Lunch Date: All the Birds in the Sky

(Once in a while, I take a new book with me to lunch and give it a half an hour or so to grab my attention. Lunch Date is my judgment on that speed-dating experience.)

Who’s your date today? All the Birds in the Sky, the bestselling novel written by i09 editor-in-chief Charlie Jane Anders.

Where’d you go? The Sunlight Café in Roosevelt.

What’d you eat? I had the large portion of the blueberry yogurt hotcakes ($9.50).

How was the food? I’m a big fan of the Sunlight Café. They’re a vegetarian joint — they claim to be the longest-running vegetarian restaurant in Seattle — and they always put together a great breakfast, even if you’re eating breakfast for lunch. The hotcakes were large and moist and sweet and filling; they were about everything you'd want in a pancake platter. The only bad thing about my meal? I noticed a note on my table that says the Sunlight Café is going to be moving due to development in the area. This is sad news: Roosevelt is getting a light rail station, so development is naturally going to happen, but I hope the Sunlight Café can be a part of that expansion. It’s such a neighborhood institution, and such a reliably good restaurant, that it would be a shame for Roosevelt to lose its neighbor of forty years.

What does your date say about itself? From the publisher’s promotional copy:

Childhood friends Patricia Delfine and Laurence Armstead didn't expect to see each other again, after parting ways under mysterious circumstances during middle school. After all, the development of magical powers and the invention of a two-second time machine could hardly fail to alarm one's peers and families.

But now they're both adults, living in the hipster mecca San Francisco, and the planet is falling apart around them. Laurence is an engineering genius who's working with a group that aims to avert catastrophic breakdown through technological intervention. Patricia is a graduate of Eltisley Maze, the hidden academy for the world's magically gifted, and works with a small band of other magicians to secretly repair the world's every-growing ailments. Little do they realize that something bigger than either of them, something begun years ago in their youth, is determined to bring them together--to either save the world, or plunge it into a new dark ages.

A deeply magical, darkly funny examination of life, love, and the apocalypse.

Is there a representative quote? “He looked at the cover of the paperback, which had a painting of a lumpy spaceship and a naked woman with eyes for breasts. He didn’t start to cry or anything, but he kind of wanted to. The paperback cover said: ‘THEY WENT TO ENDS OF THE UNIVERSE — TO STOP A GALACTIC DISASTER!’”

Will you two end up in bed together? Yes! I’ve always been fascinated by the imaginary wall between fantasy and science fiction, how books are either entirely one or entirely the other. What Anders is doing is stuffing the protagonist of a fantasy novel — an intriguing young woman who can talk to birds — and the protagonist of a sci-fi novel — a young man with a watch that allows him to travel a matter of seconds into the future — into the same book, to see what happens. It’s such a simple premise, but it really grabbed my attention. In addition to the three enormous pancakes that were bigger than my face, I plowed through sixty pages of this book, so I imagine I'll be racing to the finish in no time.