SFF

The Tiger Flu

Arsenal Pulp. Oct. 2018. 334p. ISBN 9781551527314. pap. $17.95; ebk. ISBN 9781551527321. SF
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Kirilow is a doctor from Grist Village, a community of women who were thrown out of the patriarchal Saltwater City. They exist owing to unique genetic mutations, including solo reproduction and "starfishing" (the ability to regrow and thus donate organs) and with the help of Kirilow and her starfish lover Peristrophe. However, disease ravages the world of 2145, and the tiger flu epidemic is spreading. A stranger from Saltwater City enters the village carrying the flu, causing the death of Peristrpohe. Kirilow wants to grieve but knows she must find another starfish to ensure her village's survival. Hoping to save her family from the sickness, Kora doesn't care that she is the starfish for whom Kirilow is searching. When both are taken captive by a nefarious group planning to use technology to separate the mind from the body, Kora and Kirilow must work together to save their loved ones and possibly the world itself. Daring prose and a dark, cruel landscape enhance this mesmerizing story.
VERDICT The latest from Lai (When Fox Is a Thousand; Salt Fish Girl) takes on the extremes of gender, disease, and ecological devastation in a cautionary tale that readers will appreciate as fiction—for now.
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