- Paperback: 384 pages
- Publisher: Angry Robot (July 19, 2011)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9780857662163
- ISBN-13: 978-0857662163
- ASIN: 0857662163
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1 x 8.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars See all reviews (133 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #857,599 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Zoo City Paperback – July 19, 2011
|New from||Used from|
The Valley (The Valley Trilogy)
50% off the new debut from the bestselling author of War Brides Learn More
A Publisher's Weekly Best of 2011 Sci Fi & Fantasy Pick!
"Beukes's energetic noir phantasmagoria, the winner of this year's Arthur C. Clarke Award, crackles with original ideas." --Jeff VanderMeer, New York Times Book Review
"Beukes (Moxyland) delivers a thrill ride that gleefully merges narrative styles and tropes, almost single-handedly pulling the "urban fantasy" subgenre back towards its groundbreaking roots." - Publisher's Weekly, starred review
"Zoo City is a fabulous outing from an extremely promising writer... [it] has so much fabulous wordplay, imaginative settings and scenarios, and such a dark and cynical heart that I was totally riveted by it." - Cory Doctorow, BoingBoing
“In Zoo City we have an unfamiliar land full of familiars, a broken Johannesburg
of the near future peopled with damaged wonders. Proving her debut novel was no fluke, she writes better than I wish I could on my best day. If our words are bullets, Lauren Beukes is a marksman in a world of drunken machine-gunners, firing her ideas and images into us with a sly and deadly accuracy, wasting nothing, never missing. I’ll follow her career as long as she’s willing to write and I’m able to read.” - Bill Willingham, creator of Fables
“Zoo City is a story of mysteries unfolding, and it is a story well told. But it’s the world around the story, and the words that guide us through, that make it something more than simply marvellous. With her subtle, intimate descriptions of the roads we walk in this crazy city; with characters so deeply twisty you could lose a giant squid in their nebulous hidey holes, and with turns of phrase that are as likely to conjure up Rudyard Kipling, Brenda Fassie or Credo Mutwa as they are to invoke Japanese anime, Doctor Who or the crack in Johnny Cash’s voice as he sings of his greatest loss, this canny authoress has brought real magic to everyday life in Jozi, in what I’m afraid I really am going to end off by describing as an act of unadulterated literature.” - Matthew du Plessis, Times Live
"This book is a must read for lovers of South African fiction and urban fantasy alike. It is edgy and pacey and like a rollercoaster ride, it sweeps you up, spins you around, turns you upside down and dumps you out on the other end, heady and breathless and yearning for more." - Exclus1ves
"Lauren Beukes is an awfully smart writer. In Zoo City her characters ooze attitude, their dialogue is snappy, and her vivid imagery is both original and arresting. What’s more, with an inspired blend of pop-culture savvy and fantasy (just enough, not too much), her depiction of Johannesburg, magical charms and all, feels eerily real... In fact, it feels as incomplete as real life. It’s gritty, it’s tangled and it’s flawed; nothing is polished, nothing perfect. That’s what makes Zoo City so disturbingly, hauntingly, uncompromisingly brilliant." - Jonno Cohen, MiniMonologues
"At times the witty and lyrical prose is sheer magic, the story captivating and the characters exotic, cruel and beautiful while the backdrop of Johannesburg seeths with hidden, lurking dangers around every corner, Zoo City is quite simply captivating." - SciFi & Fantasy Books
"Returning with her second release from Angry Robot, Lauren Beukes stuns with a richly textured venture into a pseudo-fantastical Johannesburg of the future where criminals are magically partnered with animals, and unscrupulous record producers run amok." --SciFiNow
"We all know there is a fine line between genius and madness. So it is with Zoo City ... a story that is remarkable for both its inventiveness and the sharpness of its writing."
- Jason Baki, Kamvision
"A contrast of fragility and extreme imaginative strength, Beukes’s books are going places. She’d better ready herself for one helluva wild ride." - Mandy De Waal, The Daily Maverick
"Beukes has written a book about something deeply important, but she’s willing to stand back and let us figure it out for ourselves." - www.pornokitsch.com
"If you don’t read Zoo City, you’re missing out on one of the best modern books in and outside the fantasy genre." -www.TheRantingDragon.com
"Beukes’s future city is as spiky, distinctive and material a place as any cyberpunkopolis, and quit a bit fresher. The narrative is brisk and well turned, but the great achievement here is tonal: atmospheric, smart and memorable work." -www.locusmag.com
"Ms. Beukes' amazing novel takes the genre to exciting new places, is beautifully written and is a bloody good story." -www.pornokitsch.com, on winning the Red Tentacle Award
"From grimy slums to gang warfare to supernatural horrors, Zoo City is a book of hard edges and nasty surprises. It's also livened up by stabs of sharp, black humour, and the action is unrelenting." - Warpcore SF
"Lauren Beukes brings to Zoo City the observant, cynical eye for the intersection of media, business, and pop culture that animated her debut, Moxyland, and pairs it with a funny, colloquial, and casually poetic first-person narrator and thriller pacing to take urban fantasy to the next level." -www.ideomancer.com
"Zoo City is pure originality ... a book that had me reading it revelling in Beukes' magical way with words." - SF Signal
"Go and read Zoo City and Moxyland by Lauren Beukes – someone took cyberpunk from the toy box, dusted it up and spanked it to shape for the new millennium." -Janos Honkonen, Vornasblogi
"The novel’s greatest triumph is undoubtedly its richly evocative world, at once hostile and compelling, deadly and seductive. It sucks you in and plants your feet firmly on its grimy city pavements, and despite the danger that awaits you around every corner, you can’t help but run to get there, to find the next macabre treasure." -Vianne Venter, Something Wicked
"Beukes does the thing that everyone is always saying writers need to do: Show, don’t tell."
-Brain vs. Book
From the Paperback edition.
About the Author
LAUREN BEUKES is a writer, TV scriptwriter and recovering journalist. For the sake of a story, she’s jumped out of planes and into shark-infested waters and hung out with teen vampires, township vigilantes, and AIDS activists among other interesting folk. When she’s not tutoring her baby daughter in practical ways to take over the world, she also writes books, short stories, magazine articles and TV scripts.
From the Paperback edition.
Top Customer Reviews
The story centers around Zinzi December, a young woman living in Johannesburg, South Africa. Her life isn't going so great, having once had a job as a journalist, she is now writing scam emails to pay back a large debt. Things change when she is approached by a music producer who wants to hire her to find a missing recording artist. You see, Zinzi has a special gift: she can find lost things. Not people, she insists, but she cannot turn down the job, which can essentially pay enough to cover her debt and beyond.
Zinzi can find lost things because that's her ability she manifested when she became Animalled. In the world Beukes has created, something called the Zoo Plague emerged, causing anyone who commits criminal acts (we don't know the extent of the requirements) is bonded to an animal for life. This situation is coined Acquired Aposymbiotic Familiarism and no one really know why or how it works. We are shown very little, mostly through separate pieces of information such as web pages or magazine/newspaper articles.
Zinzi was burdened with a Sloth (and that's what she calls it). One of the fascinating aspects of this novel is realizing and imagining what kind of an effect this sort of thing could have on society. Zinzi murdered her brother and she will forever be seen as an Animalled. Society has shunned these people, creating a whole new social class beneath everything else. Some have even used this to gain fame.Read more ›
Stuff it does right: the world is very well-presented, particularly in it's use of magic, which is never heavy handed. This is basically low-level stuff but it's blended seamlessly into the world, no small trick with such an oddball idea -- this is a world full of people running around with animals, for Pete's sake. Yet you end up buying it, more or less, by the end. Beukes' South African setting may have helped here, as the environmental disparities (a shaman in a Dolce and Gabbino vest who keeps his gross magic elixir in an empty two liter Coke bottle, for instance) come across as charming, somehow fitting. This is a ramshackle world generally, built together from flotsam -- you buy it. It's never over-explained, always a trap for fantasy writers but Beukes leaves a lot of what's going on unstated, which keeps the magic genuinely mysterious and powerful when it does appear. The explanations she does offer are done very cleverly, through other "electronic flotsam" -- a précis of a scientific paper, reviews of a documentary, a music article -- which helps set the world even more. Very clever, this.
I also liked the heroine. I confess to generally not liking female PI books: either the stories retain their edge but the women are laughable Mary Sue's/Wonder Women or the leads are believable but the story itself is a pile of mush.Read more ›
Zoo City is concerned with Zinzi December, a former convict who, like many others, must bear the
mark of her crime in the form of a semi-intelligent animal -- in her case, it's a sloth. But there's also the Undertow -- a mysterious force that some claim is Hell reaching out for the damned souls of aposymbiots like Zinzi. Aposymbiosis, however, isn't all bad. Every aposymbiot is gifted with an ability. Some can create protective charms while others can dampen magical fields. Zinzi can see the threads that connect people to their lost things. And that's how she survives: finding things for people for a modest fee. But when she takes on a job from a music producer to find a missing girl, things get sticky. Her employer isn't who he seems and the person she's trying to find might be running for a good reason. Toss in her debts to a shady organization of email scammers, her complicated relationship with her refugee lover, a murder, and the seedy underbelly of a Johannesburg trying to deal with its new "problem" and you have a complex story about South Africa, its people, and its culture.
Zoo City is immense in its complexity, despite having the allure of a typical genre romp.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
-The best thing about this book is the world building. It treats fantastical elements as being matter of fact and as a result the setting seems realistic and interesting. Read morePublished 5 days ago by Dr.Gonzo
I think this is a good book, but not necessarily my kind of book.
Zoo City is a dark and gritty part of a dystopian Johannesburg (which, the author notes later make... Read more
I believe this novel is a good choice for young adults looking for a different perspective on the world. Mistakes that people make and how society treats them. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
Throughout the Novel, there were many themes in the book that gave the reader a little taste of what life in Johannesburg is like. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
About 3/4 of the way in the tone changes. Up to this point the story has been a missing persons mystery with colorful prose describing the slums the character is moving through. Read morePublished 5 months ago by David Brown
Zinzi December is one of the “animalled,” those who have committed crimes and now must announce this to the world by carrying their burden in the form of an animal with them at all... Read morePublished 14 months ago by Heather E. Hejduk
This is super-gritty urban fantasy that is actually gritty and actually urban and actually fantastical. Grey ethics, crime, and adorable symbiotic animals, all in South Africa.Published 14 months ago by Amazon Customer
I always struggle with the first sentence of my reviews, so I’m just going to dive right in and tell you all about this stunningly magnificent book that surprised the hell out of... Read morePublished 15 months ago by Books4Tomorrow