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Thursday, August 18, 2022

Review: Sea of Tranquility

 Sea of Tranquility is Emily St John Mandel's pandemic novel. Mixing a time travel story, a pandemic, lunar colonies, and the themes of being a writer and a parent, the story kinda meanders all over the place but never actually does anything provocative or particularly imaginative with the subject material. For instance, the lunar colonies don't seem any different from a New York City neighborhood, which seems kinda strange, since everything from breathable air to potable water must be a constant struggle. It's very clear that St. John Mandel is non technical and not very interested in the actual nuts and bolts of a moon colony.

The time travel story is at least somewhat competently handled, with the time traveler going back and forth and looping back upon his own story eventually. But even then, the character isn't very good at his job.

The book is short, so at least if you don't like it you're not going to waste days on it. But to be honest the book seems like a non science fiction writer's failed attempt to write science fiction. The pandemic parts also seem particularly insular, again, very focused on a relatively privileged view of a city bound person. As you and I both know at this point, such privileged people abscond from the city at the earliest opportunity. Again, the transplantation of the author's experience into a novel might make for ome relevance, but I didn't find it particularly insightful.

The book's short enough that I didn't bounce off it, but I think I will avoid the author's work in the future.

1 comment:

N said...

I also found Sea of Tranquility to be a bit cliche. I much preferred Station Eleven.