The City in the Middle of the Night, by Charlie Jane Anders
One’s reach should exceed one’s grasp so on that basis this is a good book. The setting is January, a tidally locked planet with one hemisphere permanently facing its sun and the other facing out to space, so, boiling and freezing, with human settlers only able to live in the thin, permanent strip of twilight between. Civilisation has peaked since their arrival and is now slowly declining again. Society is delightfully gonzo, riddled with rituals that are ultimately designed to control the populace but have become unchallenged custom, and strange features like having different kinds of currency for different things. The native life forms are convincingly alien, able to relate conceptually to humans but with not a lot of cross-over of actual ideas. So far so decently sfnal.
But it falls down through the sheer tedious wilful unlikeablity of the characters, all of whom need a good slapping, and the way that even though we gather time and again that they are living on restricted and dwindling sources, the most tedious and unlikeable character of all has absolutely no problem getting hold of simply fabulous posh frocks.
So, a worthy fail.