Clade by James Bradley is a nominee for my Book of the Year 2016.
Clade is a short book, 189 pages, and might technically be a novella. However, since it was published as a stand-alone piece, I am considering it a novel. Also, I have read 1,000 page books that did not have as much story as Clade does. In that way, Clade reminds me of two favorite books from last year, Elysium by Jennifer Marie Brissett (208 pages) and Slow Bullets by Alastair Reynolds (192 pages). All three books presented deep, full stories in very few pages.
Clade follows a family and their friends through many years of ecological disasters due to global warming. Jumping years at a time, we get glimpses into their lives. In those glimpses we see the impact of the climate change on the world and on the family. It could almost be the same world as the one in Paolo Bacigalupi’s The Water Knife, or at least one parallel to it. Though the world in Clade seems a bit more gone than the one in The Water Knife.
I highly recommend Clade and will definitely keep an eye out for the next book by Mr. Bradley.
The first book I finished reading in 2016 is Chimera by Mira Grant (pen name of Seanan McGuire). It was the third and final book in the Parasitology trilogy.
The main character is Sal, formerly Sally, who had been in a terrible car accident. A medical tapeworm was implanted to try to save her. Sally was actually gone, and the person known as Sal was the tapeworm driving the body. This is actually a minor spoiler from the first book. As the series continues, the tapeworms start to take over more bodies, but unlike the success that is Sal, they are more like The Walking Dead. The series tackles what is a person, as well as different concepts of identity.
I enjoined the series including this final book. If you have not read Mira (or Seanan) I would recommend the Newsflesh trilogy by Mira Grant. It is fantastic. I also very highly recommend Imdexing, which she released under Seanan McGuire.
Jack McDevitt is one of my favorite writers. The first book of his I read was Moonfall. A standalone novel about an asteroid that will shatter the moon, it was edge-of-your-seat exciting. I was hooked on McDevitt from that point forward.
The next book of his I read was Deepsix. This is the second book in the Priscilla “Hutch” Hutchins series. I cannot recommend these books highly enough. They are fantastic. This is the book where I knew I would read everything McDevitt wrote. Many of the books are around the Omega clouds, space traveling destructive forces that will attack any planet where it finds structures with right angles. This is because right angles do not exist in nature, someone had to make them. Very cool, exciting books.
McDevitt’s other series is the Alex Benedict books. These take place thousands of years in the future. Alex and his pilot Chase travel the universe looking for relics. Some human, some may be alien. Coming Home is book seven of the series. Another home run by McDevitt, it is a nominee for my Book of the Year.
Coming Home has two major stories in it. One is Alex and Chase looking for Apollo-era relics. The other is a continuation of a storyline that began in book six of the series (Firebird) about the rescue of passengers on a starship stuck in trans-dimensional space. I don’t want to say too much more due to possible spoilers, other than I really enjoyed it. Also, if you have not read the Alex Benedict series yet, I would recommend at least reading Firebird before reading Coming Home since they tie into each other so much.
Please check out Jack McDevitt. You will be glad you did.
My Jack McDevitt Book Shelf.