Too Like the Lightning

Ada Palmer '01

Too Like the Lightning by Ada Palmer ’01 imagines the world in 2424 in the cadences of Enlightenment figures such as Diderot and Voltaire. In this putative utopia, the world is divided into hives that pursue different forms of government (monarchy, parliamentary democracy, corporate state). Narrated by Mycroft Canner, a criminal sentenced to live in service to others, the richly told story describes a society where religion is banned, surveillance universal, and gender-neutral language the norm. Along the way, Mycroft is tasked with hiding a child whose ability to bring inanimate objects to life threatens to destabilize society. 

The first installment of Palmer’s Terra Ignota trilogy, Too Like the Lightning has won a number of accolades: the John W. Campbell Award (for best new science fiction writer), a Compton Crook Award (for the best first English language novel in the field of Science Fiction, Fantasy, or Horror), and a shortlisted candidate in the 2017 Hugo Award (Best Novel category). 

The second book in the trilogy, Seven Surrenders, was published in March 2017; the third—The Will to Battle—was published in December 2017.

Too Like the Lightning by Ada Palmer '01