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3.0 

Womb City

By Tlotlo Tsamaase
Womb City by Tlotlo Tsamaase digital book - Fable

Publisher Description

"A fearless novel that probes ideas of surveillance, misogyny and class. . . . Tsamaase brilliantly tackles ideas of motherhood and autonomy." —New York Times Book Review

This genre-bending Afrofuturist horror novel blends The Handmaid’s Tale and The School for Good Mothers with Get Out in an adrenaline-packed, cyberpunk body-hopping ghost story exploring motherhood, memory, and a woman’s right to her own body.

Goodreads Readers’ Most Anticipated Books | New Scientist Most Anticipated Books | LitHub Most Anticipated SFF Book of 2024 | Los Angeles Times 10 Books to Add to Your TBR | BookRiot Most Anticipated Book of the Month | Reactor Most Anticipated Book of the Month

“This propulsive and brilliant page-turner is a searing indictment of the world in which we live, and I’m so glad it exists. Move aside Philip K. Dick and George Orwell—Tsamaase is the new visionary of our time.” —Marisa Crane, author of I Keep My Exoskeletons to Myself

Nelah seems to have it all: fame, wealth, and a long-awaited daughter growing in a government lab. But, trapped in a loveless marriage to a policeman who uses a microchip to monitor her every move, Nelah’s perfect life is precarious. After a drug-fueled evening culminates in an eerie car accident, Nelah commits a desperate crime and buries the body, daring to hope that she can keep one last secret.

The truth claws its way into Nelah’s life from the grave. 

As the ghost of her victim viciously hunts down the people Nelah holds dear, she is thrust into a race against the clock: in order to save any of her remaining loved ones, Nelah must unravel the political conspiracy her victim was on the verge of exposing—or risk losing everyone. 

Set in a cruel futuristic surveillance state where bodies are a government-issued resource, this harrowing story is a twisty, nail-biting commentary on power, monstrosity, and bodily autonomy. In sickeningly evocative prose, Womb City interrogates how patriarchy pits women against each other as unwitting collaborators in their own oppression. In this devastatingly timely debut novel, acclaimed short fiction writer Tlotlo Tsamaase brings a searing intelligence and Botswana’s cultural sensibility to the question: just how far must a woman go to bring the whole system crashing down?
 
“A fierce, furious, and fearless debut that has its finger on the pulse—no, the gushing wound—of our world's most invasive cruelties.” —Daniel Kraus, New York Times bestselling co-author of The Shape of Water

“Masterful . . . Tsamaase has created a disturbing techno dystopia in a future Botswana that terrifies with its echoes of our own increasingly authoritarian cyber-policed world. This beautifully written work haunts and upends expectations with its resurrected ghosts and gods and ancestors of Motswana cosmology. What an accomplished debut!” —T. L. Huchu, Caine Prize finalist and author of The Library of the Dead


“This Afrofuturist novel’s twisty plot has a lot to say about inequality — and complicity.” —Los Angeles Times

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4 Reviews

3.0
“Promising, super complicated and interesting book! At points it felt a little too chaotic but in all the author set out with a good idea, and then xe pulled it off great.”
“rated: 2 stars dnf'd at 31% this was not for me. i requested it because the premise reminded me a lot of altered carbon, but this book was remaining solely focused on nelah and not really expanding the story into any sort of narrative arc. there are so many sci-fi elements and themes at play here that the story didn't feel like it was focusing, which made it hard to connect. i also didn't think that nelah's interpersonal relationships were well developed either - i simply didn't care enough about her marriage to care about the stakes of her having an affair. i did want to like this book, and there is definitely an element of personal dislike here, but i also think that the worldbuilding and the narrative have issues that made me just not want to pick this book up. Thanks to the publisher via NetGalley for an advanced reader copy of this book.”
“This book is best described as The Handmaid's Tale set in a dark sci-fi dystopia. It follows Nelah as she tries to past her trials to prove she is a worthy citizen. She is one the implanted ones, her husband can see days through her eyes, her thoughts are accessible to the authorities, she is watched because she has the potential to be a criminal. She must prove herself in order to exist in society and have a child. Things go wrong when her trials did not go as planned. Things spiral out of control and she is left in a circumstance where her very existence is on the line. This book is riveting, and thoughtful. The plot moves at a steady pace, and you feel Nelah's pain and disassociation throughout the book. You see themes of power, corruption, sexism and greed throughout the book. I like that even though the story is futuristic, it still maintains ties to the African cultural myths.”
““In our city, everyone lives forever. But murder hangs in the air like mist.” Thank you to NetGalley for my advanced reader copy in exchange for my honest review. Womb City is a mind bending portrayal of extreme government surveillance and an absence of bodily autonomy for women. What happens when a woman is pushed to her limits while desperately trying to control her thoughts to save herself and her unborn child? In a world where even passively thinking about committing a crime can get you incarcerated, how does someone get away with murder? Sensitive readers should be aware of the triggering content including but not limited to: incarceration, body horror, drug/alcohol use, sexual assault, emotional abuse. There were some grammatical errors but they were easily forgotten because the writing is so immersive. Readers who enjoy genre bending, horror, and sci-fi will enjoy this book very much!”

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