A tantalizing novel, replete with the kind of detail that recalls the world of Margaret Atwood’s Maddadam trilogy yet belongs to another territory entirely, thrillingly its own ... With Atwood you’re in a world that’s odd but recognizable, whereas with Lai, you’re in a world that’s completely strange – until it shocks you with a flash of the familiar ... The Tiger Flu – with its explorations of a new generation rising up to save a world veering off course – is in many ways the novel CanLit needs, written in exactly the mode that it requires ... embraces that sense of unfamiliarity in the voice of one of Canada’s brightest world builders.
Reimagines what science fiction can be when viewed through a female lens. The technology is biological, the settings are earthy, and the women are powerful leaders of cities, villages, societies, families, dancing schools, and more ... In building a uniquely female bio-cyberpunk thriller, Lai has exposed the biases inherent in traditional science fiction, and the ways in which women are generally excluded from it and undervalued within it. Using the tiger flu itself, she turns this trope on its head. By sidelining all male characters with illness, Lai allows the reader to form a sense of how female characters are generally marginalized in a male-dominated genre like science fiction. By interrogating this dynamic, Lai finds the intersections where femaleness and science fiction can come together to create something new and ultimately refreshing.
Lai’s book joins the ranks of dystopian novels such as Octavia Butler’s Parable of the Sower and Margaret Atwood’s Oryx and Crake, while also finding its voice through the dizzying wordplay characteristic of Lai’s poetry ... Lai repeatedly asks readers to consider whether someone who no longer has a body is still human. And, indeed, to wonder how we who are still in the flesh can trust that the upload has indeed taken place successfully ... Lai’s questions are not new ones for the speculative fiction genre, but her queer feminist approach offers new paths to exploring their answers. Unlike many more fully luddite dystopias, The Tiger Flu contrasts its blatant wariness for capitalist technology’s encroachment into our minds with a surprising empathy for those characters who employ cloning in order to survive ... The Tiger Flu’s exploration of transhumanism is terrifying, whimsical, and gripping.