Blackfish City by Sam J Miller
I received an advanced readers copy of Blackfish City in exchange for an honest review. I would like to thank Sam J. Miller and Orbit Books.
The results of the climate wars were that the majority of the Earth was either flooded or burnt to rubble leaving very little in the way of habitual environments. In this futuristic and dystopian world, people now reside in an astonishingly well engineered floating city that has been constructed in the Arctic Circle. This settlement is bustling with strife between classes, corruption, amazingly advanced technology, and also rumours of a mysterious lady who arrived one day accompanied by a killer whale and a giant polar bear.
Miller has created a world that is so deep, complex, and well-imagined that it almost appears to be a living breathing entity. He cleverly explains the social aspects, current technology, and the world's history through the characters points of views or with chapters presented by City Without a Map. This is a mysterious and anonymous news service that civilians have access to. Many of the items used by the people of this world are logical but impressive advancements of equipment we use today. An example would be that a combination of a telephone, translating system, and radio can be stored in someone's jaw. As the world is so detailed and the language used is highly scientific it was difficult to get into initially. I found myself reading at a very slow pace and googling unfamiliar sounding words with unfortunate regularity with the overall intention being to make sure I fully understood what was going on. During the first 80-pages, I respected what Miller was doing but I wasn't really enjoying reading it. In addition to this, the four main characters that we follow all had pretty isolated stories with the common denominator being that they were based in the same city. I was unsure if this was going to be more of a science lesson than a complete story and therefore was very close to DNF'ing it, giving it a 2-star rating, saying it was unique, interesting and that Miller is very talented but it wasn't for me. As the publisher sent me a free copy of this I fought through a bit longer and I am really glad that I did. About 20-pages later, what has been built up so far seemed to click, I finally found myself caring about some of these characters and the world's secrets and from then on had a generally positive experience with Blackfish City.
We follow 4 main characters. Fill is an often unhappy queer young gentleman whose grandfather is a shareholder of the city. Kaev is a mentally ill beam-fighter journeyman who loses on purpose to earn paycheques. Ankit is an administrator for the government that keeps the city running in order. Finally, Soq is a beautiful gender-neutral messenger who slides their way around the city delivering messages for the underworld. All 4 make a colourful ensemble and there is a great amount featured in Blackfish City that LGBT fiction readers will adore. Soq was my personal favourite character to learn more about throughout the story. Miller introduces their gender neutrality well very early on so there are never any issues of confusion regarding their character.
This world has many original and interesting creations. A few examples are nanobonding - being able to emotionally bond with and essentially control a certain animal, and the breaks - a sexually transmitted infection that is polluting the city that gives sufferers the memories of those previously afflicted before a seemingly inevitable death through this apparent madness. Beam-fighting is a well crafted national sport that is like MMA but a contestant will lose by being forced off the beams into the ocean by their opponent. In addition, sliders with specially designed skates and death-defying free-runners operate above the city far away from the ocean beneath.
As previously mentioned, this book does start slow but the resulting narrative is excellent, the characters and their relationships with one another have great depth and the ending is awesomely realised. The created world is brilliantly conceived. It starts out like a science lesson but after that, the characters take over and that is where the book truly shines. Blackfish City is a haunting projection of our future that is made even eerier by the fact that nothing written here seems too alien or far-fetched. It seems a bit too close to our current reality for comfort. Highly recommended for anyone who enjoys science-fiction, dystopian literature, or books where certain individuals can control frighteningly vicious animals. I can see this making many 'best-of-the-year' lists in 2018.
This Blackfish City book review was written by James Tivendale
Have you read Blackfish City?
We've found that while readers like to know what we think of a book they find additional reader reviews a massive help in deciding if it is the right book for them. So if you have a spare moment, please tell us your thoughts by writing a reader's review. Thank you.
Blackfish City reader reviews
7.5/10 from 1 reviews
There are currently no reader reviews for this book. Why not be the first?
Write a reader review
Thank you for taking the time to write a review on this book, it really makes a difference and helps readers to find their perfect book.
More recommended reading in this genre
A father and his young son walk alone through burned America, heading slowly for the coast. Nothing moves in the ravaged landscape save the ash on the wind. They have nothi...
Hidden away in the Record Department of the sprawling Ministry of Truth, Winston Smith skilfully rewrites the past to suit the needs of the Party. Yet he inwardly rebels ag...
The year is 2033. The world has been reduced to rubble. Humanity is nearly extinct. The half-destroyed cities have become uninhabitable through radiation. Beyond their boun...
Facing down an unprecedented malevolent enemy, the government responds with a nuclear attack. America as it was is gone forever, and now every citizen – from the Pres...
Oryx and Crake
Snowman may be the last man on earth, the only survivor of an unnamed apocalypse. Once he was Jimmy, a member of a scientific elite; now he lives in bitter isolation and lo...
The Last Man Standing
Italy is on the brink of collapse. Borders are closed, banks withhold money, the postal service stalls. Armed gangs of drug-fuelled youths roam the countryside. Leonardo wa...
A boy stands on the roadside on his way to London, alone in the rain.No memories, beyond what he can hold in his hands at any given moment.No directions, as w...
The Drowned World
Fluctuations in solar radiation have melted the ice caps, sending the planet into a new Triassic Age of unendurable heat. London is a swamp; lush tropical vegetation grows ...
Wastelands: Stories of the Apocalypse
John Joseph Adams
Famine, death, war, pestilence. These are said to be the harbingers of the biblical apocalypse-Armageddon. The End of the World. Whether by nuclear warfare, a biological di...
Great fantasy books published in 2018
"A bold and subversive retelling of the goddess's story," this #1 New York Times bestseller is "both epic and intimate in its scop...
Age of War
Michael J Sullivan
The alliance of humans and renegade Fhrey is fragile - and about to be tested as never before. Persephone keeps the human clans from turning on one another through her iron...
Legion: Lies of the Beholder
Stephen Leeds, also known as 'Legion', has a unique mental condition. He can become an expert on any subject in hours... and with every new area of expertise a new ...
A Veil of Spears
The Night of Endless Swords nearly saw the destruction of Sharakhai, and since then the Kings have come down hard on the rebelloious Moonless Host. Hundreds have been murde...
The Ember Blade
A land under occupation. A legendary sword. A young man’s journey to find his destiny.Aren has lived by the rules all his life. He’s never questione...
Fire and Blood
George RR Martin
From the masterly imagination behind A Game of Thrones - one of the greatest fantasy epics of all time and an unmissable HBO hit series - comes a definitive history of West...
In Mystic Class Nona Grey begins to learn the secrets of the universe. But so often even the deepest truths just make our choices harder. Before she leaves the Convent of S...
Iron and Magic
Hugh d’Ambray, Preceptor of the Iron Dogs, Warlord of the Builder of Towers, served only one man. Now his immortal, nearly omnipotent master has cast him aside. Hugh ...
The Divine Cities Trilogy
Robert Jackson Bennett
A special omnibus edition, collecting all three books of Robert Jackson Bennett’s acclaimed Divine Cities trilogy in a single volume. &nbs...
Looking for more suggestions? Try these pages: