BLACKFISH CITY appeared on Publishers Weekly’s list of the Best Books of 2018!! Here’s what they had to say:
“Miller’s ambitious and driven first novel for adults is a smashing story of everyday life on a floating city after a climate apocalypse. While tackling class, technology, politics, and more, Miller never loses sight of the human beings at the heart of his story, producing a deeply empathic and lovely work of science fiction.”
In addition – an eerie six months after the book’s release, when one has long despaired of seeing any further reviews – Kirkus gave a coveted starred review to BLACKFISH CITY! And said lots of nice things about the book. “Harsh and lovely” is the kinda thing I’d gladly put on my tombstone:
…Populated by the refugees and descendants of refugees from nations destroyed by social upheaval and environmental disasters, Qaanaaq is run by software while political and economic power rests in the hands of landlords, crime gangs, and the ultrawealthy, never-seen shareholders. But what was once a relatively stable system is headed for a shakeup as the gulf between the haves and have-nots widens. Someone is transmitting subversive broadcasts about life in Qaanaaq; a gang lord is planning her ascent to the ranks of shareholders; a woman seeks to help her mother, who’s imprisoned, perhaps unjustly, in an ultrasecure mental hospital; a brain-damaged fighter is pressured into becoming an enforcer; an ambitious courier becomes a spy; and the grandson of a shareholder contracts a sexually transmitted disease that fatally afflicts its carriers with the memories of the previously infected. But true chaos only enters the city with Masaaraq, a tough warrior woman who travels with her psychically bonded orca and a chained polar bear. She has a very specific reason for coming to Qaanaaq, and she does not care whom she harms or what plans she disrupts in the course of fulfilling her purpose. Although it has its bleak and very violent moments, there’s also a certain amount of optimism in this story, which ultimately proves to be about family and the hard-won strength of those who survive against all odds. Author and professional activist Miller (The Art of Starving, 2017) allows his passion for advocacy—for people desperately clinging to their hope for a home, exploited minorities, and those outside the cishet dichotomy—to inform and structure his fiction but in such an integral and yet casual way that it never feels preachy.
Harsh and lovely.
It’s up on their website, so I guess it’s cool to share that I’ll be traveling to London for MCM Comic Con to talk BLACKFISH CITY!!!!
… along with a ton of other excellent writers… and artists… and movie stars… (OMG HICKS FROM ALIENS)
“Sam why are you hiding in the green room the entire con?”
“Shut up I’m hoping Hicks from Aliens needs a soda.”
MY FIRST INTERNATIONAL BOOK TRAVEL YALL
Programming details are still being finalized, but I am going to be on four fantastic-sounding panels – if you’re gonna be there, look me up in the program and COME THROOOOOOOOOUGH
I was super-honored to be interviewed by living legend Scott Simon for NPR’s Weekend Edition – and the interview is now up live on their site!! Check it out if you’ve got 6.25 minutes to spare to hear me talk about BLACKFISH CITY, being a small-town butcher, the hypocrisy of American anti-immigrant sentiment, and how awesome my dad was.
MILLER: … people will still find a way to come together and live together, and that it’ll be really hard and really beautiful.
SIMON: The really-hard-and-really-beautiful part sometimes made me wonder if – are we talking about something that’s dystopian or, in a way, utopian?
MILLER: That’s a great question. And I’m not entirely sure I have an answer and probably because I actually believe that both things exist simultaneously in books and in the world around us. There are so many things in our world that are amazing and wonderful and that people a hundred years ago would be shocked and overwhelmed to find that we have the kind of technology and medical care and food abundance that we do now. And so in many ways for many people, this current moment is very utopian. But it is also deeply dystopian, and many people are living really, really hard lives that other people are sort of perfectly happy to ignore.
On Tuesday, April 24th, we’ll celebrate the launch of BLACKFISH CITY at the phenomenal powerHouse bookstore in Brooklyn – and I’m over the moon to announce that I’ll be in conversation with my hero and friend N.K. Jemisin!! Winner of multiple Hugo Awards, including Best Novel for The Fifth Season, possibly my favorite fantasy novel of the past five years, N.K. Jemisin is a genius and I am so so excited to be chatting with her about my book.
DO NOT MISS THIS AWESOME EVENT.
Tuesday Apr 24, 2018
7:00 pm – 9:00 pm
POWERHOUSE @ the Archway
28 Adams Street (Corner of Adams & Water Street @ the Archway)
Brooklyn , NY 11201
In just over two months, my novel BLACKFISH CITY will be published by Ecco Press in the US, and Orbit Books in the UK! It’s my first non-YA book, and it’s set in a floating city in the Arctic after rising sea levels have transformed the globe… and a woman arrives one day with an orca and a polar bear, on a mission that could be bloody or beautiful, or both.
As if that wasn’t exciting enough, it’s already getting some awesome buzz.
“Miller made waves with his YA debut, The Art of Starving, and will make more with this rich and intense dystopian ensemble story set in a harsh near future.”
and Barnes & Noble listed it under “25 Sci-Fi and Fantasy Debuts to Watch For in 2018“:
“Set in the floating city of Qaanaaq, built in the arctic circle in the wake of the terrible climate wars that saw ground-level cities burned and razed, Miller’s adult debut (his lightly fantastical YA The Art of Starving was one of the most acclaimed books of last year) looks to be a complex jewel of ideas… This is the kind of swirling, original sci-fi we live for.”
First review for BLACKFISH CITY is in, and it’s a hell of a thing – a starred review from Publisher’s Weekly!! Here it is in its entirety:
“Miller, fresh from his YA debut (The Art of Starving), makes the jump to adult SF with an ambitious, imaginative, and big-hearted dystopian ensemble story that’s by turns elegiac and angry. The floating city of Qaanaaq was constructed after many mainland cities burned or sank. The arrival of a woman with two unusual companions—an orca and a polar bear—draws a disparate group together. Ankit, a political aide, wants to free her institutionalized birth mother; her brother, Kaev, is a brain-damaged fighter at the end of his career; Fill, a rich playboy, has the breaks, an illness that throws sufferers into strangers’ memories; and Soq, an ambitious nonbinary street messenger, is trying to hustle their way into a better life. Together, they uncover a dramatic series of secrets, connections, and political plots. Miller has crafted a thriller that unflinchingly examines the ills of urban capitalism. Qaanaaq is a beautiful and brutal character in its own right, rendered in poetic interludes. The novel stumbles only at the very end, in a denouement that feels just a little too hurried for the characters’ twisting journey.” Agent: Seth Fishman, Gernert Company. (Apr.)
Feast your eyes on this beauty: