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The City in the Middle of the Night

3.86  ·  Rating details ·  146 ratings  ·  71 reviews
"If you control our sleep, then you can own our dreams... And from there, it's easy to control our entire lives."

Set on a planet that has fully definitive, never-changing zones of day and night, with ensuing extreme climates of endless, frigid darkness and blinding, relentless light, humankind has somehow continued apace -- though the perils outside the built cities are
Hardcover, 368 pages
Published February 12th 2019 by Tor Books
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3.86  · 
Rating details
 ·  146 ratings  ·  71 reviews

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Aug 06, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Charlie Jane Anders writes prose that is infused with imagination, compassion, heartache, and a deep exploration of what makes us human. The City in the Middle of the Night is a huge departure from her first novel, All the Birds in the Sky, in almost every way: tone, rhythm, subject matter, milieu; but what the two novels share is Anders’ transporting, invigorating confidence as a storyteller. Anders trusts her audience to follow her as she spins a tale that unfolds with precision, presenting wh ...more
Elise (TheBookishActress)
Nov 28, 2018 marked it as releases-2019
release date: 12 February 2019

me when i was like 12 is shrieking. i love planetary dynamics let me live
Holly (The Grimdragon)
Feb 05, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fantasy-sci-fi
"I close my eyes and imagine that when I open them again I will have outgrown all of my feelings. Sometimes I clasp my eyelids until I almost see sparks."

Well.. fuck.

I'm a quick reader, this book isn't that long to begin with.. yet it derailed some of my TBR plans because it was seemingly endless. It just felt like a fucking slog to get through at times!

Unfortunately, this feels like an incredibly ambitious story that just didn't come together fully. It wasn't given enough room to breathe. It's
Dec 08, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: science-fiction
I received an advanced reading copy of The City in the Middle of the Night through a Goodreads giveaway. I was excited by the premise, and looked forward to reading my first Charlie Jane Anders story. Unfortunately, I did not enjoy the experience.

I think The City in the Middle of the Night was aiming a little for a The Left Hand of Darkness feeling. Admittedly, I was primed for this comparison by a promotional quote on the back. However, I think the comparison of two anthropologically different
Wow. This book. All the stars. This is a science fiction novel steeped in the politics and prose of relationships. Humanity has arrived on a cold planet, January, with searing sun rays on one side and constructed societies of survival in different pockets on the dark side of the planet with different rules and regulations. Trade has suffered and many ethnic communities perished on the generation ship on the way to January; the remaining society's class structure is still based on the primacy of ...more
Dec 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing

Cities, Colonies, Past, Present
January 14, 2019

We dream of colonizing the stars. Or being colonized. Or simply contacting other sentient beings. We look up on a clear night and reject the ancient notion that we are all alone. We understand too much to accept that.

But some of us still insist on it and that insistence could constrain our ability to recognize realities.

Charlie Jane Anders has chosen to pursue that particular human blindness as the basis for the situation in her new novel, The City
This book was sent to me by the publishing house for an honest review.

This book was so intriguing and interesting! It reminded me of Brave New World, which is one book I adored. I couldn’t give this one more than 3 stars though, because I didn’t connect with any of the characters. However it was super easy to read and follow, and I believe if you love adult sci-fi you’ll love this one. Also it has two f/f relationships, but they aren’t explicit, which I thought was sad — we need this kind of rep
Feb 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
A bit messier than her first (the smash-bang amazing ALL THE BIRDS IN THE SKY) but in ways that pay great homage to Ursula K Le Guin while pushing hard SF ever further into the future. A tidally locked planet, humanity on the edge of a breakdown, strange creatures and stranger stories.... there’s a lot in here and even when the going gets tough, it’s still well worth the going. Andrew Sean Greer’s blurb on the front is right: CJA is our generation’s Le Guin.
Apr 02, 2018 marked it as to-read-so-bad-it-hurts
COVERRRR. The answer to when I will get tired of covers featuring cityscapes is never


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

Dec 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
COVER ART !!! ❤❤❤ love love the cover art on this book. The cover art also symbolizes the plot of the book.. Two cities and the people, partially in darkness and light, and the gray in between.

The story is told from alternating points of view: Sophie and Mouth. The setting is in the future on another planet. Have you ever had a friend that you loved more than anything? For whom you would sell your soul? That you love maybe more than as a friend? Meet Sophie, a young student living in a city tha
Leah Rachel von Essen
Jan 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The City in the Middle of the Night is the gorgeous new science fiction novel from Charlie Jane Anders. The novel, which is reminiscent of The Left Hand of Darkness, has exquisite world-building: on one side of the city lies night, dark and frigid, on the other side, day, bright and fiery. Humans have eked out an existence in these tough conditions, but it can be an oppressive one. In a city where even sleep is regulated, Sophie and Bianca have always been a rebellious pair; Mouth is the last su ...more
Dec 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sci-fi, giveaways
I really enjoyed the entwined paths of the two main characters. Anders brings you into the inner lives of her characters who feel like very real, imperfect people. The world and the cultures- human and not- that Anders has created in this book are very rich and distinctive. The structure of the book allowed a lot of discovery of these fascinating places while the story unfolded.
Missy (myweereads)
“We measure the freedom of human beings by their ability to go change with their environment.”

The City in the Middle of the Night is the new book from the Hugo and Nebula Award-winning Charlie Jane Anders. On a planet that has never-changing zones of day and night, time means only what the government proclaims, and lost souls and disappeared bodies are shadow-bound and savage. One such pariah, sacrificed to the night, forms a bond with an enigmatic beast, and will rise to take on the entire plan
This book easily stands with classic sci-fi like Ursula Le Guin’s The Left Hand of Darkness and Octavia Butler’s Xenogenesis series. I actually liked this book BETTER than The Left Hand of Darkness, because I felt like it has more of a plot and the characters are more compelling.

The City in the Middle of the Night follows two main characters, Sophie and Mouth, on a planet called January where half the planet is always immersed in sunlight and the other half is always immersed in darkness. This
Megan Bell
Oct 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018
I’m a huge fan of Charlie Jane Anders’ Nebula Award winning debut All the Birds in the Sky and was absolutely thrilled to get the chance to read her next novel! The City in the Middle of the Night opens thousands of years in the future. Humans now live in a narrow strip on a tidally-locked planet where half the world is in perpetual freezing darkness and the other half in searing sunlight. When shy student Sophie finds herself exiled into the fatally cold darkness, she survives by befriending on ...more
Liz (Quirky Cat)
Jan 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019-reads
I received a copy of The City in the Middle of the Night in exchange for a fair and honest review.

The City in the Middle of the Night is the newest novel from Charlie Jane Anders. It also happens to be the first novel I’ve read by her. I know, don’t beat me up. I loved it! And I’ve already added all of her previous works to my massive TBR pile, so we’re good.
I’m not ashamed to admit that the first thing that caught my attention about The City in the Middle of the Night was the cover. It’s ab
Jan 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019, bookcon-2019
(Follow @morganreadsalot on Instagram for more reviews)
Thanks to Tor for this free copy!

“ join with others to shape the future is the holiest act. This is hard work, and it never stops being hard, but this collective dreaming/designing is the only way we get to keep surviving, and this practice defines us as a community.”

Wow! What an adventure! You may remember how much I love Charlie Jane Anders’ All The Birds In The Sky, and how strongly I feel that it doesn’t get enough mainstream love o
Feb 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A beautiful, harrowing, and clear-sighted journey through the darkness. Anders at her best.

Full review:
Dec 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
I didn't really engage with the book fully until about the last 100 pages (fewer, actually) and now I'm left hoping for a sequel.

Also, humans are the worst.
Dec 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: giveaways
3.5/5 stars

I received this as an Advanced Reading Copy in a Goodreads Giveaway.

The City in the Middle of the Night is a uniquely creative science fiction novel set over a thousand years in the future on a planet newly inhabited by humans. This planet has a distinct line between day and night that never changes, creating one sliver of 'liveable' atmosphere and climate that does not freeze one to the surface nor boil ones blood alive. Thus, cities are born balanced between the night and the light,
Joe Jones
Jan 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
Bonkers in the best way possible and shows how science fiction should be written! This would make for a great book discussion title with so much to talk about. Loved it!
Jul 03, 2018 marked it as to-read
Come at me with the crazy storyline, book.
the 88th queen of mars
A friend snagged me an ARC of this book at NYCC this year. I haven't read Anders' first novel but I read her short story collection and I was really excited about this one. No big spoilers here!

What's super great about this novel is that it really transcends genre. It's sci-fi I guess, 'cus like, future Human history, new planet, weird tech...but it doesn't feel like sci-fi. Its got a kind of fairy tale vibe, everything balancing on big themes instead of big corps or big politics (even tho its g
Dec 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
The relationship at the core of the book felt a bit flat and static but the alien life the author created (and how it interacts with humanity) was brilliant, moving, and totally worth it.
S.E. Anderson
Feb 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I'm a massive Charlie Jane Anders fan, from the days where she was running I devoured her short fiction and fell in love with her spellbinding novel All the Birds in the Sky.
My expectations were set incredibly high, and yet she still blew them all away: I binge read the book in less than two days, and even after finishing the last page I'm still caught there, and can't get the story out of my head. Not that I want to: as I digest the book, I'm seeing more, understanding more, and loving
Feb 09, 2019 rated it liked it
An ARC was provided by the author in exchange for an open and honest review. Quotes are taken from an uncorrected ARC and may change upon publication.

“Bianca is the most unusual person I have ever met.”
Excerpt from The City in the Middle of the Night by Charlie Jane Anders

The land bakes, or freezes depending on where you are. Human ingenuity and creativity have completely stagnated. Once cutting edge technologies ten generations ago, have now begun to fail. Cities that are separated by almost pa
Feb 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I've mostly not read sci-fi, except for the occasional cross-over book like The Martian or The Sparrow which are most definitely written for a more mainstream audience. Even those are pretty few and far between. But with my new job, I have to sell a whole line of sci-fi, Tor Books, which luckily is one of the best in the business. And this year I gave myself a challenge: to read 3 Tor books. And I am done, and it's only June! (I know it's February; I hold my reviews until right before the books ...more
Anita Eti
Nov 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
Charlie Jane Anders can take two of the weirdest, non-meshing genres, put them together and somehow create an amazing book that makes a lot of sense.
This book is a mashup of science fiction, adventure, romance, steampunk and just plain strangeness (LiTEraLly they live on a planet that's half day-half night all the time, where monsters exist, and weird crocodile creatures apparently have can talk through like ? tentacle things?!!) Oh and if you happen to be on the side that's day all the time, y
Anthony Hayes
Jan 31, 2019 rated it liked it
This is a tough review to write. Let's start with the positive...

First, Anders is an extremely talented writer of prose. She is also fantastic at picking out and highlighting details that are charming and amusing while also informing a mood or setting. In addition, she has a first rate imagination and clearly excels at world building. This is certainly a fine story and a fascinating concept.

Where this fell down for me was in the characterization and the plot. It starts out great... but after a c
Furious Gazelle
Feb 11, 2019 rated it it was ok
Although Charlie Jane Anders’ new book, The City in the Middle of the Night, is full of cool ideas, nothing gels enough to make it a standout read.

Several generations after humans have colonized a new planet, some people struggle to hold onto what little culture remains, while others question what value old Earth customs have to them in this new inhospitable place.

The premise is engaging, but the book fell dizzyingly short of my expectations. There were many reviews praising the world building,
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I'm the author of All the Birds in the Sky, and the forthcoming The City in the Middle of the Night. Plus a short story collection called Six Months, Three Days, Five Others, and a novella called Rock Manning Goes For Broke.

I’m probably the only person to have become a fictional character in a Star Trek novel and in one of Armistead Maupin’s Tales of the City books.

I used to write for a site calle