Humorous, captivating, thoughtful—existentialism has never been so thrilling.

THE ANOMALY

A mystifying phenomenon sends shock waves through the world of an alternate 2021.

The opening chapter presents a detailed portrait of a professional assassin called Blake, a man described as “extremely meticulous, cautious, and imaginative.” The same adjectives could be applied to author Le Tellier: Trained as a mathematician and a scientific journalist, he uses these first pages to prime the reader for his methodically crafted story. The action then abruptly jumps to Victor Miesel, a disillusioned author and translator who becomes “mired in a horrible impression of unreality” after a turbulent flight. Over the following weeks, Miesel feverishly writes a new book called The anomaly, sends it to his editor, and kills himself. Then, snap, a new chapter begins, introducing a film editor named Lucie, who, along with every subsequently introduced character (eleven, altogether), is inexplicably requisitioned by the authorities.The connection between these people soon becomes clear: They were all passengers on the same turbulent flight. What exactly happened on this airplane? Le Tellier withholds the details for long enough that revealing the mystery here would spoil the entrancing quality of the book. Hunter’s brilliant translation from the French—her fifth collaboration with Le Tellier—transforms Le Tellier’s distinct French voice into a distinct English one. More importantly, Hunter captures the playful exhilaration with which Le Tellier marries his audacious plot to a deep concern for existentialist philosophy. Excerpts from Miesel’s The anomaly appear in epigraphs for each new section, including: “There is something admirable that always surpasses knowledge, intelligence, and even genius, and that is incomprehension.”

Humorous, captivating, thoughtful—existentialism has never been so thrilling.

Pub Date: Nov. 23, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-63542-169-9

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Other Press

Review Posted Online: Sept. 29, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2021

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A tasty, if not always tasteful, tale of supernatural mayhem that fans of King and Crichton alike will enjoy.

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DEVOLUTION

Are we not men? We are—well, ask Bigfoot, as Brooks does in this delightful yarn, following on his bestseller World War Z (2006).

A zombie apocalypse is one thing. A volcanic eruption is quite another, for, as the journalist who does a framing voice-over narration for Brooks’ latest puts it, when Mount Rainier popped its cork, “it was the psychological aspect, the hyperbole-fueled hysteria that had ended up killing the most people.” Maybe, but the sasquatches whom the volcano displaced contributed to the statistics, too, if only out of self-defense. Brooks places the epicenter of the Bigfoot war in a high-tech hideaway populated by the kind of people you might find in a Jurassic Park franchise: the schmo who doesn’t know how to do much of anything but tries anyway, the well-intentioned bleeding heart, the know-it-all intellectual who turns out to know the wrong things, the immigrant with a tough backstory and an instinct for survival. Indeed, the novel does double duty as a survival manual, packed full of good advice—for instance, try not to get wounded, for “injury turns you from a giver to a taker. Taking up our resources, our time to care for you.” Brooks presents a case for making room for Bigfoot in the world while peppering his narrative with timely social criticism about bad behavior on the human side of the conflict: The explosion of Rainier might have been better forecast had the president not slashed the budget of the U.S. Geological Survey, leading to “immediate suspension of the National Volcano Early Warning System,” and there’s always someone around looking to monetize the natural disaster and the sasquatch-y onslaught that follows. Brooks is a pro at building suspense even if it plays out in some rather spectacularly yucky episodes, one involving a short spear that takes its name from “the sucking sound of pulling it out of the dead man’s heart and lungs.” Grossness aside, it puts you right there on the scene.

A tasty, if not always tasteful, tale of supernatural mayhem that fans of King and Crichton alike will enjoy.

Pub Date: June 16, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-2678-7

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Del Rey/Ballantine

Review Posted Online: Feb. 10, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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The kind of climate-change fiction we all need.

TERMINATION SHOCK

In the all-too-near future, when unlikely weather events and natural disasters aren’t so unlikely anymore, an eccentric and wealthy Texan makes a move against climate change.

Saskia, better known as the Queen of the Netherlands, crashes her plane on an airstrip in Waco, Texas, when wild pigs overtake the runway as she's landing. Saskia’s visit to America isn’t exactly official, so she and her team enlist Rufus, who happens to be on the runway hunting the vicious boar that killed his young daughter, to help them get to Houston to meet T.R. Schmidt. While America as a nation is “a clown show,” Schmidt has the money to do as he pleases, and what he pleases to do is construct a massive gun that can shoot sulfur into the atmosphere and help ameliorate the effects of global warming. He’s invited people like Saskia, some Venetian aristocrats, and representatives of Singapore and other places that have the most to lose from a rising sea level to see what he’s been working on. When Schmidt starts up his gun and it actually works, a huge global debate emerges. Is Schmidt’s geoengineering scheme the best step to take? What will happen to global weather patterns with all this sulfur in the air? Will other countries choose to build their own guns or try to put a stop to Schmidt’s actions? Stephenson’s latest novel clocks in at more than 700 pages, and as usual they practically turn themselves as the multiple storylines twist together. This book is the rare climate thriller that's realistic about political stonewalling in the face of disaster yet unafraid to imagine a possible future where people might actually come together and try to save civilization.

The kind of climate-change fiction we all need.

Pub Date: Nov. 16, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-06-302805-0

Page Count: 736

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Sept. 1, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2021

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