Up Against It

Although billed as a virginal production by M. J. Locke, this "debut" novel really represents the stealth relaunch of a fine writer, Laura Mixon-Gould. A state-of-the-art solar system space opera finds the heroine struggling against an assortment of engineering troubles that bedevil the asteroid colony of Phoecea. A page-turning parable, one might say, for the crumbling infrastructure of our own era.

April 18: "[W]ould it be too bold to imagine that all warm-blooded animals have arisen from one living filament…?"

Donna Tartt's The Goldfinch is the winner of the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. James Parker calls this Dickensian coming-of-age novel "an enveloping…