To ardent readers of current sci-fi/fantasy, our first three picks for WIRED Book Club may not have felt sufficiently out-there. Patrick Rothfuss is well known across the land—a George R.R. Martin for a Harry Potter-reared generation—and N.K. Jemisin and Ann Leckie have been shaking up the genre for a few years now. But if we’re to live up to our self-image as a ship of intergalactic ne’er-do-wells on a tear through the outer reaches of known space, we should probably take some risks. Blow things up. Pursue adventure.

So it is with that recklessness of spirit that we announce our selection for August: Ada Palmer’s Too Like the Lightning, a sci-fi … well, we don’t really know what it is. The book’s narrator is a convict named Mycroft Canner, but even though the year is 2454, Mycroft’s style is distinctly Enlightenment-era. (Palmer is a historian at the University of Chicago, and she’s written a work of nonfiction called Reading Lucretius in the Renaissance.) As the book-within-a-book’s title page reports, it was “published with the permission of”:

The Romanova Seven-Hive Council Stability Committee
The Five-Hive Committee on Dangerous Literature
Ordo Quiritum Imperatorisque Masonicorum
The Cousins’ Commision for the Humane Treatment of Servicers
The Mitsubishi Executive Directorate
His Majesty Isabel Carlos II of Spain

On that note, let’s read through Chapter 11—or rather, “Chapter the Eleventh: Enter Sniper”—by next week. Good luck to us all.


WIRED Book Club: OK, Let’s Get Weird With Some Future-Paleo Sci-Fi