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Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Review: The Only Living Girl on Earth by Charles Yu

The Only Living Girl on Earth 
by Charles Yu

Thanks to Scribd for this copy!

Publisher: Scribd, Inc.
Publish Date: January 8, 2021
Ebook: 43 Pages
Genre: Science Fiction

From the genre-defying, critically beloved author of How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe and Interior Chinatown and one of the creative minds behind HBO’s Westworld comes a sweet and searing, unexpected and delightfully absurd vision of life on Earth a thousand years in the future.

Jane is the only person left on the planet, minding the only business left: a gift shop. She wasn’t born on Earth, but her ancestors were; they lived there before the AI in charge of geoengineering failed and the oceans got too hot to sustain the terrestrial food web and before humans took off to colonize other planets.

She’s heading to college on Jupiter in the fall of 3020, so her days on the home planet—selling “American Epoch” postcards, “History: The Poster!” and “War: The Soundtrack” to tourists from the suburbs of Europa—are numbered. But as the looping promotional ad for Earth details, in the planet’s more recent past there was an amusement park, a museum, and even a model American town to draw visitors: all shuttered now, abandoned. When a man and his son crash-land their rocket and need assistance, as well as some diversion, Jane learns that the other attractions on Earth are not so defunct after all and may have taken on a life of their own.

Told, fittingly, in interconnected fragments, The Only Living Girl on Earth captures a place where only fragments of its landscape remain. At once dead serious and playful, recognizable and as otherworldly and unsettling as Yu’s other sci-fi reinventions, it is a cautionary tale about all that we could lose—are losing—by failing to live sustainably and about what we hope to leave behind for future generations. It is also a love letter to what it means to be human, how connected we are to a place and one another, and how we must fight to preserve these gifts. In this, Yu expresses his unique brand of cosmic humanism, that even in the face of dire circumstances, when we feel the most estranged from who and what we are, there is still hope.

My Review:

My first audiobook y'all!!! And I'm still uncertain about narrators and having other voices in my head.. but let's discuss this peculiar and fragmented short story by Charles Yu.  It took me a minute to get into this as we are listening to promotional ads, Jane's voice and learning about what it's like in 3020 after humans have consumed the earth.  What are we actually leaving behind for our younger generations?  How are we living sustainably?  Real issues and a future that is all too realistic of what it could be.  College on Jupiter anyone?

I appreciate the story and the lesson learned within but I did feel it was a bit choppy and all over the place.  


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