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The City in the Middle of the Night

3.77  ·  Rating details ·  822 ratings  ·  241 reviews
"If you control our sleep, then you can own our dreams...And from there, it's easy to control our entire lives."

From the brilliant mind of Charlie Jane Anders ("A master absurdist"—New York Times; "Virtuoso"—NPR) comes a new novel of Kafkaesque futurism. Set on a planet that has fully definitive, never-changing zones of day and night, with ensuing extreme climates of endle
Hardcover, 400 pages
Published February 12th 2019 by Titan Books
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3.77  · 
Rating details
 ·  822 ratings  ·  241 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
I'm caught in gravity's tug. I'm stuck between two massive bodies forever tidally locked. ; ;

You know those books that have that certain something that could make them truly great but then they stumble because of the characters within them?

Yeah. This is one of those novels. I can see and appreciate where the author is trying to go here with the characters so full of themselves, their ideals, or their misunderstandings of one another. It fits so nicely with the greater misunderstandings between t
Feb 18, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019-read
3.5 stars

I was a huge fan of Anders' debut novel, All the Birds in the Sky, and so I was really excited to read her new book. The City in the Middle of the Night is absolutely and completely different in every way. I'll be honest, it did take me awhile to warm up to it, but by the end, I was pretty much sold.

I did for the most part enjoy Anders' writing, and I liked the general idea of the story. However, I found the first half a bit difficult to engage with. I had a bit of trouble with the inc
Mar 15, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not since 2018's Blackfish City by Sam J Miller has a novel captured my imagination and enveloped me in a complete shroud of the other worldly as The City in the Middle of the Night by Charlie Jane Anders by virtue of its intricate and epic world building.

Set many years into the future, mankind has taken to the stars in search of a new home. In January, they've found one, but the planet has a dark side; one which bathes half its surface in perpetual darkness while the other endures a never endi
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
Daniel Greene
This book manages to do everything well, without doing anything exceptional. It is like a solid dome. There are no real weak points, but nothing stands out to the reader. I do not regret reading it, but I am left wanting something more.

The most glaring weakness The City in the Middle of the Night suffers from is asking so many questions, without providing many satisfactory answers. The framing of a codependent relationship also became a bit... bothersome to deal with.

The strongest point of the
Holly (The Grimdragon)
"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
Elise (TheBookishActress)
release date: 12 February 2019

me when i was like 12 is shrieking. i love planetary dynamics let me live
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, tidally-locked 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 ...more
Feb 02, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Many centuries in the future a portion of humanity has colonized the tidally-locked planet of January. The colonists live on the thin band of the terminator in perpetual twilight between the searing day and the freezing night. But after centuries the climate is becoming unstable, the space between the two main human cities is becoming more hostile and the native intelligent alien species have their own agenda.

In Xiosphant, a time-regimented city of brutal oppression, Sophie's infatuation with he
Susan Kennedy
This one really took me some time to get through. I really wanted to like it and there were parts that I did enjoy. Overall, it was a bit of a struggle to get through.

The characters were okay. Sophie and Mouth were the better characters while the others were just okay. None of them really stuck with me. I found Bianca to be quite annoying. It was almost as if she had several personalities and it drove me a bit crazy. Other than that most of the characters I found to be forgettable.

The story was
Dec 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

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
DNF at 50% Perhaps I’ll try again another day as I understand the second half is better.
Feb 20, 2019 rated it liked it
Oh dear. The pace is slow, the prose lovely - I do like the way CJA writes - but I was never won over by the protagonists (or their terrible toxic relationships) and so it felt awfully long. There was so much along the way that intrigued me, except the characters, and this is more of a character study and coming of age than a save the world from political insanity and climate apocalypse story. So much world to explore, with a considered history of two races, but this is set in a time when most o ...more
Apr 02, 2018 marked it as to-read-so-bad-it-hurts  ·  review of another edition
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.'

Leah Rachel von Essen
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
Feb 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
Well I really loved this measured thoughtful look at how colonists have turned their world into a horrible dystopia

Full review
Dec 02, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Feb 14, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019
I'm incredibly conflicted on how to rate this book. It's 5 stars for the overall concepts and themes--it's incredible--but the characters? I didn't care for almost all of them and the dialogue/character stories were almost on the annoying side.

Find this review at Forever Lost in Literature!

It's been a hard time trying to collect my thoughts around this book. On the one hand, it's a really fascinating look at a new planet and what it means to be human and a majority female cast, but on th
Feb 23, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: eagerly-awaited, 2019
This is a dazzling example of overambitious reaching, a novel with a lot of potential that just couldn’t seem to commit to doing anything right. After slugging my way through this exhaustingly off-paced, agonizingly confusing sci-fi novel lets just say I’ve sworn off reading anything else Charlie Jane Anders writes.

For a little extra kick in the gut I had this shelved as “eagerly awaited”, but now I can’t believe how soon into 2019 I’ve found my most disappointing let down of the year.

City in
Jessica Woodbury
It takes longer than you'd expect to figure out what kind of book exactly you're reading when you read THE CITY IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT. It doesn't follow the rhythms and patterns you might expect, every so often the whole plot gets thrown on its head, and sometimes it seems that the only constant is the small group of characters at its center. But eventually, when the book is done, you can look back on it and see the tapestry it's been weaving all along the way. It's a story of friendship an ...more
Holy fuck monkeys, you guys. This book is AMAZING.

I am generally enthusiastic about books that I read; for the large part I don't pick things up if I don't think I'll like them. But this. Oh reader. I was a shivery mass of human when I finished this, excited and just so suffused with happiness.

It's not perfect. There are criticizable things, as with all books. But it left me so sated and yet wanting so very much more of this world and of Anders' wide, wise thinking. There are plenty of people o
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  ·  review of another edition
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
Dec 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Feb 28, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
Don't tell anyone, but I think that Charlie Jane Anders might be a little worried about climate change. All the Birds in the Sky was a book about her fear of what we might do if we fail to stop it; One group was willing to kill humanity to save the Earth, and the other was willing to destroy the Earth to save humanity. The City in the Middle of the Night is less specifically about climate change, but is about what humanity is willing to do to survive in a world with an incredibly hostile environ ...more
Feb 18, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I struggle with science-fiction. I think it has to do with the labor involved in wrapping my head around the world the author is creating. Unlike science-fiction movies, where we don't actually need to know the name of that doohicky in 2001: A Space Odyssey or the way the cryopods work in Aliens or the specific science behind Tatooine's three moons (or even why they're called Ghomrassen, Guermessa and Chenini), when we read science-fiction novels it's easy to get hung up in the minutiae. To effe ...more
Mar 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Things I love about this book:
- it's about a tidally locked planet: one half will burn you to a crisp and the other half will freeze you to death. Humans are trying to survive straddling that tiny part in between. The push and pull of those two halves are reflected in many ways, in the narrative, and in the characters and their relationships.
- Anders is so imaginative. I genuinely never knew what was going to happen next, because her ideas and tone are so fresh. The world-building is fun (and da
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Goodreads Librari...: Wrong edition type 3 14 Feb 16, 2019 03:48PM  
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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
“The only thing that makes life tolerable is that people forget most of the stupid things I say as soon as I finish saying them.” 0 likes
“Hernan always says that a perfect moment of beauty can last forever. But maybe some moments are so ugly that they never end, either. All you can do is be patient with yourself.” 0 likes
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