Unfinished Books: ALL THE BIRDS IN THE SKY by Charlie Jane Anders

Charlie Jane Anders, All The Birds In The Sky. Tor US/Titan UK, 2016.

There are books that are made for other people to love. This is one of them. Stylistically, it has a plain and matter-of-fact voice. Said voice almost seems at odds with its absurdist approach to Doing Fantasy And SF at once: this is not quite the surrealism of Welcome To Night Vale or occasional pieces of China MiƩville, but treads close upon that territory.

It is also deeply engaged with American cultural territory — middle school and the travails of weird children — that leave me rather shaking my head at a wide cultural gulf. I stopped reading somewhere around page 150, feeling as though there was no way for me to get any emotional purchase on the text, for the combination of the absurdist approach and its socio-cultural rootedness in an experience I find particularly alien left me with no real place to stand.

I think it is likely that other people will enjoy it rather more, for it is not that this is a bad book, or an unambitious one, just that it is a book that is doing things that do not work for me.