Goliath

by Tochi Onyebuchi
First sentence: “Before his flight to Earth, they had warned Jonathan about the “gangs”.”
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Content: There is swearing, the use of the n-word, violence, and references to sex. It’s in the Science Fiction/Fantasy section of the bookstore.

Let’s see if I can figure out a plot: It’s the future, and white people have ravaged the Earth and left it to rot while taking refuge in space. Then one of them, Jonathan, decides that life in space is not worth living and comes back. There he finds that a sort-of community has built around what little there is left. There are still haves and have-nots, but for the most part, people are living.

And honestly, that’s all I’ve got. I was thinking, when I started, that this feels a lot like Octavia Butler’s future, just farther along – the people have left the earth for dead and have gone into space, but it’s just the white people. Like in all good science fiction, Oneybuchi is taking the problems of gentrification and climate change and projecting into the future. It’s a bleak one, too. But, then, he takes a left turn at the section titled “Fall” and he lost me. Up to that point, I was, maybe not really enjoying, but rather, getting, what he was doing and I respected it. But Fall takes the book off the rails. It moves from thirst to first person with a bunch of found documents that are supposed to be news stories (?), and I just didn’t get it. This book is definitely for someone smarter than me, and one who is more willing to follow where Onyebuchi leads. He’s a good writer, but maybe not one for me.

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