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All the Birds in the Sky Paperback – 26 Jan 2016

3.8 out of 5 stars 40 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Titan Books (26 Jan. 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1785650556
  • ISBN-13: 978-1785650550
  • Product Dimensions: 19.8 x 3 x 13.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 25,814 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description


"In All the Birds in the Sky, Charlie Jane Anders darts and soars, with dazzling aplomb, throwing lightning bolts of literary style that shimmer with enchantment or electrons. She tackles profound, complicated questions, vast and insignificant as the fate of the planet, tiny and crucial as the vagaries of friendship, rocketing the reader through a pocket-sized epic of identity whose sharply-drawn protagonists come to feel like the reader s best friends. The very short list of novels that dare to traffic as freely in the uncanny and wondrous as in big ideas, and to create an entire, consistent, myth-ridden alternate world that is still unmistakably our own, all while breaking the reader s heart into the bargain I think of masterpieces like The Lathe of Heaven; Cloud Atlas; Little, Big has just been extended by one." - --Michael Chabon (Pulitzer Prize winning author of The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay)

Two crazy kids, one gifted in science, the other in magic, meet as children, part and meet again over many years. Will they find love? Will they save the world? Or will they destroy it and everyone in it? Read Anders lively, whacky, sexy, scary, weird and wonderful book to find the answers. --Karen Joy Fowler (We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves)

“By far one of the best debut novels in the genre in years.” Starburst Magazine

Everything you could ask for in a debut novel a fresh look at science fiction s most cherished memes, ruthlessly shredded and lovingly reassembled. --Cory Doctorow (Homeland)

"Warm, funny, sardonic - the best debut novel I've read in ages." - Charles Stross (Neptune's Brood)

"All the Birds in the Sky takes two very distinct genres and blends them together seamlessly. Lovers of science fiction and fantasy will be deeply drawn into this world, which hangs in the balance between a couple of extraordinary young people." - Veronica Belmont, Sword & Laser podcast

"Charlie Jane Anders has entwined strands of science and fantasy, both as genres and as ways of experiencing life, into a luminous novel that reveals the exhilarating necessity of each." - John Hodgman (The Areas of My Expertise)

"All the Birds in the Sky is a perfect synthesis of both sides of her writing life: a deeply felt story of love, magic, science, growing up an outsider, and living in apocalyptic times, bubbling over with a deep knowledge of genre history and geek culture." - Barnes & Noble Sci-Fi Blog

"Every so often a novel comes along that begs to be discussed among friends, argued over coffee, and read until the spine breaks. Allthe Birds in the Sky is such a book. It's a gorgeous coming-of-age story about magic and science, the apocalypse, and love." - Aidan Moher, writing in Barnes & Noble Sci-Fi Blog

"And that's what's fresh and vibrant about All the Birds in the Sky. Its standard genre tropes are well-chosen tools for doing a story that's about growing up, realizing who you are in the world, and then, far more importantly, realizing that the entire narrative of growing up and realizing who you are in the world is complete and utter bullshit and that the world is a terrifying and confusing place comprised entirely of people who are trying desperately to fool each other into thinking they aren't total fuckups. The magic/science opposition is there to be a binary opposition, with all the useful truth and false dichotomies implied." - Philip Sandifer

"A friendship between two adolescent misfits is the catalyst for an apocalyptic reckoning in Anders's clever and wonderfully weird novel... Fans of genre fiction will be delighted by Patricia and Laurence's story, and Anders's smart, matter-of-fact prose will appeal to a mainstream audience as well." - Publishers Weekly

“An exploration of the stories we tell ourselves about why we act the way we do... highly absorbing and enjoyable - 4 stars."- SFX Magazine

“An entertaining and audacious melding of science, magic, and just plain real life that feels perfectly right for our time.”- Buzzfeed Books

"A magnificent novel, unmissable."- Lev Grossman

“All The Birds In The Sky is a genre-bending, mind-blowing tour de
force. Charlie Jane Anders is a true original. Read and re-read.”
Jerry Stahl, author of Permanent Midnight

“A sensitive, funny and beautifully drawn study of friendship in the face of our world’s imminent end… moving, witty and worryingly relevant. 9/10" - SciFi Now Magazine

“A clever addition to the old science versus magic debate... a weird and charming read.” The Guardian

"A magic mirror showing the best version of San Francisco; a technomagickal romp." Robin Sloan, author of Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore

"Thoughtful and hip and fantasy and sci-fi all wrapped up. A+" Felicia Day, author of You're Never Weird on the Internet

"You would be a fool not to pick up All the Birds in the Sky. A blithering fool!" Sam Sykes, author of The City Stained Red

“Whimsical and precise, romantic and wickedly witty” Daily Mail

“Highly readable and imaginative, ‘All the Birds in the Sky’ will sing to Philip Pullman fans.” The Mail on Sunday

“Heartfelt, ambitious and dynamic. Fantastic stuff.” The Financial Times

“Deeply empathetic, humanistic work, funny and moving and wonderfully inventive.” Den of Geek Books of the Year

About the Author

Charlie Jane Anders is the editor-in-chief of io9.com, the extraordinarily popular Gawker Media site devoted to science fiction and fantasy. Her Tor.com story "Six Months, Three Days" won the 2013 Hugo Award and was subsequently picked up for development into a NBC television series. She has also had fiction published by Tin House, Asimov's Science Fiction, The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction and McSweeney's.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Bex TOP 500 REVIEWER on 17 Aug. 2016
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a strange book in that it doesn't really fit in anywhere on a standard shelf. This book is a combination of magic, in a modern society, with science, but science fiction themes. Like I said, weird.

In some ways these things make this book amazing. You've never read anything like it. It's completely broken the conformist idea of writing a book geared for a set audience and genre, and just created a quiet mixture of many to stand on its own. I like this. It's different. Different is good.

And this book basically sells that message throughout by impressing upon the reader, from my point of view anyway, that the outcasts of society have the most potential to make big, important changes. I like that concept, so that's how I've interpreted. But again, this book is so clever that I think actually it will mean different things for lots of readers.

The story is about a witch. We meet her as a young girl as she discovers she can talk to animals. This obviously progresses as the story develops, but you should definitely enjoy finding the rest out yourselves. This young witch meets a boy. A genius. An inventor of a time machine type watch. Two individuals you would never imagine together, in any one book least of all in the same story, are somehow connected. This tells the tale of their lives together.

It's not romantic. It's not really even sweet. It's just a biography of their lives as they each develop in some unique ways. The question is, does it all work if it's so disjointed and unexpected? Sometimes.

My largest problem with this book was the pacing. The beginning of a book should always grab the reader, or it has to in my case anyway, otherwise it's so easy to lose your enjoyment of the story and your desire to carry in.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
For me this was an "ideas" story with cardboard characters, with whom it was not much fun to spend time with. I found it hard to immerse in the story, because so much was either an info-dump or plain narration. But many of the ideas were compelling, so, against my inclination to put it down, I kept reading.It's hard to do magic in SF, and the book did it without breaking my willing suspension of disbelief - although I did have to willingly suspend boredom to get to the end.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I wanted to love this book but overall it was a very mediocre offering. There were some great aspects: the deeper philosophical questions, the writing and the humour. These were overshadowed by: the lack of overall developments of certain concepts (I wanted to know more about The Nameless Order of Assassins), the world's most ridiculous and cringey sex scene (cue eye roll), the ending and characters I never truly connected to. Also this book does struggle to find its audience, initially it reads like YA while The kids are young and then suddenly shifts to adult fantasy which makes it harder to stay engaged with. This book was amusing but far from perfect. 2.75/3 stars
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Format: Paperback
‘All the Birds in the Sky’ is an exhilarating read where author Charlie Jane Anders takes technology, magic, nature and love then beautifully moulds them into a weird and wonderful young adult novel.

Patricia from a young age comes to discover she is a witch when she finds herself chatting to birds and other animals. Laurence is a computer geek and while still at school creates a computer capable of artificial intelligence in his bedroom wardrobe. Both are outcast at school and are drawn to each other as they share their weirdness and isolation. The story is very much about the relationship between the two, how it grows, develops and changes over time as their paths continue to cross.

Patricia and Laurence are two people easy to like in this delightfully told story. They both grow up wanting to save our apocalyptic threatened world in their own but very different ways. Patricia through the ways of magic, whilst Laurence through his genius in science and technology. The groups they associate with see the Earth failing and have separate ideas on how the end of our world can be avoided. When the two groups clash what will be the consequences for our hero and heroine, and will magic or science be the winner?

You will need to read this for yourself to see if their relationship survives and if the Earth is saved for another day. This book is full of nice ideas and interesting concepts while addressing modern day issues. The cast of characters are all very individual and well portrayed. It all adds up to an enjoyable story and one which I can happily recommend to teenagers and adults alike. (ARC Received)
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A beautifully spun yarn of misfits, near-future catastrophe, superscience, magic, and friendship, All The Birds In The Sky ignores genre boundaries to create something almost unique and entirely charming. It begins as a sort of familiar YA story exploring the developing childhood friendship of a young girl who discovers magic and a young boy who invents a supercomputer in his bedroom closer. It’s a semi-familiar tale given spiky edges, and it’s here that the story dwells most purely in the realm of Magical Realism (for even the science at this stage is informed by fantasy and wish-fulfilment).

When the novel shifts to catch up with the two misfits in later life, Lawrence is part of a secret pool of scientists seeking ways to escape a dying world and Patricia has become a member of a magical order which instead attempts to heal the damage done, or at least alleviate some of its consequences. By this point the science has sharpened up into something which (for the most part) is recognisably from a possible future, and as the story weaves between and blends magic and science all ideas of genre fall away. Patricia and Lawrence – each immersed in their separate ideologies - meet again, clash, fall deeply in love, and accidentally rush the world towards annihilation.

It’s sweet, really.

No, I mean it. For all of the dystopian trappings the book ends up wearing, at its heart is a simple and lasting friendship which might bloom to romance if a few misunderstandings can be wrinkled out. The story is as much about ‘feels’ as ‘stuff’.
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