Weekend Rec: Bannerless by Carrie Vaughn


Cover detail from Bannerless by Carrie Vaughn.

The weekend is almost here!

Like many of you, I try to use the weekend to catch up on reading. Therefore, every Friday morning, I will feature a new paperback or ebook that is newly available — released during the week — for your reading enjoyment. A book I feel everyone should read.

For today, I chose Bannerless by Carrie Vaughn.

Why should you read this book? Several different reasons. I’ve had the pleasure of editing several of Vaughn’s short stories and she is a phenomenal writer, one who defies the conventions of what fantasy and science fiction can be while writing beautiful prose and creating characters that the reader absolutely cares about. Then take what Bannerless is about: a dystopian look at a possible future, with all of its scary possibilities. It echoes previous work by Atwood and Bradbury while being its own story.

I’m not the only one who loves Vaughn’s work. Publishers Weekly reviewed Bannerless: “Vaughn skillfully portrays a vastly altered future America that’s almost unrecognizable decades after its total collapse; the … focus on sustainability and responsibility is unusual, thought-provoking, and very welcome.”

Here is more about Bannerless by Carrie Vaughn:


A mysterious murder in a dystopian future leads a novice investigator to question what she’s learned about the foundation of her population-controlled society.

Decades after economic and environmental collapse destroys much of civilization in the United States, the Coast Road region isn’t just surviving but thriving by some accounts, building something new on the ruins of what came before. A culture of population control has developed in which people, organized into households, must earn the children they bear by proving they can take care of them and are awarded symbolic banners to demonstrate this privilege. In the meantime, birth control is mandatory.

Enid of Haven is an Investigator, called on to mediate disputes and examine transgressions against the community. She’s young for the job and hasn’t yet handled a serious case. Now, though, a suspicious death requires her attention. The victim was an outcast, but might someone have taken dislike a step further and murdered him?

In a world defined by the disasters that happened a century before, the past is always present. But this investigation may reveal the cracks in Enid’s world and make her question what she really stands for.

Bannerless by Carrie Vaughn does what great dystopian and post-apocalyptic novels should — make us question and thought-provoke current events in the hopes of avoiding future disaster.

A new recommendation next Friday!