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Anti-Apocalypse

Kristen Lawson

The sci-fi thriller The Tiger Flu (Arsenal Pulp Press) by Larissa Lai is set in British Columbia, though the names and places have changed: in 2145 CE (127 TAO, Time After Oil) Vancouver is called Saltwater City and Penticton is Pente-Hik-Ton. Technology is significantly advanced: there are devices that implant information into your brain and moon-sized mainframes orbiting the Earth; the Internet has been privatized, making free information inaccessible. Cloning technology is not only fully realized, it’s old news—female human clones have been bred and used for slave labour, and have revolted. When scientists clone the Caspian tiger to bring it back from extinction, it leads to an epidemic that threatens to wipe out humanity. Lai has called her novel anti-apocalyptic—borders have been redrawn based on the presence of the plague, violence reigns and people are desperate to survive, but ultimately life goes on. If the questions raised in this peek into our potential future aren’t enough of a reason to read The Tiger Flu, perhaps the protagonists are. Kora and Kirilow, two young women, are brought together in their quests to find their families and to survive the violence, poverty and uncertainty of the times. Lai lists authors such as J.R.R. Tolkien and Ursula K. LeGuin as her influences, adding that she wanted to update and revise the hero’s journey “through [her] own queer/feminist/Asian/West Coast/Rocky Mountain sensibilities.” Although the timeline is occasionally hard to follow, this is as much a thrilling read as it is a cautionary tale—fantasy lovers, pick this book up now!

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Kristen Lawson

Kristen Lawson writes digital content for businesses in Vancouver, including blogs, reviews, social media posts, and copy for websites. She studied Digital Marketing at RED Academy and New Media Journalism at Simon Fraser University.


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