Book Review: Walk the Vanished Earth by Erin Swan
Walk the Vanished Earth
Author: Erin Swan
Published: May 31, 2022
Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 3.5 stars
The year is 1873, and a bison hunter named Samson travels the Kansas plains, full of hope for his new country. The year is 1975, and an adolescent girl named Bea walks those very same plains; pregnant, mute, and raised in extreme seclusion, she lands in an institution, where a well-meaning psychiatrist struggles to decipher the pictures she draws of her past. The year is 2027 and, after a series of devastating storms, a tenacious engineer named Paul has left behind his banal suburban existence to build a floating city above the drowned streets that were once New Orleans. There with his poet daughter he rules over a society of dreamers and vagabonds who salvage vintage dresses, ferment rotgut wine out of fruit, paint murals on the ceiling of the Superdome, and try to write the story of their existence. The year is 2073, and Moon has heard only stories of the blue planet–Earth, as they once called it, now succumbed entirely to water. Now that Moon has come of age, she could become a mother if she wanted to-if only she understood what a mother is. Alone on Mars with her two alien uncles, she must decide whether to continue her family line and repopulate humanity on a new planet.
A sweeping family epic, told over seven generations, as America changes and so does its dream, Walk the Vanished Earth explores ancestry, legacy, motherhood, the trauma we inherit, and the power of connection in the face of our planet’s imminent collapse.
This is a story about the end of the world–but it is also about the beginning of something entirely new. Thoughtful, warm, and wildly prescient, this work of bright imagination promises that, no matter what the future looks like, there is always room for hope.
I’m starting to see differences within the sci-fi genre. And unfortunately, this book is in the group that I’m not a super huge fan of. I’m glad I read it; it’s an overall good story, I just feel like it wasn’t for me. It’s a multi timeline, multi POV story that covers a lot! The story line I liked most was that of Moon, an odd child in the care of a pair of odd robotic beings on an odd quest to save the human race and discover her own origins. She falls under the more traditional title of sci-fi and I wish I could have a book just about her. The rest of it was just necessary context for me. I didn’t really have any emotional attachment to most of the characters and the overplayed apocalyptic climate change trope just bored me. It’s definitely not a loss because it kept me entertained while reading and I am glad I did … I just don’t feel much for it now that I’m done with it. But … that cover!!!!
Graphic Novel Review: V for Vendetta by Alan Moore
V for Vendetta
Author: Alan Moore
Illustrator: David Lloyd
First Published: March 1982
Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 5 stars
“Remember, remember the fifth of November…”
A frightening and powerful tale of the loss of freedom and identity in a chillingly believable totalitarian world, V for Vendetta stands as one of the highest achievements of the comics medium and a defining work for creators Alan Moore and David Lloyd.
Set in an imagined future England that has given itself over to fascism, this groundbreaking story captures both the suffocating nature of life in an authoritarian police state and the redemptive power of the human spirit which rebels against it. Crafted with sterling clarity and intelligence, V for Vendetta brings an unequaled depth of characterization and verisimilitude to its unflinching account of oppression and resistance.
Considering how much I dislike the graphic novel style, this one I loved! I know we avoid politics on this page and I like it that way. But this is a political story and one that I think everyone should read. I actually went into thinking it would be biased because I had someone tell me that it was written as condemnation of one specific person. Thankfully, it wasn’t. Some issues were specific and easy to see who it would appeal to, however most of it was general enough that it was all about corruption and freedom. I, as someone many have called extreme, really appreciated the lessons and relevance. Plus, it’s just a great story with brilliant characters. This is one of only two graphic novels that I actually love!
Short Story Sunday: Graceful Burdens by Roxane Gay
Series: Out of Line
Author: Roxane Gay
Narrator: Samira Wiley
Published: September 1, 2020
Reviewed By: Jessica
Date Read: June 8, 2022
Jessica’s Rating: 4 stars
From New York Times bestselling author Roxane Gay comes an unforgettable tale of nightmarish bureaucracy in which genetic profiling has redefined the “unfit mother.”
A trip to the library prompts one woman to question her fate in this galvanizing short story. For a woman like Hadley, deemed not acceptable to procreate, there’s only one recourse. Unlicensed for motherhood, she can alleviate her grief and frustration at a “baby library,” where a curiously endless supply of infants is available for a two-week loan. But the borrowed life that serves as a temporary balm leads to a journey of self-discovery that will forever change the direction of Hadley’s future.
Roxane Gay’s Graceful Burdens is part of Out of Line, an incisive collection of funny, enraging, and hopeful stories of women’s empowerment and escape. Each piece can be read or listened to in a single thought-provoking sitting.
This story takes place in a dystopian world where women are evaluated to determine whether or not they will be permitted to have children. They undergo testing at age 16 to see if they will be allowed to procreate. We see both sides of this world through Hadley who is unlicensed to have children and Seraphina who is licensed.
There are libraries in this world where only women can ‘borrow’ a child for up to two weeks. These children are no longer ‘borrowable’ once they hit three years old. Hadley checks out a baby girl as only girls can be ‘borrowed’. We also see Seraphina who has children but doesn’t really want them. It still seems like the ‘grass is greener on the other side’ even in this dystopian world.
I can’t say much more than this because it would give away what happens in the short story. There is much more that could be done with this story: It is another one I would like to see expanded because of the direction it goes in. It is an intriguing story that also makes you think.