All the Birds in the Sky

Tor. Jan. 2016. 320p. ISBN 9780765379948. $25.99; ebk. ISBN 9781466871120. FANTASY
OrangeReviewStarThey met as children, both awkward and otherwise friendless but otherwise as different from each other as they could be. Patricia always wanted to be in the woods, where she came to believe she could speak to animals. Laurence was obsessed with science, building a computer in his bedroom closet. Still, the two were allies until Laurence witnessed Patricia's abilities and couldn't accept them. Decades later, the two are in San Francisco, where climate change has left the planet on the tipping point of disaster. Patricia is a part of a community of witches, and Laurence has joined a think tank of sorts that is trying to find a scientific solution to the world's ills. Nature vs. technology: the two old friends are on paths that will lead to unavoidable collision.
VERDICT At turns darkly funny and deeply melancholy, this is a polished gem of a novel from the Hugo Award-winning (for the story "Six Months, Three Days") editor in chief of the website io9.com. Her depiction of near-future San Francisco shows a native's understanding (and love) of the city, while gently skewering it at the same time. Readers will follow Patricia and Laurence through their growing pains, bad decisions, and tentative love.

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