All the Birds in the Sky

Charlie Jane Anders
All the Birds in the Sky Cover

All the Birds in the Sky


This is a hard novel for me to describe. It is whimsical and serious, it is science fiction and also fantasy, it is a novel of ideas and a sort of love story. I got the impression that it was written for the pink haired millenials as much as for the free thinking oldsters that are not tied down by belief in a certain approach to life's problems.

It is the story of two disenfranchised kids, the outcasts with no friends and whose own parents don't know how to deal with. The girl Patricia, is a witch, with no training and no power at her control, the boy Laurence, never Larry, is a scientific nerd that has created his own two second time machine from scratch. This not being enough to deal with, they also have an assassin after them who wants to destroy them because of a vision he had of them destroying the world in the future. Their school days made mine look like Sunnybrook Farm, and mine sucked.

Then the story fast forwards to them in their early to mid twenties. By now Patricia has had training and is a quite powerful witch working with nature, healing people and of course getting in trouble with her peers. Laurence is a scientific marvel and it working on solving the problem of humankind destroying itself prematurely. The Assassin makes a brief return, only to be turned into a wooden medallion.

The world is in dire straits, what with war and ecological disaster looming. Laurence and his group are trying to build a wormhole to allow mankind, or at least a portion of it to escape to a new world, while the witches have their own agenda and view of mankind's future. Needless to say they are not compatible. So now, not only is the world teading on the brink of warfare and collapse, these two factions in their blind faith of having the only true answer are also warring it out.

There is a inevitable clash and all hell breaks loose, then there is a denouement that is both kind of unbelievable, yet also foreshadowed.

There were parts of this novel I liked, and others that were hard to swallow, it was just not something I usually read. It did win this years Nebula Award, which is why I read it.