Books I’m Excited About: ‘Hummingbird Salamander’

Sci-fi lovers, here’s a book you should be looking forward to! Out next month!

I wasn’t able to truly get into sci-fi writing until I stumbled across Jeff VanderMeer’s Southern Reach Trilogy sometime in 2014. Comprised of AnnihilationAuthority, and Acceptance, it tells of an ecological l wasteland known only as Area X and the scores of scientists and government entities tasked with studying (and containing) its secrets. It’s weird stuff, concerned with the ravages of climate change, re-birth and transformation; like nothing I’d encountered in science fiction before. I can’t recommend it enough. In fact, when I used to work on the sales floor it was my go-to whenever someone from the literary fiction aisles meandered over into sci-fi looking for something good to read. Boy, do I have something for you. I’ve been a VanderMeer acolyte ever since, discovering other strange sci-fi in the process, too—the likes of Octavia E. Butler, China Miéville, Samuel R. Delaney, and Philip K. Dick.

Hummingbird Salamander, however, appears to enter brand new territory! It’s a thriller! An internet friend of sorts likens it to “Ursuala K. Le Guin and John le Carré teamed up to write The Monkey Wrench Gang.” Translation: “Norm-breaking sci-fi writer + cerebral Cold War spy novelist collaborate to write environmental activist novel. How cool is that?


Here’s the full rundown from our pals at FSG x MCD:

Software manager Jane Smith receives an envelope containing a list of animals along with a key to a storage unit that holds a taxidermied hummingbird and salamander. The list is signed “Love, Silvina.” Jane does not know a Silvina, and she wants nothing to do with the taxidermied animals.

The hummingbird and the salamander are, it turns out, two of the most endangered species in the world. Silvina Vilcapampa, the woman who left the note, is a reputed ecoterrorist and the daughter of a recently deceased Argentine industrialist. By removing the hummingbird and the salamander from the storage unit, Jane has set in motion a series of events over which she has no control.

Instantly, Jane and her family are in danger, and she finds herself alone and on the run from both Silvina’s family and her ecoterrorist accomplices—along with the wildlife traffickers responsible for the strange taxidermy. She seems fated to follow in Silvina’s footsteps as she desperately seeks answers about why Silvina contacted her, why she is now at the center of this global conspiracy, and what exactly Silvina was planning. Time is running out—for her and possibly for the world.

Hummingbird Salamander is the Annihilation author Jeff VanderMeer at his brilliant, cinematic best, wrapping profound questions about climate change, identity, and the world we live in into a tightly plotted thriller full of unexpected twists and elaborate conspiracy.

You can pre-order Hummingbird Salamander (out April 6th, 2021) from BookPeople today and wig out on some internet conspiracy theories while you wait??

You can follow the #BooksImExcitedAbout tag on this blog to find more posts like this. And be sure to explore BookPeople’s “Books We’re Anticipating” lists for more of the titles booksellers can’t wait to get their hands on.

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