The first book I am going to talk about is Company Town by Madeline Ashby
About the Book: New Arcadia is a city-sized oil rig off the coast of the Canadian Maritimes, now owned by one very wealthy, powerful, byzantine family: Lynch Ltd.
Hwa is of the few people in her community (which constitutes the whole rig) to forgo bio-engineered enhancements. As such, she’s the last truly organic person left on the rig – making her doubly an outsider, as well as a neglected daughter and bodyguard extraordinaire. Still, her expertise in the arts of self-defence and her record as a fighter mean that her services are yet in high demand. When the youngest Lynch needs training and protection, the family turns to Hwa. But can even she protect against increasingly intense death threats seemingly coming from another timeline?
Meanwhile, a series of interconnected murders threatens the city’s stability and heightens the unease of a rig turning over. All signs point to a nearly invisible serial killer, but all of the murders seem to lead right back to Hwa’s front door. Company Town has never been the safest place to be – but now, the danger is personal.
About the Author: Madeline Ashby is a science fiction writer and strategic foresight consultant living in Toronto. She has been writing fiction since she was about thirteen years old. (Before that, she recited all her stories aloud, with funny voices and everything.) Her fiction has appeared in Nature, Tesseracts, Escape Pod, FLURB, the Shine Anthology, and elsewhere. Her non-fiction has appeared at BoingBoing.net, io9.com, Tor.com, Online Fandom, and WorldChanging. She is a member of the Cecil Street Irregulars, one of Toronto’s oldest genre writers’ workshops. She holds a M.A. in Interdisciplinary Studies (her thesis was on anime, fan culture, and cyborg theory) and a M.Des. in strategic foresight & innovation (her project was on the future of border security). Currently, she is represented by Monica Pacheco of Anne McDermid & Associates.
About the defense – Tamara Taylor: Born in Toronto to an African-Canadian father and a Scottish-Canadian mother, Tamara Taylor dropped out of high school to pursue modelling, which soon led to acting. Her big break came when she landed a regular role on Party of Five. Her most notable role is that of Dr. Camille Saroyan, head of the forensic division on the TV crime drama Bones. Recently, Taylor was also the voice of Wonder Woman in the Justice League: Gods and Monsters film.
Why Tamara thinks Company Town is the book Canadians need now: Canada is the ultimate melting pot. Canadian women are mixed, multi-ethnic, smart, strong, scrappy and funny, and it is rare that we get to see reflections of ourselves in literature. Madeline Ashby, my new girl-crush, clearly decided that it was time to change that in the most prophetically imaginative way. Set on an oil rig in the future, our half-breed heroine takes us on a hunt for a serial killer and her self-worth, both of which will affect the fate of her town.
My initial thoughts: I am a hardcore fan of everything Tor does, so Company Town has actually been on my radar for a while. I actually currently have it from the local library, and I waited over a month to get it. I had no idea that it was written by a Canadian, though, and I am very excited to read more science fiction/fantasy by local authors. This is probably the book from Canada Reads that I am most excited to read.