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Cover image for The city in the middle of the night
The city in the middle of the night

First edition.
New York : Tor, 2019.
Physical Description:
366 pages ; 25 cm
General Note:
"A Tom Doherty Associates book."
"If you control our sleep, then you can own our dreams ... And from there, it's easy to control our entire lives." The bestselling author of All the Birds in the Sky returns with a strange, haunting, and deeply human tale. Sophie serves coffee at an underground cafe. She stays in the shadows and listens to the troubles of the parlor guests, but does not draw attention to herself for one simple reason: Sophie is supposed to be dead. When a nationalistic revolution forces Sophie from her safe haven, she must make a dangerous journey to a new city, one that revels in hedonism and chaos. After joining up with a band of smugglers, she finds herself on a long and treacherous path that will lead her far closer to the truth of her entire world--and to the dangers that lurk even in the light of day"-- Provided by publisher.


Call Number
SF Anders, C. City
Anders, C.
SCI-FI Anders, C.

On Order



* The Verge' s Science Fiction and Fantasy Book We're Looking Forward to in 2019
* AV Club 's 15 Most Anticipated Books of 2019
* Book Riot 's Most Anticipated Books of 2019
* Kirkus ' 30 Speculative Fiction Books You Should Read in February 2019
* Bookish 's Winter's Must-Read Sci-fi & Fantasy
* Bookbub 's Best Science Fiction Books Coming Out in 2019
* YA Books Central 's Buzzworthy Books of 2019

"This generation's Le Guin." --Andrew Sean Greer, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Less

Charlie Jane Anders, the nationally bestselling author of All the Birds in the Sky delivers a brilliant new novel set in a hauntingly strange future with #10 LA Times bestseller The City in the Middle of the Night.

"If you control our sleep, then you can own our dreams... And from there, it's easy to control our entire lives."

January is a dying planet--divided between a permanently frozen darkness on one side, and blazing endless sunshine on the other. Humanity clings to life, spread across two archaic cities built in the sliver of habitable dusk.

But life inside the cities is just as dangerous as the uninhabitable wastelands outside.

Sophie, a student and reluctant revolutionary, is supposed to be dead after being exiled into the night. Saved only by forming an unusual bond with the enigmatic beasts who roam the ice, Sophie vows to stay hidden from the world, hoping she can heal.

But fate has other plans--and Sophie's ensuing odyssey and the ragtag family she finds will change the entire world.

Author Notes

CHARLIE JANE ANDERS is the former editor-in-chief of io9.com, the extraordinarily popular Gawker Media site devoted to science fiction and fantasy. Her SF and fantasy debut novel, All the Birds in the Sky , won the 2017 Nebula Awards for Best Novel and was a finalist for the 2017 Hugo Award's Best Novel category. Her Tor.com story "Six Months, Three Days" won the 2013 Hugo Award. She has also had fiction published by McSweeney's , Lightspeed , and ZYZZYVA . Her journalism has appeared in Salon , the Wall Street Journal , Mother Jones , and many other outlets.

Reviews 5

School Library Journal Review

This sci-fi adventure is filled with hope and compassion despite overwhelming darkness. In the distant future, humans have abandoned Earth to colonize January, a tidally locked world where half the planet is in constant darkness while the other half is always in sunlight. Sophie is exiled to the frozen, shadowy side after taking the fall for a crime committed by her friend Bianca. The story alternates between the perspectives of these two young queer protagonists. Through incredible world-building and storytelling, this book immerses readers in its strange setting. Teens will empathize with the inhabitants, both human and other. Although the narrative is slow to begin, the ending will leave readers wanting more-hopefully a sequel is in the works. VERDICT Mesmerizing. For fans of Frank Herbert's Dune and Leigh Bardugo's Six of Crows.-Melanie Leivers, Palm Beach Country -Library System, FL © Copyright 2019. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Publisher's Weekly Review

Nebula Award winner Anders (All the Birds in the Sky) sets this riveting genre-bender on a tumultuous planet split into frigid darkness and searing sunlight. On the lighter side, in the rigidly controlled city of Xiosphant, shy student Sophie adores her friend, the outspoken Bianca. After Sophie takes the fall for Bianca's petty theft, she's left to die in the frozen wasteland, but she establishes a psychic bond with the creature that saves her. This connection gives her heartbreaking insight into the world of a sentient race Sophie dubs the Gelet, who have been hunted relentlessly by humans. Sophie later reunites with Bianca, now a violent revolutionary, and they fall in with a group of smugglers, including the fierce Mouth, who seeks an artifact linking her to her nomadic ancestors. After an outbreak of violence, they flee Xiosphant, and Sophie is shocked to learn that Bianca wants to use the Gelet, labeling them "animals." Anders's worldbuilding is intricate, embracing much of what makes a grand adventure: smugglers, revolutionaries, pirates, camaraderie, personal sacrifice, wondrous discovery, and the struggle to find light in the darkness. This breathlessly exciting and thought-provoking tale will capture readers' imaginations. Agent: Russell Galen, Scovil Galen Ghosh Literary. (Feb.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Kirkus Review

After environmental sci-fi/fantasy (the award-winning All the Birds in the Sky, 2016) and pop-culture dystopia (Rock Manning Goes for Broke, 2018), Anders shifts gears for this sweeping work of anthropological/social sf.In the distant future, the descendants of a colony spaceship have settled precariously on the hostile planet of January, swarming with vicious predators and dangerous weather patterns. One side of the planet continually faces the sun, while the other faces the frozen dark of space. Humans have built two main cities on the light side: the rigidly rules- and caste-bound Xiosphant, where guards wait to seize you for the slightest infraction, and the more licentious Argelo, run by various warring gangs. In Xiosphant, shy, working-class student Sophie idolizes her upper-crust roommate, Bianca, who loves parties and seeking power. But Bianca's flirtation with revolution drives Sophie first into the brutal hands of the police, and then into the saving pincers and tentacles of January's nightside-living, sentient native species, dismissed by the colonists as brute beasts. But these creatures, whom Sophie dubs the "Gelet," develop a psychic bond with her, and their willingness to share understanding and friendship changes her forever. One person the new Sophie slowly manages to influence is Mouth, a smuggler and survivor of an otherwise extinct nomadic band, who's desperately seeking both a connection to her lost past and a reason to forge a future. But ultimately, Sophie can't exert a similar influence over Bianca; despite Bianca's claims of caring for her, she chooses to exploit Sophie's vulnerabilities instead of granting her the understanding and acceptance Sophie craves. In our world, Bianca would represent the worst kind of faux "woke" liberal. She's an angry woman who thinks she's making a difference, but she doesn't really want to help people or even listen to them; she just wants to be the one in charge and profit from it. Watching Sophie come into her own and gradually (and almost too late) realize that the Bianca she loves doesn't exist is inevitable, sad, and, eventually, empowering.Anders contains multitudes; it's always a fascinating and worthwhile surprise to see what she comes up with next. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Booklist Review

*Starred Review* Night and day are places, not changes occasioned by the rotation of the planet; the only two human settlements are treacherously far apart; and life is harsh, bound by incineration and impossible cold. Mouth is an outsider in the city of Xiosphant, part of a traveling band of trader-smugglers, the Resourceful Couriers, and the only survivor of the nomadic Citizens. In Xiosphant, time and sleep are tightly regulated. Sophie, who has made it into the university and has always had trouble sleeping during the shuttered times, becomes part of a group of student revolutionaries. Caught, sentenced to be executed, and forced to climb Old Mother Mountain, Sophie encounters a deadly, tentacled indigenous life-form that saves her from bone-shattering cold and, communicating through thought transference, befriends her. Violence, politics, betrayal, love, friendship, encounters with alien predators, and experiences in a dying city entwine to create a conflicted world in an even stronger novel than Anders' Nebula Award-winning All the Birds in the Sky (2016); a tale that can stand beside such enduring works as Ursula K. Le Guin's The Left Hand of Darkness (1969), Frank Herbert's Dune (1965), and Dan Simmons' Hyperion (1989).--Diana Tixier Herald Copyright 2018 Booklist

Library Journal Review

The planet of January was colonized long ago, but now it is dying. Half is frozen and dark, half is caught in eternal blazing light. The strict autonomy of Xiosphant, one of two surviving cities along with Argelo, causes some of the younger generation to bristle. Influenced by her crush on the vivacious Bianca, Sophie is drawn into revolutionary ideas, then forced to leave town for something Bianca did. Being exiled is usually a death sentence, but Sophie meets one of the creatures native to the planet called "crocodiles," who shows her strength and intelligence no other human has encountered. Trying to stay hidden, Sophie is drawn into a journey with a group of outsiders, including the trader Mouth. As Sophie and Mouth try to reconcile the pasts with the present, they are forced to face how their world has been changed by the arrival of humans and what must happen for both to survive. ­VERDICT Anders (All the Birds in the Sky) weaves an intricate tale of colonialism and evolution on both physical and social levels. The harsh world and well-developed characters combine with stunning storytelling that will capture readers' minds and hearts.-Kristi Chadwick, Massachusetts Lib. Syst., Northampton © Copyright 2019. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.