Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “What We See In The Smoke” as Want to Read:
What We See In The Smoke
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

What We See In The Smoke

4.29  ·  Rating details ·  24 ratings  ·  9 reviews
The world we know is coming to an end. How will we connect in the strange and frightening one that’s coming to take its place?

What We See in the Smoke twists the genres of realism and science fiction to tell the future history of Toronto, a story that stretches from this millennium to the next. The novel leaps across the boundaries of time and space, as present and future
Paperback, 272 pages
Published May 30th 2019 by Crowsnest Books
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about What We See In The Smoke, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about What We See In The Smoke

Community Reviews

Showing 1-39
Average rating 4.29  · 
Rating details
 ·  24 ratings  ·  9 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of What We See In The Smoke
Kriti | Armed with A Book
We have many questions about the future, such as whether artificial intelligence will take over, if we will be able to teleport one day, whether there will be enough jobs in the future, and whether another nuclear war will destroy our planet. Ben Berman Ghan imagines a world where these scenarios have come true.

What we see in the smoke is a collection of short stories set in 2016-3036. Most are based on Toronto, Canada, while some follow the stories of people who originated from there. Each sto
I begin this review with a disclaimer: the author is my partner and I have much more knowledge about the characters, plot, and the author’s intentions than the casual reader would, although I try to be as objective as possible with what I am about to say below.

“What We See in the Smoke” probably won’t be a book for everyone, mostly because the first section of the “novel” is not what one might expect. It is not as explicitly sci-fi as the second and third sections are, and it is from “The Words”
Pamela Scott

copy from @crowsnestbooks via #NetGalley and voluntarily reviewed

Judging from the blurb, I was expecting a run-of-the-mill dystopian science fiction novel. I got something else altogether. This is not a traditional novel but a series of different yet oddly connected short stories. The stories are really linked by themes and ideas. I don’t read a lot of science fiction and this is an example of the kind of stuff I enjoy the most. Each story is a bit of a my
Amanda Perry
Jun 05, 2019 rated it liked it
I quite enjoyed this but I would not call this a quick read. It took some time to get into and to keep up with the various characters and their stories. I loved how each character had a sci-fi twist too it and EVERY SINGLE ONE was an unreliable narrator. It made the book way more interesting and kept me along for more. The only reason this did not get 5 stars for me was the pacing of the book, like I said it took a bit to get into for the first half but the second half made up for it in regards ...more
Jun 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
A pretty unique approach -- a series of inter-connected but stand-alone stories that form a story that spans 1000 years. Kudos to the author for the execution of a creative idea. For expecting sci-fi, that doesn't kick-in until a few chapters in so be patient. Recommended for something different.

I really appreciate the complimentary copy for review!!
Alexandra Prochshenko
May 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
Very nice work!

Most stories feel like puzzles that only gets to be solved closer to the end. I loved how postmodern this short story collection is: all characters are tired neurotics, living their ordinary lives in a pre/post-apocalyptic setting, and every single one is an unreliable narrator.

The author shows quite a diverse Toronto and puts its citizens into classical sci-fi narratives: multiple universes, androids, clones, dream catchers, etc. The first part displays the close future, which m
The book is an ambitious and beautifully wrought collection of interlinked short stories. I enjoyed all of them, and even the few I found rather humdrum were by no means terrible.

The writing is clear, concise, but often lyrical. The tone was bleak throughout, which can be tiring in a short story collection, but I didn’t find it so in this volume as the stories were interconnected.

The characters were well-defined in each story – I understood their motivations and struggles. I enjoyed the non-bi
Missy Byer
Nov 07, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: owned
So, as you can tell, this book took me forever. And not for any particular reason - it was well-written, the characters were interesting, the world made sense. I just couldn't get into it. I think part of my problem was that every single story was so freakin dark. Every character was miserable and the future of the world was so bleak. And I'm kinda living that reality right now - take a look around, everyone - so I don't need that in my fiction. It's also kind of not a true representation of how ...more
Jun 20, 2019 rated it liked it
This is the first review I have ever left without finishing the book, and I am only doing so because I am not sure I will make it all the way through. I have tried, and tried hard to get into this one, but I find it so disjointed and awkward that it’s a struggle to finish a section.
The stories are shallow, underdeveloped, and lacking cohesion. Maybe it all comes together later, and if so, I apologize for my comments, but I’m not seeing it. At 50% of the way in, you should be able to tell if the
rated it it was amazing
Jul 01, 2019
Sam Reeves
rated it it was amazing
Dec 16, 2019
Michael Kilman
rated it really liked it
Dec 21, 2019
Xander Greenway
rated it it was amazing
Feb 26, 2020
rated it it was amazing
Aug 09, 2019
Diana Blumfeld
rated it it was amazing
Jan 29, 2020
Dalia Janmyr
rated it it was amazing
Sep 08, 2019
rated it really liked it
May 08, 2019
Rebbeca Tammer
rated it it was amazing
Dec 16, 2019
Danian Jerry
rated it did not like it
Jul 17, 2020
rated it really liked it
Nov 09, 2019
Terri Fagels
rated it it was amazing
Jul 17, 2020
rated it it was amazing
Nov 10, 2019
rated it it was amazing
Jun 05, 2019
Matt Cook
rated it it was amazing
Apr 17, 2019
Austin Long
marked it as to-read
Apr 02, 2019
marked it as to-read
Apr 03, 2019
marked it as to-read
Apr 05, 2019
Lynda Galloway
marked it as to-read
Apr 05, 2019
Joe Howell
marked it as to-read
May 04, 2019
marked it as to-read
May 08, 2019
Kevin Murphy
marked it as to-read
May 08, 2019
marked it as to-read
May 11, 2019
marked it as to-read
May 15, 2019
marked it as to-read
May 16, 2019
Charlotte Jones
marked it as to-read
May 17, 2019
Haily Stager
marked it as to-read
May 23, 2019
Aidan Prewett
marked it as to-read
May 25, 2019
marked it as to-read
Jun 24, 2019
marked it as to-read
Jun 29, 2019
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Warehouse
  • This Is How You Lose the Time War
  • Dahlia Black
  • Exhalation: Stories
  • Calico Joe
  • Stranger in a Strange Land
  • A Canticle for Leibowitz (St. Leibowitz, #1)
  • Ringworld (Ringworld, #1)
  • Childhood's End
  • The Martian Chronicles
  • The Red Word
  • The Imitation Game
  • Ascending (The Vardeshi Saga, #1)
  • Tell Me Lies
  • Heart of the City (Greene and Kennicott, #5)
  • Elle
  • Blockchain Revolution: How the Technology Behind Bitcoin Is Changing Money, Business, and the World
  • Shut Up You're Pretty
See similar books…
Ben Berman Ghan is a queer Jewish writer, editor, and scholar based as a settler in Tkaronto/Toronto, site of Treaty 13 and Williams Treaty territory, His non-fiction has been published in the likes of Empty Mirror Books, Augur Magazine, and Strange Horizons, his fiction in such venues as The Temz Review and The Sweet Tree Review, and his poetry in The UC Review, The Trinity Review, and the Cypres ...more

News & Interviews

Need another excuse to treat yourself to a new book this week? We've got you covered with the buzziest new releases of the day. To create our...
13 likes · 7 comments