by Natalie C. Parker

This was a swashbuckling post-apocalyptic young adult pirate novel. Kind of like Waterworld, but with an attack yacht full of young women pirates instead of Kevin Costner on a catamaran with a tomato plant. It started a bit slow, got good, and ended with a bit of a whimper.

PS, you don’t use oars in a canoe. Not sure I can forgive the author for that.


by Neal Stephenson

What would be the implications if the Moon were destroyed? Well, first the fragments would create more fragments, which would eventually start falling to Earth, boiling the oceans and destroying all life on the surface. So it’s time to get underground or get into space.

Stephenson was clearly more interested in the near term effects, mostly in terms of physics and politics. The “escape from Earth” part of the book is dense and detailed, and takes up two thirds of the book. Then, it fast forwards five thousand years and races to a conclusion through what feels like a grab bag of Stephenson’s ideas for other novels.

Still, this was a thought-provoking, great read. If the last third was less satisfying, the first two-thirds made up for it.

The Book of Joan

by Lidia Yuknavitch

Humans living on a space station run by a twisted demagogue cover themselves in grafted-on skin flaps to make up for the loss of their reproductive organs. While they die out from an inability to reproduce, a few humans survive on the Earth below in isolated underground pockets, and one of them may have the ability to restore the planet. One skin-grafting storyteller begins branding herself with the story of Joan, fomenting a rebellion on the station that spreads to the surface.

This book is just weird. Not good-weird. Just weird.


by Carrie Vaughn

A post-apocalyptic murder mystery. Decades after economic and environmental collapse, a string of modest communities on the West Coast are committed to sustainability and avoiding the mistakes of the past. Only those households that have demonstrated their value to the community earn a banner—the right to have a child. This book considers what crime and punishment would look like in such a setting.

Vaughn’s optimistic take on post-apocalyptic storytelling sucked me right in. I loved Enid the Investigator and thinking about what justice would have to look like in such a setting. One of the better books I read this year.