cover image Sordidez


E.G. Condé. Stelliform, $15.99 trade paper (142p) ISBN 978-1-77768-236-1

Condé’s brutal, mystical, and deeply felt speculative debut lifts up a vision of Indigenous resistance and renewal in the face of climate change and colonizers. It opens in a near-future Puerto Rico devastated by hurricanes, where young trans man Vero Diaz leads his community to resist foreign aid and control. His later work as a journalist takes him to the countryside, which has been blighted by a drought-causing climate weapon called the hydrophage. He’s there to interview Doña Margarita, the creator of a peaceful refuge for the Sordidos, war veterans who have lost their memories due to the brain-altering Androvirus. At the same time, Vero is drawn into the orbit of the Lobo Roja, a violent revolutionary wresting back control of the island by tapping into ancestral magic. Though Condé’s dystopia encompasses grand worldbuilding innovations in the realms of both technology and politics, it still feels plausibly derived from the state of today’s world. The author’s depiction of Taíno culture is profound, his evocative images of a land in ruin are visceral, and the grief and sheer determination expressed through his characters is often so vivid as to be overwhelming. The result is a beautiful blend of futurism and magical realism that delivers a hopeful message of human resilience. (Aug.)