How High We Go in the Dark

It's a pandemic story, but hopeful. It's sci-fi, but also a romance, and a space opera, and...oh, about four other genres are packed in there, too. It's kind of a short story collection, kind of a novel, and definitely a tear-jerker.


How High We Go in the Dark by Sequoia Nagamatsu is, in short, my favourite recent read.


The book tackles a lot of recent issues, including quarantine, euthanasia, climate change, and energy depletion. Novels that try to provide a fresh perspective on "political" topics often come across as preachy, apocalyptic, or too overarching to allow for any connection with the actual characters. Nagamatsu manages to clear all these hurdles by giving us glimpses of the problems (how they started, how humanity tries to cope, and what they will ultimately lead to) while maintaining a narrow focus on a just a few moments.


There are definitely some utterly ridiculous parts, but even these are infused with a level of emotion that lets him get away with it (e.g. an amusement park designed to euthanise its young visitors).


I picked up this read because of Goodread's blurb, and even though the book wasn't remotely what I expected, the feeling it gave me will stick with me for some time. So will the main questions it tackles: What happens if we don't interfere? And, goodness, what happens if we do?


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