Episode 7: The City in the Middle of the Night by Charlie Jane Anders Show Notes


Download Episode 7

In This Episode

The Book Evangelists discuss The City in the Middle of the Night by Charlie Jane Anders as part of reading and listening to the 5-star SF/FF audiobooks and books that we have recommended to each other recently. Lissa has been talking up this book constantly for six months and claims it is a climate change tidally-locked planet #hopepunk found family snuggling book.

Morning Chatter

We did all of our chattering before we started the podcast so let us tell you directly here in the Show Notes that school has started for our various children and that Lissa appreciates SO MUCH that Marian is just a little bit ahead on all of the parenting challenges and can share her wisdom and experience.

The City in the Middle of the Night by Charlie Jane Anders

The City in the Middle of the Night by Charlie Jane Anders at Goodreads

“If you control our sleep, then you can own our dreams… And from there, it’s easy to control our entire lives.” 

Set on a planet that has fully definitive, never-changing zones of day and night, with ensuing extreme climates of endless, frigid darkness and blinding, relentless light, humankind has somehow continued apace — though the perils outside the built cities are rife with danger as much as the streets below.

But in a world where time means only what the ruling government proclaims, and the levels of light available are artificially imposed to great consequence, lost souls and disappeared bodies are shadow-bound and savage, and as common as grains of sand. And one such pariah, sacrificed to the night, but borne up by time and a mysterious bond with an enigmatic beast, will rise to take on the entire planet–before it can crumble beneath the weight of human existence.

description from the publisher

This blog post is spoiler-free. On the podcast, we discuss The City in the Middle of the Night by Charlie Jane Anders in detail and our discussion in the podcast is filled with minor and major spoilers, so please read the book before you listen if you are into that kind of experience. We’ll be here for you when you finish!

This is the quote Lissa used to celebrate her new job title “Community Connections Librarian”


“I need to learn to belong to other people the way everyone else seems to, with one hand in the wind.” – from The City in the Middle of the Night by Charlie Jane Anders

“Every community has a need that is cannot meet in itself. The more they say they do not need us, the harder we must try to become what they need most.” – from The City in the Middle of the Night by Charlie Jane Anders

“A big thing in the Citizens was, we were all responsible for each other … Sometimes that meant that anybody who wasn’t us could eat shit. But we tried to be generous, and the interdependence was part of the teachings.” – from The City in the Middle of the Night by Charlie Jane Anders

“You might mistake understanding for forgiveness, but if you did, then the unforgiven wrong would catch you off guard, like a cramp, just as you reached for generosity.” – from The City in the Middle of the Night by Charlie Jane Anders

“I like that the quotes that you read — they’re all conflictual — this is not a book where you can rally around one particular quote. One particular quote is not going to be enough for us to rally around. We’re going to have to re-examine our thinking over and over and over.” – Lissa

Here’s the succinct wording Lissa couldn’t remember during the quotes discussion: “Nothing About Us Without Us!” is a slogan used to communicate the idea that no policy should be decided by any representative without the full and direct participation of members of the groups affected by that policy.

Characters and Places


How does the world-building work? How are these places described?

  • January 
  • Xiophante
  • Argelo
  • The City in the Middle of the Night


Which characters do we like? Who scares us? Who is our favorite character? Who are we shipping together? Who do we worry about? Who surprised us?

  • Sophie
  • Mouth 
  • Bianca
  • Alyssa
  • Hernan
  • Barney
  • Crocodiles/Gelet
Oh, Bianca….we could talk about her all day.

Science Fiction as Self-Help

This is a good self-help book for learning more about: Friendships, Love, Betrayal, Boundaries, Trust, and people using each other for good or using each other for bad. This book illustrates all of those things really, truly.

“People don’t hurt each other enough in traditional romance novels to have the level of depth that this book has.” – Lissa’s endorsement for why reading The City in the Middle of the Night is better, post-divorce, than reading her typical stack of escapist romance novels

This was Lissa’s favorite quote on her first read-through. Because this is a self-help book about boundaries.

Subscribing to Their Newsletters

As all good readers know, when you really like the author’s book, sometimes you might check out their website, their twitter, their podcast, their agent…..because those are all source of additional book news and recommendations!

Lissa’s subscribed to DongWon Song‘s newsletter Publishing is Hard (and loves it!)

Lissa starting listening to Charlie Jane Anders podcast Our Opinions are Correct at least 10 days before it won the Hugo for Best Fancast and Marian had it queued up. #earlyadopters

Coming Up

In this episode, we also referenced A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Engle and Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel and The Death of the Moth by Annie Dillard.

Next episode: Marian is preparing to possibly write a cozy mystery. So, for next time, we will read an Agatha Christie novel, specifically Murder on the Orient Express and discuss what we can get from this book that will help Marian write a better novel in November.

Our Show Notes include mentions and recommendations, all linked for your convenience. What else would you like to see here? 

Music Credit: The music used during transitions in our podcast is adapted from: Jazzy Sax, Guitar, and Organ at the club by Admiral Bob (c) copyright 2018 Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (3.0) license. http://dig.ccmixter.org/files/admiralbob77/58382 Ft: geoffpeters

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