Portals and Paradoxes
Ever wish you could go back and read your favorite books again for the first time? *Sigh* It may never be possible, but at least you can read some of our favorites for the first time! These titles feature protagonists who slip between worlds for science, for revolution, for revenge, or simply by accident. With twists and turns, and maybe a couple do-overs, a well-crafted time travel story upends consensus reality to guide us through thrilling and subversive alternatives.
In The Peripheral... we experience the fantastic synthesis of a 20th century writer—the Gibson of Neuromancer, eyeball-kicks of flash and noir; and the Gibson of Pattern Recognition, arch and sly and dry and keen... [A] novel that is doubly futuristic, set both in our near future, and in a more distant future, further down the line, beyond a kind of terrible singularity called, simply, "the jackpot."
—Cory Doctorow, author of Walkaway
Ugh, SO good. This snappy time-travel adventure is the perfect example of what an enemies to lovers story-line should be: a spirited rivalry that gives way to reluctant admiration, and finally melts into a passionate love of equals. From the very first teasing letter I was so invested in this forbidden love between the characters of Red and Blue, operatives from opposing sides of a war between the harsh mechanical and the lethal botanical.
—Esmé, Firestorm Collective member
This novel succeeds as both a gripping scifi narrative—packing some fantastic plot twists that don't rely on overly convoluted time travel mechanics—and a thoughtful exploration of profound questions; most notably, "what causes social change?". A dark but hopeful tone combined with thoroughly original world building keeps the book from being reducible to a mashup of The Handmaid's Tale and Terminator 2: Judgment Day (though it would certainly appeal to fans of either).
—Libertie, Firestorm Collective member
An immersive and coherent (and admittedly didactic) exploration of anarchic utopia, juxtaposed with the dystopia of our present reality. Where Orwell expounds upon the dangers of authority and resilience of totalitarianism, Piercy offers a vision of tenuous possibility through feminism, ecology, and a deep reckoning with power. We enthusiastically recommend this book to anyone who asks the question, "what is the alternative to fascism?"
—Libertie, Firestorm Collective member
Schwab creates an ingenious set of nesting alternate Londons in this imaginative, well-crafted fantasy. There’s Grey London, set in our mundane world’s Regency era; Red London, where magic flourishes along with the populace; and White London, where a desperate struggle to control magic has bled the city and its people. No one speaks of Black London, consumed by magic and presumed destroyed… Confident prose and marvelous touches—a chameleon coat, a scarlet river of magic, a piratical antiheroine—bring exuberant life to an exhilarating adventure among the worlds.
On the one hand, this is an interdimensional adventure quest; on the other, it’s a story about shifting relationship dynamics; on a third (alternate realities, why not), it’s about late capital, low-wage work, and the coercive systems we are imbricated within. Cipri’s closing author’s note references Ursula K. Le Guin, and I was unsurprised, because I was also thinking throughout the novella about that famous quote: ‘We live in capitalism, its power seems inescapable. So did the divine right of kings.’ The energy of that argument hovers around the whole text.
—Lee Mandelo, Tor.com
The Space Between Worlds lands squarely in my sweet spot: gorgeous writing, mind-bending world-building, razor-sharp social commentary, and a main character who demands your attention—and your allegiance.
—Rob Hart, author of The Warehouse
Time travel is a classic trope in science fiction, posing questions about fixing the past, paradoxes, or simply spectating in a time long before your own. In her new book, Gods, Monsters, and the Lucky Peach, author Kelly Robson spins out a fantastic story that neatly sidesteps the inherent problems that come along with messing with your past. Instead, she tells a sharp story about how looking to the past can help with the future and some of the pitfalls that come with a world without consequences.
—Andrew Liptak, The Verge
A 20th-century black woman (and, once, her white husband) slip back into 19th-century Maryland through unceremonious, frightening time-travel… Kindred erodes the naïve idea that the brutalities of the past are no more in the present. This confluence of violence is clear from the first sentences: 'I lost an arm on my last trip home. My left arm. And I lost about a year of my life and much of the comfort and security I had not valued until it was gone.'
—Gabrielle Bellot, Literary Hub