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All the Birds in the Sky

by Charlie Jane Anders

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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2,2281415,335 (3.63)165
When Patricia Delfine was six years old, a wounded bird led her deep into the forest to the Parliament of Birds, where she met the Great Tree and was asked a question that would determine the course of her life. When Laurence Armstead was in grade school, he cobbled together a wristwatch-sized device that could send its wearer two seconds into the future. When Patricia and Laurence first met in high school, they didn't understand one another at all. But as time went on, they kept bumping into one another's lives. Now they're both grown up, and the planet is falling apart around them. Laurence is an engineering genius who's working with a group that aims to avert catastrophic breakdown through technological intervention into the changing global climate. Patricia is a graduate of Eltisley Maze, the hidden academy for the world's magically gifted, and works with a small band of other magicians to secretly repair the world's every-growing ailments. Neither Laurence nor Patricia can keep pace with the speed at which things fall apart. But something bigger than either of them, something begun deep in their childhoods, is determined to bring them together. And will.… (more)
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    hairball: All the Birds in the Sky made me think about Postsingular and Hylozoic for some reason--maybe it's the Bay Area thing, but it's also something about the attitude.
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» See also 165 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 141 (next | show all)
This book reminds me of those books Id stay up all night finishing as a kid, but appropriately aged. And I kind of did do that, for the first time in a while, cuz everything else I read is kind of sleepy paced. Anyway this reminded me of the early covid days when no one knew what was coming next and what was gonna happen, and once me and my crew went down to sixth street to see it was all boarded up and a homeless guy drew a picture of us. The magic vs tech debate was treated with nuance too, this book made me super happy thank you ( )
  jooniper | Sep 10, 2021 |
Patricia Delfine and Laurence Armstead were close friends in childhood, but a series of incidents in high school led them to part ways. For Patricia, the development of magical powers was not expected, but it opened a whole new realm of possibilities. And Laurence's tinkering led to a breakthrough--if you consider a time machine a breakthrough, and you probably should consider a time machine a breakthrough--that was similarly unanticipated. So when the two cross paths again years later, it should be no surprise that Patricia has graduated from a magical academy and is putting her powers to use to protect the world from catastrophe while Laurence is working with a group of genius engineers to develop similarly world-altering technology. Of course, it should also be no surprise that there are forces at play that neither of them expected that they will need to confront together if they are to avert the biggest catastrophe of them all...

I hesitate to praise this as "wildly original" (as I have seen elsewhere) because this is by far not the first time we have seen magical realism and it certainly not the last time we will ever see it. But there is something about the way the writer has developed the characters that certainly made me feel like I was being plunged into a world that is fresh and new. It's an engaging and entertaining story, which I think many will find difficult to put down. There's a hint of fantasy, a hint of science fiction, a dash of dystopia, and even a bit of real science all wrapped up here with a tattered bow. ( )
  crtsjffrsn | Aug 27, 2021 |
This fusion of magic and science didn't really work for me. Some of the characters' motivations aren't well explained, like what is the deal with Mr. Rose, really? The end sort of just fizzled out, and I found the last chapters to be a slog, which is the opposite of what a great book feels like, where you just don't want the story to end yet. Probably not going to recommend this book to anyone I know. ( )
  Enno23 | Aug 15, 2021 |
Very thoughtful and inventive. Childhood and middle school traumas were a bit hard for me to read. I was relieved when our two protags became adults. Satisfying ending.

The not so far in the future San Francisco was fun to visit even as it endured some destruction. There were a few quips that made me laugh so hard I was out of the narrative. By superhuman exertion I am not repeating any of them here. I think this is a first novel sort of cleverness but I laughed and can't complain.

I also found a friend's name in the acknowledgements. She reports that she was the consultant on teens and high schools. So cool. ( )
  Je9 | Aug 10, 2021 |
science fiction/fantasy (magic superscience doomsday love). ( )
  reader1009 | Jul 3, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 141 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Anders, Charlie Janeprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bresnahan, AlyssaNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hayden, Patrick NielsenEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Staehle, WillCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Staehle, WilliamCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Weinberg, MiriamEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Zeitz, SophieTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
In the game of life and evolution there are three players at the table: human beings, nature, and machines. I am firmly on the side of nature. But nature, I suspect, is on the side of machines. -George Dyson, Darwin Among the Machines
Dedication
To Annalee
First words
When Patricia was six years old, she found a wounded bird.
Quotations
"You never learned the secret,” said Roberta. “How to be a crazy motherfucker and get away with it. Everybody else does it. What, you didn’t think they were all sane, did you? Not a one of them. They’re all crazier than you and me put together. They just know how to fake it. You could too, but you’ve chosen to torture all of us instead. That’s the definition of evil right there: not faking it like everybody else. Because all of us crazy fuckers can’t stand it when someone else lets their crazy show. It’s like bugs under the skin. We have to destroy you. It’s nothing personal."
You know … no matter what you do, people are going to expect you to be someone you’re not. But if you’re clever and lucky and work your butt off, then you get to be surrounded by people who expect you to be the person you wish you were.
nature doesn’t ‘find ways’ to do anything. Nature has no opinion, no agenda. Nature provides a playing field, a not particularly level one, on which we compete with all creatures great and small. It’s more that nature’s playing field is full of traps.
Boredom is the mind’s scar tissue.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Wikipedia in English (1)

When Patricia Delfine was six years old, a wounded bird led her deep into the forest to the Parliament of Birds, where she met the Great Tree and was asked a question that would determine the course of her life. When Laurence Armstead was in grade school, he cobbled together a wristwatch-sized device that could send its wearer two seconds into the future. When Patricia and Laurence first met in high school, they didn't understand one another at all. But as time went on, they kept bumping into one another's lives. Now they're both grown up, and the planet is falling apart around them. Laurence is an engineering genius who's working with a group that aims to avert catastrophic breakdown through technological intervention into the changing global climate. Patricia is a graduate of Eltisley Maze, the hidden academy for the world's magically gifted, and works with a small band of other magicians to secretly repair the world's every-growing ailments. Neither Laurence nor Patricia can keep pace with the speed at which things fall apart. But something bigger than either of them, something begun deep in their childhoods, is determined to bring them together. And will.

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Book description
Haiku summary
Patricia's a witch,
Laurence is a scientist.
The world is ending.
(rretzler)

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