Whether you get a kick out of Michel Faber’s deeply earnest and spiritual new novel, “The Book of Strange New Things,” might wholly depend on which side you’d come down in a bookish version of those pop-Christian bumper stickers: Know Jesus, know this novel/No Jesus, no this novel.
If you spent last weekend wandering anxiously through a dizzying maze of fake rooms filled with peculiar objects and doors to nowhere, you may have been at the Manor, the triple-skull-rated haunted house at Fright Fest, the annual Halloween extravaganza at Six Flags.
Or you might have been at Ikea.
In Gregory Sherl’s anxious, offbeat first novel, “The Future for Curious People,” scientists have figured out how to glimpse the future by processing sensory information and memory. Great, you say, get my bookie on the line! Not so fast. The FCC has stepped in to make sure people don’t “broadcast futures that would infringe on commerce,” so the only thing you’re allowed to see is how your relationships will look about 15 years down the road.
Early in William Giraldi’s fierce, extraordinary new novel, “Hold the Dark,” the nature writer Russell Core tracks a pack of wolves deep into the Alaskan tundra. The wolves, it seems, have been taking children from a nearby village, and Core, a wolf expert, has been summoned by the latest victim’s mother to “get her boy’s bones and maybe slaughter the wolf that took him.”
The witty title of Vikram Chandra’s soulful, erudite new book, “Geek Sublime: The Beauty of Code, the Code of Beauty,” appears to play with a couple of Western cultural touchstones. The ancient Greek Longinus’ “On the Sublime” gave us some of the earliest ideas about what makes great literature, and of course Keats’ most famous lines, if not his most wonderful, are: “Beauty is truth, truth beauty, — that is all/ Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.”