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SFF Author: Malka Older

Malka Older is a writer, aid worker, and PhD candidate. Named Senior Fellow for Technology and Risk at the Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs for 2015, she has more than a decade of experience in humanitarian aid and development, ranging from field level experience as a Head of Office in Darfur to supporting global programs and agency-wide strategy as a disaster risk reduction technical specialist. She has responded to complex emergencies and natural disasters in Sri Lanka, Uganda, Darfur, Indonesia, Japan, and Mali, in the last three as Team Leader. Her doctoral work on the sociology of organizations at the Institut d’Études Politques de Paris (Sciences Po) explores the dynamics of multi-level governance and disaster response using the cases of Hurricane Katrina and the Japan tsunami of 2011. She has an undergraduate degree in literature from Harvard and a Masters in international relations and economics from the School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) Johns Hopkins University.
Click here for more stories by Malka Older.



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Infomocracy: Terrifyingly prescient

Infomocracy by Malka Older

In the latter half of the twentieth century, most of the world (a few areas like Saudi Arabia excepted) has moved to a form of government called micro-democracy. The world is divided into “centenals” of about 100,000 people each, and each centenal votes for its own separate government. The political party that wins control of the most centenals wins the Supermajority, which gives that party additional political clout and power, although the specific details of that Supermajority power aren’t entirely clear. There are dozens, if not more, political parties,


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Null States: Great SF in the old-fashioned way, as technology pushes social change

Null States by Malka Older 

Null States (2017) is the sequel to Malka Older’s prescient Infomocracy and the second book in THE CENTENAL series. In Older’s universe, micro-democracies, governments with tracts of 100,000 people each, have taken hold over most of the globe. The mini-governments or centenals are designed so that minorities can participate in a democratic government. Governments are not bound by geographic borders; in this way people who hold a minority view in their physical home-town can join a like-minded government and be represented.


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State Tectonics: A surprising and triumphant ending

State Tectonics by Malka Older

State Tectonics (2018) is the third book in Malka Older’s CENTENAL CYCLE trilogy. The series is a Hugo finalist in the Best Series category. It did not end the way I expected it to!

(This review may contain spoilers for the previous books.)

At the end of Null States, the second book, the handful of main characters had uncovered a plot, not just against the micro-democracies,


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The Mimicking of Known Successes: A great Holmesian adventure on Jupiter

The Mimicking of Known Successes by Malka Older

Malka Older’s 2023 novella, The Mimicking of Known Successes, gives us a Sherlock-Holmes-like mystery-adventure set on Jupiter. The extraterrestrial locale is more than merely a setting; it’s part of the plot of this charming SF mystery romp.

When humans finally rendered Earth uninhabitable, they moved to other planets in the solar system; at least to Jupiter, which is called Giant. The surface of Giant is also uninhabitable, but engineered bands encircle the planet at the point where atmosphere and gravity allow for human life (with obvious adjustments).


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The Imposition of Unnecessary Obstacles: Come for the mystery, stay for the great characters

Reposting to include Bill’s new review.

The Imposition of Unnecessary Obstacles by Malka Older

On Jupiter, known as Giant, Mossa, an Investigator, and Pleiti, scholar and instructor, are on a new case, involving the disappearance of a student. As Mossa explores, she finds not one, but seventeen university students, faculty and staff have gone missing. What the two sleuths will uncover in 2024’s The Imposition of Unnecessary Obstacles, by Malka Older, will destabilize Pleiti’s already-shaky faith in the university system,


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A People’s Future of the United States: Speculative Fiction from 25 Extraordinary Writers

A People’s Future of the United States: Speculative Fiction from 25 Extraordinary Writers edited by Victor LaValle & John Joseph Adams

In reaction to the Donald Trump’s election as president of the United States as well as to the rhetoric spewed by his far-right supporters such as Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and Laura Ingraham, Victor LaValle & John Joseph Adams wrote to a diverse set of speculative fiction authors with this charge: “We are seeking stories that explore new forms of freedom, love, and justice: narratives that release us from the chokehold of the history and mythology of the past… and writing that gives us new futures to believe in.”

The “mythology” they refer to is the history we learned in school which taught us about all the great white men who accomplished all the significant events in American history.


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Next SFF Author: Chad Oliver
Previous SFF Author: Daniel José Older

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