cover image The Moon and the Other

The Moon and the Other

John Kessel. Saga, $27.99 (608p) ISBN 978-1-481-48144-1

Kessel’s latest is thoughtful, slow-churning social science fiction mashing together what might be seen at first as near-utopias to reveal the underbellies and clashes of dissatisfaction and disenfranchisement, where the haves enjoy almost unimaginable freedoms while the have-nots are ground down. Mira is a young scientist trying to find her place in the 22nd-century matriarchal Society of Cousins on the moon, a struggle that includes taking on another identity: the subversive video artist Looker. Her lover, Carey, begins a fight for his parental rights against laws and traditions that give him none when the child’s mother is still alive. Erno, a biotechnologist exiled from the Cousins and now living in the Western-leaning Persian lunar society Persepolis, has a fateful encounter with Amestris, rebellious daughter of Persepolis’s most powerful family. All of them, and their societies’ political good intentions woven hand-in-hand with oppression, are about to be entangled in a Cousins upheaval heading towards possible disaster, alongside the search for a quantum machine whose bizarre effects could upturn everything. Kessel’s complex ideas and worldbuilding will appeal to any fan of character- and culture-driven speculative fiction. Agent: John Silbersack, Trident Media Group. (Apr.)