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313 pages, Hardcover
First published January 26, 2016
Self-awareness paradoxically requires an awareness of the otherA magical savant, a super genius, the world on the brink of eco-apocalypse, possible ways out, or are the solutions as dangerous as the problem? and young love. What’s not to like? Laurence Amstead is your basic pre-ad tech genius, indulging in minor projects like inventing a two-second time machine you can wear on your wrist, and developing a chatty super-computer in his spare time. He is beset, of course, by the usual school bully sorts.
…things in our world are just the shadows of things in other places,” Laurence said, forming the thought as he spoke. “I mean, we always suspected that gravity was so weak in our world because most of it was in another dimension. But what else? Light? Time? Some of our emotions? I mean, the longer I live, the more I feel like the stuff I see and feel is like a tracing of the outline of the real stuff that’s beyond our perceptions.” “Like Plato’s cave,” Patricia said. “Like Plato’s cave,” Laurence agreed. “I don’t know,” Patricia said. “I mean, we’re grown-ups now. Allegedly. And we feel things less than we did when we were kids, because we’ve grown so much scar tissue, or our senses have dulled. I think it’s probably healthy. I mean, little kids don’t have to make decisions, unless something’s very wrong. Maybe you can’t make up your mind as easily, if you feel too much. You know?There is a lot of creativity on display here, particularly with the farther out tech elements and the softer-edged magical bits. This was probably a gimme given the author's previous main gig, as a founder of io9, a website about science fiction, science and futurism. It is only one of her many activities. (Anders left io9 to dedicate herself to novel writing in 2016) Her stories have appeared in a range of sci-fi and fantasy sites and publications, and story collections. She has a Hugo award for her novelette Six Months, Three Days. Definitely check out her site for more detail on her prior work. The imaginary bits are definitely a strength, although I thought they fell a bit short in the logic of their tactical application.
“Children are adults who haven't yet learned to make fear their hand puppet.”It started strong (see quote above) but quickly lost me. It’s just one of those books that you don’t feel bad putting aside for a while and pick up to finish mostly out of the feeling of obligation, constantly keeping an eye on how much longer was left in the book, hoping just to get to the end faster and be done with it - and not because I really cared to see what’s happening. I don’t DNF books as a rule, so on and on I trudged.
You guys. I’m just putting this quote here because misery loves company. Puffy suckable nipples and shaved pubes among all the body hair.
“She gazed at Laurence’s face (which looked squarer and more handsome without a big shirt collar framing it), his surprisingly puffy and suckable-looking nipples, his shaved pubes, and the way the leg and stomach hair erupted in a heart-shaped ring around the depilated zone. And she felt like they, the two of them, right here, right now, could make something that defied tragedy.”
“All the upscale organic microrestaurants in SoMa had gone under, so Laurence and Serafina ended up eating at a greasy diner selling Chinese food and donuts. The donuts were fresh, but the General Tso’s chicken was a little too general.”
Snobs. Pass me the General Chicken, please.