Tor.com. Jan. 2022. 336p. ISBN 9781250782953. $26.99. SF
In Onyebuchi’s (Riot Baby) adult novel debut, the Earth is no longer the home to all of humankind. Space colonies have been developed, and wealthy and privileged people have left Earth’s cities—and their fellow humans—behind. Some of those who stayed on Earth are trying to create a safe existence among of the planet’s decaying infrastructure, while others are disassembling the homes and buildings left behind and preparing to ship them to the space colonies so that the wealthy Colony-dwellers can enjoy their comfortable existences inside quaint, historic brick and stone mansions. This scene on Earth is seen through the eyes of several characters, including Jonathan, who hopes that coming to New Haven, CT, will somehow reconnect him to his Colony lover David; and Linc, who demolishes old homes to send their bricks to the Colony and wonders if he can build hope for the future. Violent encounters and a kidnapping bring more characters into the story, and the plot lines are woven together by Onyebuchi’s vivid worldbuilding and realistic voices.
VERDICT Onyebuchi’s novel is a full sensory experience of language and imagery, set in a near-future world where race, class, and gentrification still drive conflict, both on Earth and in the stars.
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