Blackfish City

Blackfish City

A Novel

Book - 2018
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Michael Colford Apr 06, 2020

When it comes to dystopian societies, Sam J. Miller sure has created something complex that borrows from pop culture, Inuit myth, capitalism and environmental collapse just to name a few! In fact, the rich threads that Miller weaves into <i>Blackfish City</i> threaten at first to overwhelm the story, making it difficult to breakthrough and stick with it. But perseverance is worthwhile, as the story of a family torn apart by genocide who unite to combat oppression (or maybe just to get revenge?) and at about the halfway mark, things start to really come together and race forward nicely.

There are a lot of characters to keep track of, and a lot of different storyline threads, as I mentioned, but most of them don't need all that much effort. A thread about an AIDS-like virus that is transmitted sexually, but involves communal memory and mental disjointedness sometimes feels like something from another story. Yet Miller manages to weave that thread smoothly into the larger tapestry.

Clearly the most compelling story for me, the bonding between man and beast as exemplified by the strange woman riding on the back of an orca, takes the longest to get its due, but once it does it does so beautifully. Still, with political corruption, organized crime, post-punk technology, climate change, gender identity and generational memory all added to the mix, there's probably something for everyone. Hopefully readers will not find that there is too much for everyone.

j
JLMason
Nov 16, 2019

Set in a post-climate change apocalypse world on a platform city anchored in arctic waters, this Nebula-nominated novel is well-imagined and well-plotted, but I never warmed up to the characters, their dire histories and circumstances, or their perils.

c
castrokathy
Jun 02, 2019

In the hands of a good writer this could have been a timely, exciting book. Unfortunately, the poor storytelling constantly took me out of the story. A really shame, it had potential.

f
fionajay
Mar 19, 2019

Nominated for Nebula Awards May 2019

JessicaGma Sep 06, 2018

A really interesting dystopian sci-fi tale of living high up in the Arctic in a strange built city called Qaanaaq. It reminded me a lot of Company Town in the sense that much of the city is in thrall to the rich, and there is such a wide gulf between the haves and have nots, but it's quite good as well. Definitely worth picking up.

j
Jannz
Jun 29, 2018

Excellent, vividly written with a strong storyline carrying a commentary on gender politics and social criticism in a post-capitalist dystopia.


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