cover image Goliath


Tochi Onyebuchi. Tordotcom, $26.99 (336p) ISBN 978-1-250-78295-3

A desolated Earth is the vivid backdrop for this harrowing, visionary sci-fi novel from Onyebuchi (Riot Baby). A highly politicized viral pandemic has divided America, and conservatives who resent regulations leave the planet to establish the first space colony. Radiation and pollution due to climate change soon cause wealthy, privileged parties to follow to the Colonies in a drastic, extraterrestrial form of white flight, leaving the disadvantaged abandoned on the hazardous Earth with little help. Decades later, Jonathan and David, a white couple from the Colonies, move to New Haven with romantic ideas of starting a new life on Earth. The perspectives of Black New Haven laborers Linc and Bishop form a sharp contrast, and they know better than to idealize their circumstances. These are just a few of the large cast Onyebuchi cycles through in a collection of narrative vignettes that allows readers glimpses of a land plagued by the persistent nightmares of racism, gentrification, radiation poisoning, and escalating street violence. Onyebuchi’s biblically inspired cautionary tale offers a hauntingly beautiful portrait of the decaying planet, though the mosaic structure and blurring timelines can sometimes take readers out of the narrative as they work to piece events together. Still, the emotions are raw and real, and Onyebuchi doesn’t shy away from the more heart-wrenching moments. It’s urgent, gorgeous work. (Jan.)