fighting the lack of good ideas

alif the unseen by g willow wilson

Along with Mira Grant (Feed & Deadline reviews), I think I have found a female author I can read.

G Willow Wilson’s debut novel, Alif the Unseen blends technothriller (a la Cryptonomicon), Arab mythology, statism, distrust of the government, and more.

The story follows a young mixed-blood technophyte who has been making his living on providing digital secrecy to whomever wants it. Along with myriad others only referred to by their handles – Radio Sheikh, The Hand, NewQuarter01, and more – Alif is not his real name. And like all good stories, there’s a girl. Well… 2 girls. And kind of a third.

Shortly after the story begins, The Hand begins to tighten his grip on on Alif’s activities, and Alif starts his run from The State.

I want to say more, but that would be the whole story – Wilson’s writing is engaging, exotic, prescient, and believable: even the intermixture of Arab myth with current (though not entirely time-dependent) technology is fascinating.

Written during the first stages of the “Arab Spring”, and still sounding as if it could be happening today, I cannot recommend Alif the Unseen highly enough.