Compelling Cli-Fi | SF/Fantasy

A partially submerged Nigeria and a world at the edge of apocalypse, being destroyed by climate disasters and corporate greed, are settings for these starred climate fiction novels.

Hairston, Andrea. Archangels of Funk. May 2024. 384p. ISBN 9781250807281. $29.99. FANTASY

Hairston’s (Will Do Magic for Small Change) latest novel of hoodoo and physics revolves around the Next World Festival that welcomes everyone to share their past and choose their future. This is especially important for a world at the edge of the apocalypse, with climate disasters and corporate greed destroying it. Cinnamon Jones thought she could save the world, but now she’s feeling alone, despite her loving community. She’s considering canceling the festival, but the ghosts of her family, her living friends, her circus-bot creations, and her dogs—one living, one cyber-revenant—aren’t going to let her forget to seek her beautiful future. Along the way, her coding skills, magic, and found family will overcome kidnappers, entitled tech bros, and duplicitous exes and will put on a danged good show. The music of Hairston’s prose and her characters’ approach to conflict set the novel apart. Opponents are offered understanding and forgiveness before escalation, and there’s a sense that even the most recent mistakes don’t have to tarnish someone if they’re willing to listen and learn. VERDICT This cross between Parable of the Sower by Octavia E. Butler and Kiki’s Delivery Service by Eiko Kadono deserves a place in every library.—Matthew Galloway

Okungbowa, Suyi Davies. Lost Ark Dreaming. May 2024. 192p. ISBN 9781250890757. $19.99. SF

In near-future Nigeria, the world has succumbed to extreme climate change. With the region underwater, five towers, known as the Fingers, rise out of the floods and are home to thousands. The affluent live on the top floors, while many more poor people are crammed into the levels submerged under the Atlantic Ocean. When a report of a breach causes midlevel analyst Yekini and upper-level bureaucrat Ngozi to travel underseas to follow up, they meet Tuoyo, an undersea mechanic who once lived above. As the breach is discovered to have been caused by one of the Children, transformed descendants of those left to the water, all three must find a way to bring their disparate perspectives and lives together and reveal the truth about the past—no matter who wants to hide it. The novel’s multiple points of view, along with interspersed news articles leading to the present, showcase the themes of class and disparity through tense action. VERDICT Okungbowa (Warrior of the Wind) offers readers an amazing, character-driven story set in a vivid, dystopian world.—Kristi Chadwick

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