers Vote
  • 28


Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT


  • New York Times Bestseller

Next book

THE MINISTRY OF TIME

This rip-roaring romp pivots between past and present and posits the future-altering power of love, hope, and forgiveness.

Awards & Accolades

Likes

  • Readers Vote
  • 28


Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT


  • New York Times Bestseller

A time-toying spy romance that’s truly a thriller.

In the author’s note following the moving conclusion of her gripping, gleefully delicious debut novel, Bradley explains how she gathered historical facts about Lt. Graham Gore, a real-life Victorian naval officer and polar explorer, then “extrapolated a great deal” about him to come up with one of her main characters, a curly-haired, chain-smoking, devastatingly charming dreamboat who has been transported through time. Having also found inspiration in the sole extant daguerreotype of Gore, showing him to have been “a very attractive man,” Bradley wrote the earliest draft of the book for a cluster of friends who were similarly passionate about polar explorers. Her finished novel—taut, artfully unspooled, and vividly written—retains the kind of insouciant joy and intimacy you might expect from a book with those origins. It’s also breathtakingly sexy. The time-toggling plot focuses on the plight of a British civil servant who takes a high-paying job on a secret mission, working as a “bridge” to help time-traveling “expats” resettle in 21st-century London—and who falls hard for her charge, the aforementioned Commander Gore. Drama, intrigue, and romance ensue. And while this quasi-futuristic tale of time and tenderness never seems to take itself too seriously, it also offers a meaningful, nuanced perspective on the challenges we face, the choices we make, and the way we live and love today.

This rip-roaring romp pivots between past and present and posits the future-altering power of love, hope, and forgiveness.

Pub Date: May 7, 2024

ISBN: 9781668045145

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Avid Reader Press

Review Posted Online: Feb. 3, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2024

Close Quickview