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review 2018-12-21 19:57
When aliens meet the Internet
An Absolutely Remarkable Thing: A Novel - Hank Green

An Absolutely Remarkable Thing by Hank Green is a sci-fi sociopolitical commentary about the perils and pitfalls of Internet fame as well as social cooperation on a global scale. In Green's debut novel, April May finds what she thinks is an art installation in the heart of New York City so in true millennial fashion she enlists the help of her friend Andy to film their first interaction with what they dub as 'Carl' the robot. While this may be the first video of its kind with one of these robots it turns out that there is one in every major city in the world...and they're clearly alien to our planet. What follows is a realistic look at the arrival of Internet fame and someone completely unprepared to deal with the visibility and responsibility of such a mantle. Trolls, flame wars, sycophants, corporate deals, possible planet-wide destruction, and girlfriend drama are just a few of the myriad dilemmas that our main character finds herself facing. I didn't find April May to be a particularly likable or endearing character which made it difficult for me to feel any sympathy for her plights. I'm not certain but perhaps Green intended for the reader to feel rather indifferent towards her to illustrate how as a society we tend to place any kind of 'celebrity' up on a pedestal but like any human being they have faults and foibles. If that was his goal then he accomplished it I think. Some of the pros: I really enjoyed the shared dream aspect as it felt like a callback to The Giver and A Wrinkle in Time but I felt like it could have used more detail/descriptors instead of focusing so much on April's inner turmoils. I also liked how Green wrote about a topic that has only really been touched on in nonfiction formats (although Zoe Sugg's series Girl Online discussed it too) and couched it in a sci-fi framework. Some things I didn't love: Uneven attention to detail and the ending was less than stellar. (I'd go so far as to say it was crappy.) Overall, this wasn't the best sci-fi novel I've ever read (not by a wide margin) but it also wasn't the worst. For a debut attempt, I think it was pretty well executed and I'd be interested to see what he might create in the future. 4/10

 

I choose to believe this is an aerial shot of the shared dream. [End paper source: Noteworthy]

 

What's Up Next: The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden

 

What I'm Currently Reading: Tales from the Inner City by Shaun Tan

Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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