I wasn’t sure if I was up for explicitly pandemic-set speculative fiction, but I enjoyed Afterland. It immediately reminded me of Naomi Alderman’s The Power and Brian K. Vaughan/Pia Buerra’s Y: The Last Man (both of which Beukes has talked about in interviews) but Beukes is concerned with some different dimensions of a cataclysmic pandemic and gender/power reversals. The story falls broadly into a chase thriller genre; there were moments when I wanted Beukes to dig much deeper into how gender is created and presented—but perhaps that’s for a completely different book. I also have some quibbles with the ending, it feels like the hooks are there for a deep emotional conflict along multiple characters’ relationships, but it ultimately leaves a lot unexplored. Overall, though, a quick, engrossing read.