Sea of Tranquility

Wow! Sea of Tranquility (2022) by Emily St. John Mandel was just as brilliant or better than the hype about it! (New York Times, Goodreads, and NPR one of the best books of the year; on Barack Obama’s 2022 list.)

It’s hard to describe, but I will try. The novel opens with a younger son who is exiled from his English manor home to Canada, and ends up on Vancouver Island, living on his allowance, when he sees in the forest a strange thing–an airship terminal where someone is playing the violin. Two hundred years later, author Olive Llewellyn writes of a scene in an airship terminal where a man plays the violin while a forest rises around him. Nearly three hundred years later, Gaspery Roberts, a hotel detective in a colony on the moon is hired by the time travel agency–he was named after a character in Llewellyn’s novel. He’s sent to investigate an anomaly–to find out whether reality is a simulation and the anomaly is a glitch.

It’s so, so good. I wrote down several quotes–one of the most thought-provoking, attributed to the author Olive Llewellyn: ” . . . there’s always something I think, as a species, we have a desire to believe that we’re living at the climax of the story. It’s a kind of narcissism. We want to believe that we’re uniquely important, that we’re living at the end of history, that now, after all these millenia of false alarms, now is finally the worst that it’s ever been, that finally we have reached the end of the world.”

It was completely weight-neutral, not a hint of anti-fat bias.

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