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Blackfish City

A Novel
Written by: Sam J. Miller
Narrated by: Vikas Adam
Length: 10 hrs and 23 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (2 ratings)
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Publisher's Summary

"Miller gives us an incisive and beautifully written story of love, revenge, and the power (and failure) of family in a scarily plausible future. Blackfish City simmers with menace and heartache, suspense and wonder. Plus, it has lots of action and a great cast of characters. Not to mention an orca and a polar bear!" (Ann Leckie, New York Times best-selling author and winner of the Hugo, Nebula, and Clarke Awards) 

After the climate wars, a floating city is constructed in the Arctic Circle, a remarkable feat of mechanical and social engineering, complete with geothermal heating and sustainable energy. The city's denizens have become accustomed to a roughshod new way of living; however, the city is starting to fray along the edges - crime and corruption have set in, the contradictions of incredible wealth alongside direst poverty are spawning unrest, and a new disease called "the breaks" is ravaging the population. 

When a strange new visitor arrives - a woman riding an orca, with a polar bear at her side - the city is entranced. The "orcamancer", as she's known, very subtly brings together four people - each living on the periphery - to stage unprecedented acts of resistance. By banding together to save their city before it crumbles under the weight of its own decay, they will learn shocking truths about themselves.  

Blackfish City is a remarkably urgent - and ultimately very hopeful - novel about political corruption, organized crime, technology run amok, the consequences of climate change, gender identity, and the unifying power of human connection. 

©2018 Sam J. Miller (P)2018 HarperCollins Publishers

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  • Overall
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  • faithy
  • 2018-04-29

Blew Me Away

I loved how the author imagines a future so connected to our present, and connected to our humanity. Blackfish City is writhing with personalities, political intrigue, and medical mysteries. From intimate scenes to epic ones, the author pulls you right in. This is SF with a heart as big as the Arctic Circle. Fans of Pullman should definitely check this out.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Shawn
  • 2018-07-02

Decent SF, So-So Cli-Fi

The reader was very good. The novel had a lot of interesting ideas, but wasn't done well. it started slowly with much confusion. It ended hurriedly with much confusion. The climate apocalypse was not convincing, nor powerful. The LGBT perspective added value but also was annoying, partially because it wasn't handled in enough depth.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Jasper
  • 2019-01-15

loved it. loved the story. loved the characters

so good. such a great story. i need seven more words to finish this review.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • David F.
  • 2019-01-14

boring slog with some great concepts

I've picked it up several times and I still can't finish it. in spurts of truly enjoyable storytelling is intermingled some genuinely tedious oration. Furthermore, yes, the worldbuilding is great but inconsistent. for example, it's cold you are informed, but other than being told that, it doesn't much exist in the characters senses. When you live in the cold, from chills to chilblains, it is ever present discomfort. I will probably try to pick it up again in a few months because the premise is undeniably fertile ground.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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  • ryan
  • 2019-01-10

Disclaimer: FUll OF GRAPHIC HOMOSEXUALITY

I write this because I think that people should know if they are fixing to invest their money and time into a novel with graphic scenes of one man spraying his semen on to another man's face. This is an LBGT novel. plain and simple. it's not my thing, but it may be yours. It was still a fairly good story of love and loss and greed and the corruption of power and the bonds of family. All I'm saying is that when I watched Brokeback Mountain I knew what I was getting in to. With this, it felt like they snuck it up on me. The guy who read it was excellent! 3.5 stars for the book experience as a whole.

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  • Neal
  • 2018-12-28

great story, great production

I love a great dystopian story! Total escape from reality. Poetic plus action plus character development. I'll probably.listen to it a 2nd time to follow the characters stories from the beginning.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Michael G Kurilla
  • 2018-12-21

Dystopic 1%'ers and Occupy adrift

Sam J Miller's Blackfish City is a dystopic vision of the future following climate change and the collapse of world governments. Societies separate from sovereign nations have been established in the oceans by tapping into geothermal energy. Human nature persists and pretty soon the haves (landlords) and the havenots (tenants) are going at it. Into this mix add dysfunctional and corrupt local government and criminal gangs and you have the usual pattern of human history. An ensemble cast of various players, initially presented as unrelated end up having many connections.

The basic economic viability of this arrangement is never quite satisfactorily presented. A meta-AIDS disease, the "breaks" is extant. Nanotechnology has permitted the mental linkage of humans and animals with a genetic component. There's a typical "life is cheap" mentality, but the presumed fragility of this tenuous ecosystem is never explored.

The narration is reasonable, although character distinction is just acceptable.