We Are Legion (We Are Bob) by Dennis E. Taylor

“Wake up, buddy. You okay?” “Auntie Em! Auntie Em!” Homer’s VR came online, smiling. “I guess we got’em.” I snorted with relief. “And their little dog, too.” Homer steepled his fingers in a properly evil mastermindish pose. “All their base are belong to us.”

Synopsis

Bob Johansson has just sold his software company and is looking forward to a life of leisure. There are places to go, books to read, and movies to watch. So it’s a little unfair when he gets himself killed crossing the street. 

Bob wakes up a century later to find that corpsicles have been declared to be without rights, and he is now the property of the state. He has been uploaded into computer hardware and is slated to be the controlling AI in an interstellar probe looking for habitable planets. The stakes are high: no less than the first claim to entire worlds. If he declines the honor, he’ll be switched off, and they’ll try again with someone else. If he accepts, he becomes a prime target. There are at least three other countries trying to get their own probes launched first, and they play dirty. 

The safest place for Bob is in space, heading away from Earth at top speed. Or so he thinks. Because the universe is full of nasties, and trespassers make them mad – very mad.


Stats

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Kindle Edition
  • 304 pages
  • Published September 20th 2016 by World builders Press
  • Original Title
  • We Are Legion (We Are Bob)
  • ASINB01LWAESYQ
  • Edition Language English
  • Series Bobiverse #1

My Thoughts

Oh my heavens. Bob. Bob might be my spirit animal. You will have to pardon me if I am late for the Bobverse party. This story has been on my TBR forever, but a good friend recommended this as a palette cleanser from all the heavy reading I have been doing lately, I bumped it up. It was the perfect bit of science fiction fun I needed to reset myself. Even better, I downloaded the audible version of this story and listened to it in tandem with reading the book. I am so glad I did. The voice acting rivals Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy for how much it laughed. I am a connoisseur of the snark.

The story follows Bob Johansson as he is reveling in selling his tech company and be set up for life. What does he do with his newfound wealth? He signs a contract to have his head cryogenically frozen. It sounds like a stretch, but the author Dennis E. Taylor made it work. He sells the idea. Bob is at once a like-able character. He and his employees, whom he treats as a family, are sitting around laughing and showing support for Bob who just got out of a bad breakup. He mentions the cryogenics thing, and everyone laughs. As they should, it seems like such an absurd thing to do. Later, Bob is crossing the street and bam! Bob gets hit by a car and instantly killed. He wakes up disoriented, looking for his body. Bob’s conscience has been turned into software and downloaded into a computer!

What follows is light science fiction fun. It involves enemies from other countries, duplication, 3D printing, colonization, and the human race. I laughed out loud many times reading this. Especially with the voice acting from the audiobook. This story lends itself to different voices. There are many, many Bob’s by the end of it. You need to be able to differentiate easily, and even though the writing does help with the differentiation, voice changes from the audiobook speaker help a lot.

My only quibble with this story is it is a bit fragmented. There are so many Bob’s and all their adventures that it can be hard to keep up with who is who and who is doing what. But this small quibble and did not keep me from enjoying the book, far from it. Check this story of the many Bob’s for they are Legion and are coming to save the universe.

Questions

How do you think AI is portrayed in books?

Could AI be benevolent? Most of the time it is coming to take out the human race.

Procurement

I purchased a copy from Amazon.

About the Author – Dennis E. Taylor

I am a retired computer programmer, an enthusiastic snowboarder, and an inveterate science fiction reader.

And, apparently, an author now. Did not see that coming.

10 More Feminist Dystopic Books

Recently I posted an article on The Rise of Feminist Dystopic Novels and some examples to check out. I also received a bunch of wonderful suggestions on twitter, and have added them here. Thanks!


The Female Man

by Joanna Russ

It has influenced William Gibson and been listed as one of the ten essential works of science fiction. Most importantly, Joanna Russ’s THE FEMALE MAN is a suspenseful, surprising and darkly witty chronicle of what happens when Jeannine, Janet, Joanna, and Jael—four alternative selves from drastically different realities—meet.


Parable of the Sower

by Octavia E. Butler

In 2025, with the world descending into madness and anarchy, one woman begins a fateful journey toward a better future

Lauren Olamina and her family live in one of the only safe neighborhoods remaining on the outskirts of Los Angeles. Behind the walls of their defended enclave, Lauren’s father, a preacher, and a handful of other citizens try to salvage what remains of a culture that has been destroyed by drugs, disease, war, and chronic water shortages. While her father tries to lead people on the righteous path, Lauren struggles with hyperempathy, a condition that makes her extraordinarily sensitive to the pain of others.

When fire destroys their compound, Lauren’s family is killed and she is forced out into a world that is fraught with danger. With a handful of other refugees, Lauren must make her way north to safety, along the way conceiving a revolutionary idea that may mean salvation for all mankind. 


Gather the Daughters

by Jennie Melamed

Never Let Me Go meets The Giver in this haunting debut about a cult on an isolated island, where nothing is as it seems.

Years ago, just before the country was incinerated to wasteland, ten men and their families colonized an island off the coast. They built a radical society of ancestor worship, controlled breeding, and the strict rationing of knowledge and history. Only the Wanderers–chosen male descendants of the original ten–are allowed to cross to the wastelands, where they scavenge for detritus among the still-smoldering fires.

The daughters of these men are wives-in-training. At the first sign of puberty, they face their Summer of Fruition, a ritualistic season that drags them from adolescence to matrimony. They have children, who have children, and when they are no longer useful, they take their final draught and die. But in the summer, the younger children reign supreme. With the adults indoors and the pubescent in Fruition, the children live wildly–they fight over food and shelter, free of their fathers’ hands and their mothers’ despair. And it is at the end of one summer that little Caitlin Jacob sees something so horrifying, so contradictory to the laws of the island, that she must share it with the others.

Born leader Janey Solomon steps up to seek the truth. At seventeen years old, Janey is so unwilling to become a woman, she is slowly starving herself to death. Trying urgently now to unravel the mysteries of the island and what lies beyond, before her own demise, she attempts to lead an uprising of the girls that may be their undoing.

Gather The Daughters is a smoldering debut; dark and energetic, compulsively readable, Melamed’s novel announces her as an unforgettable new voice in fiction.


The Gate to Women’s Country

by Sheri S. Tepper

Tepper’s finest novel to date is set in a post-holocaust feminist dystopia that offers only two political alternatives: a repressive polygamist sect that is slowly self-destructing through inbreeding and the matriarchal dictatorship called Women’s Country. Here, in a desperate effort to prevent another world war, the women have segregated most men into closed military garrisons and have taken on themselves every other function of government, industry, agriculture, science and learning.

The resulting manifold responsibilities are seen through the life of Stavia, from a dreaming 10-year-old to maturity as doctor, mother and member of the Marthatown Women’s Council. As in Tepper’s Awakeners series books, the rigid social systems are tempered by the voices of individual experience and, here, by an imaginative reworking of The Trojan Woman that runs through the text. A rewarding and challenging novel that is to be valued for its provocative ideas.


Woman on the Edge of Time

by Marge Piercy

Connie Ramos, a woman in her mid-thirties, has been declared insane. But Connie is overwhelmingly sane, merely tuned to the future, and able to communicate with the year 2137. As her doctors persuade her to agree to an operation, Connie struggles to force herself to listen to the future and its lessons for today….


Sultana’s Dream

by Rokeya Sakhawat Hossain, Durga Bai

The female narrator of Sultana’s Dream wanders into a dream city that shuns war and violence. In this utopian world, women rule and men are content with their places in the kitchen. The queen of this kingdom explains how women won and kept their peace against men and their war-like ways.

This edition of a feminist utopian classic is a conversation across time; Durga Bai, a contemporary tribal woman artist from Central India, brings her own vision to bear on a Muslim gentlewoman’s radical tale.


He, She and It

by Marge Piercy

In the middle of the twenty-first century, life as we know it has changed for all time. Shira Shipman’s marriage has broken up, and her young son has been taken from her by the corporation that runs her zone, so she has returned to Tikva, the Jewish free town where she grew up. There, she is welcomed by Malkah, the brilliant grandmother who raised her, and meets an extraordinary man who is not a man at all, but a unique cyborg implanted with intelligence, emotions–and the ability to kill….


The Stepford Wives

by Ira Levin

For Joanna, her husband, Walter, and their children, the move to beautiful Stepford seems almost too good to be true. It is. For behind the town’s idyllic facade lies a terrible secret—a secret so shattering that no one who encounters it will ever be the same.

At once a masterpiece of psychological suspense and a savage commentary on a media-driven society that values the pursuit of youth and beauty at all costs, The Stepford Wives is a novel so frightening in its final implications that the title itself has earned a place in the American lexicon.


Swastika Night

by Katharine Burdekin, Daphne Patai

Published in 1937, twelve years before Orwell’s 1984, Swastika Night projects a totally male-controlled fascist world that has eliminated women as we know them. Women are breeders, kept as cattle, while men in this post-Hitlerian world are embittered automatons, fearful of all feelings, having abolished all history, education, creativity, books, and art. The plot centers on a “misfit” who asks, “How could this have happened?”


Bitch Planet #1

by Kelly Sue DeConnick (Goodreads Author), Valentine De Landro

Are you non-compliant?
Do you fit into your box?
Are you too fat, too thin, too loud, too shy, too religious, too secular, too prudish, too sexual, too queer, too black, too brown, too whatever-it-is-they’ll-judge-you-for-today?
You may just belong on…
Bitch Planet

“A comic book love letter to non-compliant women.”
-VOX

What am I Reading Wednesday? 4/3/2019

What am I Reading?

Laura and the Shadow King

by Bruno Martins Soares

In a world devastated by a rampant maddening disease, Lieutenant J.J. Berger takes his Special Operations team into Southern Portugal to search for his lost comrades. His path will cross with a mysterious woman and her little daughter, escaping from their captors. Their strange powers might hold the key to a better world.


What Have I Just Read?

We Are Legion (We Are Bob)

by Dennis E. Taylor (Goodreads Author)

Bob Johansson has just sold his software company and is looking forward to a life of leisure. There are places to go, books to read, and movies to watch. So it’s a little unfair when he gets himself killed crossing the street. 

Bob wakes up a century later to find that corpsicles have been declared to be without rights, and he is now the property of the state. He has been uploaded into computer hardware and is slated to be the controlling AI in an interstellar probe looking for habitable planets. The stakes are high: no less than the first claim to entire worlds. If he declines the honor, he’ll be switched off, and they’ll try again with someone else. If he accepts, he becomes a prime target. There are at least three other countries trying to get their own probes launched first, and they play dirty. 

The safest place for Bob is in space, heading away from Earth at top speed. Or so he thinks. Because the universe is full of nasties, and trespassers make them mad – very mad.


What am I Reading Next?

The Bastard From Fairyland

by Phil Parker

The world’s sea levels have risen and washed civilisation away. Survival is a constant compromise, made worse when the Fae invade; a cruel and sadistic race eager to turn humanity into slaves. Robin Goodfellow is an elite Fae warrior with a long life steeped in blood and his loyalty rewarded by betrayal. Now he lives among humans, growing bitter and lonely, and wants no part in the war. 

But Robin holds the key to victory for the Fae, the man who betrayed him demands his help and he’s brought Robin’s ex-lover along to ensure his cooperation. Trapped in the middle of the conflict and despised by both sides, Robin races across a flooded English landscape to rescue the two children who can help him make a difference. 

What he doesn’t know is that powerful members of the Fae are manipulating him to succumb to his psychotic alter-ego, Puck, who’s ready to cause even more bloodshed.

Down and Out in Space – Vagrant Queen by Magdalene Visaggio and illustrated by Jason Smith

Synopsis

Former child queen Elida was driven from her throne at age ten and forced to wander the galaxy, evading the revolutionary forces that wanted her dead. When an old frenemy claims to know the whereabouts of Elida’s long-lost mother, she is forced to return to her former kingdom and stage a rescue.


Stats

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Paperback
  • 192 pages
  • Published February 26th 2019 by Vault Comics
  • ISBN1939424410 (ISBN13: 9781939424419)
  • Edition Language English
  • Series Vagrant Queen #1-6

My Thoughts

This story isn’t Firefly, and it isn’t trying to be. But it has bits and pieces of what made Firefly so beloved. This story is a straight-up space opera complete with quipping protagonist and smart and scheming “second in command”(he isn’t second yet – but you get the vibe). I love stories like this. Space opera is the guilty pleasure of the sci/fi loving crowd. Action, sex, humor, and excitement all rolled into a little sci/fi package. If Space Opera were a food, it would be a glazed donut.

Who the hell doesn’t like a glazed donut?

At least that is how I think about it. It doesn’t mean that space opera doesn’t have literary value or merit, quite the opposite. Star Wars is a space opera and where would we be without that. It just a genre type like anything else.

There are a few things (according to wikipedia) that define what a space opera is. I am going to relate a few of them back to Vagrant Queen.

“Colorful” – This story is colorful, both in dialog and commentary as well as the cast of characters. Multi-humanoid races are represented as well a smattering of alien races. It all makes for a rich stew of characters.

“Dramatic” – “Former child queen Elida was driven from her throne at age ten and forced to wander the galaxy, evading the revolutionary forces that wanted her dead.” Does this not sound like high drama to you?

“Large-scale science fiction adventure” – Again, multi-planet conquests spanning an entire generation searching for child queen Elida.

“Competently and sometimes beautifully written” – This is excellently written. I enjoyed Elida quite a bit. She had a definite Han Solo/Malcolm Reynolds vibe to her. Being that I am a ride or die Firefly fan this appealed to me.

“Usually focused on a sympathetic heroic central character and plot action” –  Elida is a sympathetic character without appearing weak. She can’t be weak; everyone is coming to get her. She needs to be wily, strong and intelligent – and she is. It is such a refreshing thing to see in graphic novels. Elida needs no one to save her; she can save her damn self.

“Characteristically optimistic in tone” – This isn’t a dystopia. The narrative of the story is not about the overarching problems of society and how they relate to Elida. It is about how Elida is going to escape past gunships that are blocking her way.

“Large stakes” – Elida is a former child queen being chased across the galaxy. The stakes are high.

See you should read this! Action, adventure, power struggles, history, it is all here. Is it perfect? Not yet. The story just started and the writing and art are getting their proverbial feet under them. But it has a ton of promise.

Procurement

I received a digital edition of this from the publisher as well as a copy from Netgalley. Thank you to both of them for giving me the opportunity to review this in exchange for my open and honest review.

About the Author – Magdalene Visaggio

Magdalene Visaggio is a comics writer and essayist. She’s the writer and creator of the GLAAD and Eisner-nominated series Kim & Kim, as well as Eternity Girl at DC Comics. She currently resides in Manhattan.

First Chapter, First Paragraph – The Bastard From Fairyland by Phil Parker

Synopsis

The world’s sea levels have risen and washed civilisation away. Survival is a constant compromise, made worse when the Fae invade; a cruel and sadistic race eager to turn humanity into slaves. Robin Goodfellow is an elite Fae warrior with a long life steeped in blood and his loyalty rewarded by betrayal. Now he lives among humans, growing bitter and lonely, and wants no part in the war. 

But Robin holds the key to victory for the Fae, the man who betrayed him demands his help and he’s brought Robin’s ex-lover along to ensure his cooperation. Trapped in the middle of the conflict and despised by both sides, Robin races across a flooded English landscape to rescue the two children who can help him make a difference. 

What he doesn’t know is that powerful members of the Fae are manipulating him to succumb to his psychotic alter-ego, Puck, who’s ready to cause even more bloodshed.


First Chapter, First Paragraph

There were fairies at the bottom of my garden and they were torturing someone.

Technically they weren’t fae, my people didn’t like to bloody their hands , they preferred to use sadistic bastards like Spriggans. Their seven foot height and ape-like limbs made them ideal fighters, it also made them easy to spot through the spy-hole in my boarded windows. What bothered me was why they’d chosen my garden to have fun with their latest victim, currently screaming a high falsetto. It had to be deliberate provocation.


Wow. All I know is I really don’t want to screw with a Spriggan, whatever that is. I love the writing thus far.

About the Author – Phil Parker

Phil Parker used to be an English and Drama teacher but now lives in a fantasy world with occasional forays into the real one. Teaching can do that to you.
Now he loves writing, eating pizza and visiting Italy (mainly for the pizza).

The Knights’ Protocol is his first self-published work of fiction, a dark fantasy based on Arthurian legend and Celtic mythology with a few faeries for good measure. 
He’s also written three books for the education market and wrote a regular monthly column in a national education magazine for three years. There weren’t any faeries in these though.

The Rise of the Feminist Dystopia Novel and What to Read

How much social, environmental or psychological change needs to happen within the general populace or society for it to be considered a dystopia?

Why the rise of feminist centered dystopia geared towards the female(trans, non-binary, cis or other) experience?

“Evil triumphs when good men do nothing. That’s what they say, right?” 

Vox by Christina Dalcher

Dystopias are not a new thing. Since the start of science fiction, probably right around the time of We by Yevgeny Zamyatin or maybe Flatland by Edwin Abbot, writers have taken to asking the question, “What if?” A by extension of “What if” is “What if we take everything good and make it worse?” Naturally, dystopic novels arose. What has changed over time is what is considered dystopic. It has become what the cultural topic du jour.

In the 1930s and 1940s, with the rise of industrialism and the shift from farming to city life the topic was, “What if industrialism runs amok?” In the 1950s and 1960s, and speaking only from the perspective of US history concerning dystopia, we have social conditioning, communism, and the political state. This saw novels like: 1984 by George Orwell(must be noted that Orwell was British, but 1984 was/is popular in the US), Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury, and A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess(also British). The 1970s and 1980s saw a rise of dystopia works dealing with science and genetic enhancement: The Running Man by Stephen King, Neuromancer, Mona Lisa Overdrive, Count Zero by William Gibson, and A Scanner Darkly by Phillip K. Dick. All of these books followed the societal consciousness of some important topic. In recent years, specifically the new century, dystopia has become huge. What was once the one-off science fiction novel, now has most authors trying it at least once. Look at Colson Whitehead’s Zone One. Colson Whitehead is usually a literary fiction writer, and it was considered a big deal(harrumph) that he would deign to venture into something like a post-apocalyptic plague narrative.

“Gender is a shell game. What is a man? Whatever a woman isn’t. What is a woman? Whatever a man is not. Tap on it and it’s hollow. Look under the shells: it’s not there.”

― Naomi Alderman, The Power


This brings us to the new century of YA and feministic distopias. Zumas of Red Clock fame remarked a year ago on dystopian versus what she calls “paratopian.” “Dystopia feels so solidly separate from us,” she remarked. “Paratopian” is something that could happen next week. It is dystopia close to the bone. It is not a shock that woman focussed narrative is coming to the cultural forefront. The #metoo movement, the referendum on abortion rights and women’s health in general, and sexual harassment and how women’s sexuality is viewed in culture have put the feministic movement into the cultural forefront. Especially with the popularity of The Handmaids Tale written by Margaret Atwood, Often considered as one of the pioneers of this type of dystopic fiction. Our “paratopian” fictional story one week, can become the new normal the next week. It is both an exciting time for literature and paralyzingly scary time for women.

“One of them says,

‘Why did they do it?’
And the other answers,

‘Because they could.’
That is the only

answer there ever is.” 
― Naomi Alderman, The Power

YA dystopia has also seen a considerable surge in popular culture recently. Although different than feminists dystopia, YA also has a lot of the same elements. Frequently the lead protagonist of the story is a female character dealing with incredible odds. Sometimes the narrative of the story includes how difficult it is for a female gendered person to exist in whatever dystopian society is created by the author. Usually echoing real-life scenarios. An article on this very topic from Refinery29 put it best, “What distinguishes feminist dystopias like Vox from YA dystopias – like Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games – are the underlying anxieties they’re plucking. The wave of YA dystopias was spurred largely by 9/11, and explore, more broadly, a country torn apart by income inequality, war, and insidious fear. Feminist dystopias are more specific in their fixations. These novels are thought experiments riffing on the relationship between gender roles and the government. They’re also geared toward an older audience: Whereas the heroines in YA dystopias are often girls missing their mothers, the protagonists of feminist dystopias are often mothers themselves, fearing for their daughters.Vox is a prime example of this, and I have called it out below as a must read. In Vox, a mother fears for her daughter and her daughter’s future. If Hunger Games were written from the feminist dystopia point of view, it would probably have been written from Katness’s mom watching her daughter be towed away for the bread and circuses of District 1. It probably would have been equally as good, just different.

I have put together a list of feminist dystopias that are worth the read. They all have something to bring to the proverbial table.


The Handmaids Tale by Margaret Atwood

“Don’t let the bastards grind you down.”

The Handmaids Tale by Margaret Atwood

Offred is a Handmaid in the Republic of Gilead. She may leave the home of the Commander and his wife once a day to walk to food markets whose signs are now pictures instead of words because women are no longer allowed to read. She must lie on her back once a month and pray that the Commander makes her pregnant because, in an age of declining births, Offred and the other Handmaids are valued only if their ovaries are viable. Offred can remember the years before when she lived and made love with her husband, Luke; when she played with and protected her daughter; when she had a job, money of her own, and access to knowledge. But all of that is gone now…

The tale of Offred was beloved even before the television series. Come for the excellent writing, but stay for the intense story of women not being in control of their own bodies and by extension their own destinies.


‘The Testaments’ by Margaret Atwood

The wait is over.

And so I step up, into the darkness within; or else the light.

When the van door slammed on Offred’s future at the end of The Handmaid’s Tale, readers had no way of telling what lay ahead for her – freedom, prison or death.

With The Testaments, the wait is over.

Margaret Atwood’s sequel picks up the story 15 years after Offred stepped into the unknown, with the explosive testaments of three female narrators from Gilead.

‘Dear Readers: Everything you’ve ever asked me about Gilead and its inner workings is the inspiration for this book. Well, almost everything! The other inspiration is the world we’ve been living in.’ Margaret Atwood

The world finally has a sequel coming Sept 2019.


‘The Farm’ by Joanne Ramos

Nestled in the Hudson Valley is a sumptuous retreat boasting every amenity: organic meals, private fitness trainers, daily massages–and all of it for free. In fact, you get paid big money–more than you’ve ever dreamed of–to spend a few seasons in this luxurious locale. The catch? For nine months, you belong to the Farm. You cannot leave the grounds; your every move is monitored. Your former life will seem a world away as you dedicate yourself to the all-consuming task of producing the perfect baby for your überwealthy clients.

Jane, an immigrant from the Philippines and a struggling single mother, is thrilled to make it through the highly competitive Host selection process at the Farm. But now pregnant, fragile, consumed with worry for her own young daughter’s well-being, Jane grows desperate to reconnect with her life outside. Yet she cannot leave the Farm or she will lose the life-changing fee she’ll receive on delivery–or worse.

Heartbreaking, suspenseful, provocative, The Farm pushes our thinking on motherhood, money, and merit to the extremes, and raises crucial questions about the trade-offs women will make to fortify their futures and the futures of those they love.

Another new title although reviews are in for this one, and it looks very promising.


Hazards of Time Travel, by Joyce Carol Oates

Relief is happiness for those who, otherwise, would have no happiness.

An ingenious, dystopian novel of one young woman’s resistance against the constraints of an oppressive society, from the inventive imagination of Joyce Carol Oates

“Time travel” — and its hazards—are made literal in this astonishing new novel in which a recklessly idealistic girl dares to test the perimeters of her tightly controlled (future) world and is punished by being sent back in time to a region of North America — “Wainscotia, Wisconsin”—that existed eighty years before.  Cast adrift in time in this idyllic Midwestern town she is set upon a course of “rehabilitation”—but cannot resist falling in love with a fellow exile and questioning the constrains of the Wainscotia world with results that are both devastating and liberating.  

Arresting and visionary, Hazards of Time Travel  is both a novel of harrowing discovery and an exquisitely wrought love story that may be Joyce Carol Oates’s most unexpected novel so far.


The Water Cure by Sophie Mackintosh

Love…also taught me that loss is a thing that builds around you. That what feels like safety is often just absence of current harm, and those two things are not the same.

The Handmaid’s Tale meets The Virgin Suicides in this dystopic feminist revenge fantasy about three sisters on an isolated island, raised to fear men

King has tenderly staked out a territory for his wife and three daughters, Grace, Lia, and Sky. He has lain the barbed wire; he has anchored the buoys in the water; he has marked out a clear message: Do not enter. Or viewed from another angle: Not safe to leave. Here women are protected from the chaos and violence of men on the mainland. The cult-like rituals and therapies they endure fortify them from the spreading toxicity of a degrading world.

But when their father, the only man they’ve ever seen, disappears, they retreat further inward until the day three strange men wash ashore. Over the span of one blistering hot week, a psychological cat-and-mouse game plays out. Sexual tensions and sibling rivalries flare as the sisters confront the amorphous threat the strangers represent. Can they survive the men?

A haunting, riveting debut about the capacity for violence and the potency of female desire, The Water Cure both devastates and astonishes as it reflects our own world back at us.


The Book of M by Peng Shepherd

Then I saw it tilt its head ever so slightly to the side, all by itself. There was a moment of coldness, like the entire room had dropped twenty degrees. I tried to take a breath, but I couldn’t move. Then it was gone.

Set in a dangerous near future world, The Book of M tells the captivating story of a group of ordinary people caught in an extraordinary catastrophe who risk everything to save the ones they love. It is a sweeping debut that illuminates the power that memories have not only on the heart, but on the world itself.

One afternoon at an outdoor market in India, a man’s shadow disappears—an occurrence science cannot explain. He is only the first. The phenomenon spreads like a plague, and while those afflicted gain a strange new power, it comes at a horrible price: the loss of all their memories.

Ory and his wife Max have escaped the Forgetting so far by hiding in an abandoned hotel deep in the woods. Their new life feels almost normal, until one day Max’s shadow disappears too.

Knowing that the more she forgets, the more dangerous she will become to Ory, Max runs away. But Ory refuses to give up the time they have left together. Desperate to find Max before her memory disappears completely, he follows her trail across a perilous, unrecognizable world, braving the threat of roaming bandits, the call to a new war being waged on the ruins of the capital, and the rise of a sinister cult that worships the shadowless.

As they journey, each searches for answers: for Ory, about love, about survival, about hope; and for Max, about a new force growing in the south that may hold the cure.


The Future Home of the Living God by Louise Erdrich

The first thing that happens at the end of the world is that we don’t know what is happening.

Louise Erdrich, the New York Times bestselling, National Book Award-winning author of LaRose and The Round House, paints a startling portrait of a young woman fighting for her life and her unborn child against oppressive forces that manifest in the wake of a cataclysmic event.

The world as we know it is ending. Evolution has reversed itself, affecting every living creature on earth. Science cannot stop the world from running backwards, as woman after woman gives birth to infants that appear to be primitive species of humans. Twenty-six-year-old Cedar Hawk Songmaker, adopted daughter of a pair of big-hearted, open-minded Minneapolis liberals, is as disturbed and uncertain as the rest of America around her. But for Cedar, this change is profound and deeply personal. She is four months pregnant.

Though she wants to tell the adoptive parents who raised her from infancy, Cedar first feels compelled to find her birth mother, Mary Potts, an Ojibwe living on the reservation, to understand both her and her baby’s origins. As Cedar goes back to her own biological beginnings, society around her begins to disintegrate, fueled by a swelling panic about the end of humanity.

There are rumors of martial law, of Congress confining pregnant women. Of a registry, and rewards for those who turn these wanted women in. Flickering through the chaos are signs of increasing repression: a shaken Cedar witnesses a family wrenched apart when police violently drag a mother from her husband and child in a parking lot. The streets of her neighborhood have been renamed with Bible verses. A stranger answers the phone when she calls her adoptive parents, who have vanished without a trace. It will take all Cedar has to avoid the prying eyes of potential informants and keep her baby safe.

A chilling dystopian novel both provocative and prescient, Future Home of the Living God is a startlingly original work from one of our most acclaimed writers: a moving meditation on female agency, self-determination, biology, and natural rights that speaks to the troubling changes of our time.


Vox by Christina Dalcher

They won’t kill us for the same reason they won’t sanction abortions. We’ve turned into necessary evils, objects to be fucked and not heard.

Set in an America where half the population has been silenced, VOX is the harrowing, unforgettable story of what one woman will do to protect herself and her daughter.

On the day the government decrees that women are no longer allowed to speak more than 100 words daily, Dr. Jean McClellan is in denial—this can’t happen here. Not in America. Not to her.

This is just the beginning.

Soon women can no longer hold jobs. Girls are no longer taught to read or write. Females no longer have a voice. Before, the average person spoke sixteen thousand words a day, but now women only have one hundred to make themselves heard.

But this is not the end.

For herself, her daughter, and every woman silenced, Jean will reclaim her voice.

My review can be found here. A Review Longer Than 100 Words for “Vox” by Christina Dalcher


Leni Zumas’ The Red Clocks

She knew—it was her job as a teacher of history to know—how many horrors are legitimated in public daylight, against the will of most of the people.

Five women. One question. What is a woman for?

In this ferociously imaginative novel, abortion is once again illegal in America, in-vitro fertilization is banned, and the Personhood Amendment grants rights of life, liberty, and property to every embryo. In a small Oregon fishing town, five very different women navigate these new barriers alongside age-old questions surrounding motherhood, identity, and freedom.

Ro, a single high-school teacher, is trying to have a baby on her own, while also writing a biography of Eivør, a little-known 19th-century female polar explorer. Susan is a frustrated mother of two, trapped in a crumbling marriage. Mattie is the adopted daughter of doting parents and one of Ro’s best students, who finds herself pregnant with nowhere to turn. And Gin is the gifted, forest-dwelling homeopath, or “mender,” who brings all their fates together when she’s arrested and put on trial in a frenzied modern-day witch hunt. 


The Power by Naomi Alderman

It doesn’t matter that she shouldn’t, that she never would. What matters is that she could, if she wanted. The power to hurt is a kind of wealth.

In The Power the world is a recognisable place: there’s a rich Nigerian kid who lounges around the family pool; a foster girl whose religious parents hide their true nature; a local American politician; a tough London girl from a tricky family. But something vital has changed, causing their lives to converge with devastating effect. Teenage girls now have immense physical power – they can cause agonising pain and even death. And, with this small twist of nature, the world changes utterly.

This extraordinary novel by Naomi Alderman, a Sunday TimesYoung Writer of the Year and Granta Best of British writer, is not only a gripping story of how the world would change if power was in the hands of women but also exposes, with breath-taking daring, our contemporary world. 


March Monthly Wrap Up

Books I Read

March was a great month for reading, I got a chance to read eighteen fabulous stories. Here are some of them:

Books that I Picked up/Added to the Never ending TBR

April Goals

I have some pretty lofty goals for April. Firstly, I am going to start on my quest to read a publishers entire catalog. The publisher I am going after is Vault Comics. They specialize in science fiction and fantasy comics. I love what I have read so far, so I am going for it.

Here are some of the titles I hope to read and review this month:

How did I do For March Goals?

12/21 – Goal Books read. Not the most fantastic goals reading month, but the last half of the month I was traveling and did not have the energy to concentrate on reading.

Lingering – Melissa Simonson Buddy read with Evelina

Rijel 12: The Rise of New Australia: An action-packed thrill ride of rebellion and hope – King Medlin (Science Fiction)

Cryptofauna – by Patrick Canning (fifty percent completed)

To Best the Boys – Mary Weber (YA)

The Blighted City – Scott Kaelen (fantasy)

The Bastard from Fairyland – Phil Parker (fantasy)

In the Shadow of The House of God – Jeffrey G Roberts (novella)

Ethereal Custody – Byron Allavren (Novella)

The Clown – E.M McCarthy (Novella)

Forged in the Storm – RE Houser (Novella)

The Unkindness of Magicians – (urban fantasy)

Baba Yaga – Jane Yollen (poetry)

Transmetropolitan – Reread/buddy read with Paul from Paul’s Picks

Vagrant Queen by Magdalene Visaggio

Valentina 1965

Blue is the Warmest Color

Men of Wrath

Brazen Woman

The Fox and the Star

Little Moments of Love

Mooncop (read)