Nekropolis - Maureen F. McHugh A bleak romance set in a future in which, as in our present, the actuality is so much less than the imagining. McHugh is expert at capturing contemporary compromise and longing and recasting our continuing sense of isolation and loneliness into a world that the genre has led readers to believe can only be one of, if not institutionalized hope, only temporary incompetence. Her worlds are real because they capture humanity's weaknesses, and rather than gloss over these failures, they come to define a human experience that is less magical, but also perhaps more enduring: the struggle is permanent; those who struggle are not. It is harsh but not unsympathetic, and the reader leaves with a sense that the humanity, hard won in this future of dreams, is what centers us back to ourselves. Who else will hope if we do not now? Who will love if we, at this moment, refuse it? Rather than play a gotcha game that inverts the world we understand for an idealistic future, McHugh gives us only ourselves, and this familiarity laps at and erodes even the most distant imaginings until we come to understand the truth is in the reduction of all this movement to the base elements of human experience: hope, love, longing, and attempts to understand, however fleeting, more of who we are.