What rhythms remain important to people living on a tidally locked planet? Can culture be governed by a clock? A young girl finds out as she comes of age on the planet January and befriends a species of alien that share their memories through the sense of touch.
The City in the Middle of the Night by Charlie Jane Anders was released on February 12th 2019 by Tor Books. The book won the Locus Award and has been shortlisted for the Arthur C. Clarke Award, and was nominated for the Hugo Award.
This book takes place on the planet January, a tidally locked world. A young girl is swept up in revolution and is banished to the freezing cold beyond the mountains. She befriends the local alien people and finds herself swept up in an epic adventurewhile yearning for an unrequited love.
Praises and Critiques:
This book is beautiful example of world-building and the depth of culture that can be created when the world is built well. This story takes place on a tidally locked world (I’ve always wondered why we don’t see more of this) and is filled with tons of fascinating perceptions of time that would be brought upon by the sun never rising or setting. Anders creates wonderfully rich cultures which clash and blend into a multifaceted story that makes you want the story to go on and on. Above all my favorite aspect of this book was the aliens and their culture. Often in science fiction alien cultures are not fully actualized, this book is an exception to that, and I found the alien culture to be incredibly foreign, but ever so beautiful. I loved some of the characters and hated others, and the fact that I had strong feeling about them convinced me that Anders is one of our contemporary greats.
Fans of modern science fiction and great world-building will love this book. It is a quick and fun read filled with rich characters and culture.
4.5 out of 5. A truly fun read and left me wanting more.