The City We Became


There is a threat to New York of ‘Lovecraftian’ proportions, waged on New York by parallel universe apparitions. I thought I’d try the 2020 BSFA winner, a disappointment to me as there was more fantasy and less science fiction, apart from patchy references to multi-verse theory. Jesmin moves away from the ‘other world’ settings of her previous award-winning novels to an Earthbound location. New York is where five avatars representing the major Burroughs of New York defend their city against an ‘other-universe’ threat that feeds on cities that are about to transform to a higher level of consciousness.


The five characters are pitched in the same direction to find a primary avatar unconscious somewhere in the city. Finding and joining him is their only hope of defeating an adversary that destroys whole worlds. Jesmin’s new novel, as always, is filled with witty prose, but it wasn’t enough to engage me. In the end, I skimmed through the story, so it would be unfair to rate it. Readers looking for insightful fantasy with a strong social commentary bent will rate this highly. Science fiction fans may do better to read Jesmin’s earlier work.