Home > Books > Ada Palmer’s Sci-Fi Novel Too Like the Lightning Drawing Praise

Ada Palmer’s Sci-Fi Novel Too Like the Lightning Drawing Praise

Cover Art for sci-fi novel Too Like the Lightning

Too Like the Lightning Sounds Like a Must Read

If you are looking for a new sci-fi book to read, you should definitely consider checking out Ada Palmer’s debut novel Too Like the Lightning, which hit the bookshelves this last Tuesday. This is the first book in her Terra Ignota series and is being published by Tor Books. It’s already drawing strong praise, with groups like NPR featuring it, and calling it ‘astonishing.’ Early reviews also single out for praise a strong vein of philosophy running through the book, especially informed by the Enlightenment era with Palmer drawing many of her ideas from philosophers such as Diderot and Voltaire.

The synopsis of the book is as follows:

Mycroft Canner is a convict. For his crimes he is required, as is the custom of the 25th century, to wander the world being as useful as he can to all he meets. Carlyle Foster is a sensayer–a spiritual counselor in a world that has outlawed the public practice of religion, but which also knows that the inner lives of humans cannot be wished away.”

Unlike many of contemporary sci-fi books that explore dystopic themes, this one actually deals with a utopian society. The utopia is built on technologically-generated abundance, with rules and laws that are to be followed, ones which though they would never work in today’s society, they are effective in the book’s society, existing in the year 2454. Another interesting aspect is that the protagonist, Canner, constantly breaks the fourth wall to talk to his audience, and serves as Palmer’s vessel to convey her philosophical and political ideas that pervade the novel. Too Like The Lightning is not afraid to ask interesting and complex questions, especially as it comes to society and relationships. Can society be engineered? And if it can, should it?

Pick up a copy of Too Like the Lightning on Amazon.

Authors similar to Palmer are Jo Walton (Among Others), Robert Charles Wilson (Spin), and Kim Stanley Robinson (Mars Trilogy). Also, it appears that Ada Palmer is not one to dilly-dally, as the second installment in the franchise, Seven Surrenders, is scheduled for release in December this year.

Image: Tor

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1 Response

  1. Phil

    Is breaking the fourth wall in this novel jarring or is the book comfortably immersive? I rather enjoyed the whole of The Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy and it’s use of continual wall breaking…as well as it’s over all mirth and prodding of societies more serious aspects by way of mockery.

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