Everything changes in a Season. First guard the gates. Keep storecaches clean and dry. Obey the stonelore, make the hard choices, and maybe when the Season ends there will be people who remember how civilisation should work. Or maybe not. Not this Season.
Last autumn, I ‘fessed up that I rarely read SF classics. Looking at “scifi novels every fan must read” lists, I’m a very bad SF fan indeed. This year I made a half-hearted effort to mend my ways (I haven’t exactly let them dominate my reading), but Sci Fi Month was my inspiration to tackle a giant.
Children go missing all the time. Sometimes, there is a fuss. Sometimes, they come home. Sometimes, they’ve been much further than you’d think. Welcome to Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children. Leave your disbelief at the door. Open your heart wide. Bring tissues.
In a shockingly prescient nearly-now, books have been banned, considered damaging to public happiness. Montag, a fireman, torches them for a living. But when a woman commits suicide rather than give up her books, he becomes tempted to try and understand their dangerous appeal.
Anderson Lake is a Calorie Man, hunting Bangkok’s markets for foodstuffs long thought to be extinct. There he meets the windup girl Emiko – one of the New People, engineered to satisfy a rich man’s whims, then abandoned to the slums. Welcome to a near-future where oil has run out, seas are rising, and food safety is in the hands of a ruthless few.