Goliath is one of those books which come together all of a sudden. While reading, there was so much in Onyebuchi’s world that took a minute to grasp. It’s a book I’d read when you’re in the mood to sit and simmer with the words. To sink into them and reflect on what you’re reading. Keep reading for my full thoughts.
In the 2050s, Earth has begun to empty. Those with the means and the privilege have departed the great cities of the United States for the more comfortable confines of space colonies. Those left behind salvage what they can from the collapsing infrastructure. As they eke out an existence, their neighborhoods are being cannibalized. Brick by brick, their houses are sent to the colonies, what was once a home now a quaint reminder for the colonists of the world that they wrecked.
A primal biblical epic flung into the future, Goliath weaves together disparate narratives—a space-dweller looking at New Haven, Connecticut as a chance to reconnect with his spiraling lover; a group of laborers attempting to renew the promises of Earth’s crumbling cities; a journalist attempting to capture the violence of the streets; a marshal trying to solve a kidnapping—into a richly urgent mosaic about race, class, gentrification, and who is allowed to be the hero of any history.
(Disclaimer: I received this book from Netgalley. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)
Goliath is a story about survival. It’s about the lives we carve out of spaces where everything has been taken, everything is against us, and where no one begins to look. There are layers of privilege, pvoerty, racism, structural inequality all tied up in this epic SF world. At various points I clicked more or less with these character’s lives, but I was constantly in awe of Onyebuchi’s world. This setting of the future.
Goliath isn’t a high action story in the sense that some SF is where everything is propelled by action. Instead it’s driven by these character’s lives, by their stories and the ways their lives unfold. It’s about their lives unfurling before us and revealing pieces we may not have known. There’s so much to process in every sentence as you see various stages of survival. There’s so much that Onyebuchi comments upon like race relations in the future, inequality and inequity in these future landscapes, and more.
It’s a sweeping expanse of themes that make you question what you wondered about in our future and what you might not have ever questioned. Goliath questions how we move on from the future, what we leave behind, and who. In the future, who’s lives do we uproot and do we value. There’s so much to unpack in Goliath and I haven’t even begun to scratch the surface. If you’re interested in introspective and thought provoking SF, Goliath is a must read.