Wild Country by Anne Bishop science fiction and fantasy book and audiobook reviewsWild Country by Anne Bishop science fiction and fantasy book and audiobook reviewsWild Country by Anne Bishop

Wild Country (2019) is the seventh book in Anne Bishop’s series THE OTHERS and, also, the second book in her THE WORLD OF THE OTHERS series.

In Bishop’s fictional universe, the world is made up of humans — who, near as I can tell, are mostly descended from white Europeans — and the “terra indigene,” also called The Others, monstrous creatures with the outward appearance of human beings and who are, apparently, the indigenous peoples of the American continents, Africa, etc. There are shapeshifters who can shift from, say, an eagle or wolf into a human body, and Sanguinati, a cabal of blood-suckers who specialize in legal and financial matters. (It was at these realizations that I decided this was not the book or series for me, and in checking around online, it seems that I’m not the only person to have found these allusions troubling.)

The Others resent humans for their attempts to colonize Thaisia, the America-analogue, and a series of brutal massacres have been committed by each side, resulting in humans living in subservience to the Others. The Others are portrayed either as childlike innocents, with no understanding of etiquette or behavior, or as all-powerful and bloodthirsty killers. Human characters, some of whom have supernatural abilities involving intuition or manipulation of luck, are interchangeable and tend to fall on the dull side.

World-building is unsatisfying and confusing. Place-names like Chicago, Africa, and the Atlantic Ocean are spelled as “Shikago,” “Afrikah,” and “Atlantik Ocean” for reasons that go unexplained. Cars, mobile phones, and e-mail exist in this world, but the characters act and speak as though they’re stuck in a parody of an old-timey Western movie, operating general stores and saloons while lawnmen and outlaws vie for dominance. Characters rely on trains to get them to frontier outposts and a few ghost-town settlements where Humans and Others live in uneasy peace and uphold some really, really outdated ideas about gender roles.

I can’t speak to Bishop’s intent in creating this world under these specific circumstances, but I also can’t ignore the similarities between the way her non-human characters act or are viewed by human characters and condescending “colonist/pioneer narratives” written about European encounters with First Nations people and Native Americans, nor am I comfortable with the similarities between the Sanguinati and various anti-Semitic conspiracy theories.

It was all too easy for me to put Wild Country down and find something else to read, and I won’t be returning to it or to THE WORLD OF THE OTHERS.

Published in March 2019. In this powerful and exciting fantasy set in the world of the New York Times bestselling Others series, humans and the shape-shifting Others will see whether they can live side by side…without destroying one another. There are ghost towns in the world—places where the humans were annihilated in retaliation for the slaughter of the shape-shifting Others. One of those places is Bennett, a town at the northern end of the Elder Hills—a town surrounded by the wild country. Now efforts are being made to resettle Bennett as a community where humans and Others live and work together. A young female police officer has been hired as the deputy to a Wolfgard sheriff. A deadly type of Other wants to run a human-style saloon. And a couple with four foster children—one of whom is a blood prophet—hope to find acceptance. But as they reopen the stores and the professional offices and start to make lives for themselves, the town of Bennett attracts the attention of other humans looking for profit. And the arrival of the outlaw Blackstone Clan will either unite Others and humans…or bury them all.

(fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews) SFF, fantasy literature, science fiction, horror, YA, and comic book and audiobook reviews science fiction, fantasy, horror, and comic book reviews

Set in the world of The Others:

Lake Silence (World of the Others, The) Mass Market Paperback – January 29, 2019 Wild Country (World of the Others, The) Hardcover – March 5, 2019



  • Jana Nyman

    JANA NYMAN, with us since January 2015, is a freelance copy-editor who has lived all over the United States, but now makes her home in Colorado with her dog and a Wookiee. Jana was exposed to science fiction and fantasy at an early age, watching Star Wars and Star Trek movie marathons with her family and reading works by Robert Heinlein and Ray Bradbury WAY before she was old enough to understand them; thus began a lifelong fascination with what it means to be human. Jana enjoys reading all kinds of books, but her particular favorites are fairy- and folktales (old and new), fantasy involving dragons or other mythological beasties, contemporary science fiction, and superhero fiction. Some of her favorite authors are James Tiptree, Jr., Madeleine L'Engle, Ann Leckie, N.K. Jemisin, and Seanan McGuire.

    View all posts