Closing the chapter on yet another year also means it’s the best time for a physical escape; if not, at least a mental one. From futuristic dystopian depictions to taut relationship tensions, here are some titles from this year to stretch the legs of our imagination.
Land of Big Numbers by Te-Ping Chen
The depth with which each character possesses in these short stories are amazing when you consider the length given to paint them out. Not every main character a hero, but all personable through their flaws, each cause you to invest in that episode of their lives. Above all, it’s the tangible nuances of human interaction in this that pulls you in and illuminates the way you look at those around you.
Speculative Los Angeles edited by Denise Hamilton
It’s always fascinating to read about a specific landmark that exists in the real world, and combine it with an element of myth. Not any less when it’s the iconic city that birthed Hollywood legends and mesmerized great writers. Across 14 commissioned stories, the anthology dabbles into noir and sci-fi. Connecting worlds across time, it reminds of Netflix’s Love, Death & Robots in the compiled chapters of what could be, in where still is.
Something New Under the Sun by Alexandra Kleeman
A bit of all in one, this sci-fi, detective thriller, eco-slanted genre bender follows novelist Patrick Hamlin as he uncovers corruption amidst environmental collapse in the age of capitalism in Hollywood. As it all seems like the work of a mysterious new brand of synthetic water, the last-ditch effort to resuscitate his career turns into an investigative prowl with an unlikely partner.
Hot Stew by Fiona Mozley
‘Community’ gets a different meaning in current day Soho, where a rich tapestry of clients, sex workers, neighbours, and old acquaintances coexist. Not shying away from confronting taboo but doing so with humour and nuance, this novel encompasses concepts of ownership, wealth, property and inheritance. More so the place we occupy in society when class and money is highly regarded.
Cloud Cuckoo Land by Anthony Doerr
If you liked All the Light We Cannot See, this takes the complexity further. Spanning five main characters across three time arcs, the narrative may get a little thick in the middle, especially with the switching point of view that’s not in chronological order. Including a interstellar ship, ancient Greek alphabets, and more, they all ultimately come together as a love letter to libraries and reading that most bookworms can appreciate.
All titles are available at Kinokuniya.