Saturday, December 4, 2021

The Darkness Outside Us, by Eliot Schrefer

So, this is one of those I-can't-tell-you-anything-about-the-plot-so-how-am-I-supposed-to-review-this-book books. There's so much I want to tell you about that I can't! I finished this book last week and I'm still thinking about it, going over all the ramifications of what happened in the story and the choices the characters made, and the choices the author made about how to tell the story. It's just so interesting and provocative!

Okay, here: have you ever heard of the philosophy book Gödel, Escher, Bach, by Douglas Hofstadter? Mind blowing stuff about consciousness and computers and stuff that I understood about 1/18th of, maybe, but it was a lot of fun (and made me feel smart every time I understood a sentence!). Reading The Darkness Outside Us makes me want to go back and read that book.

That is not going to convince you to read this novel. Try again.

Trapped in a spaceship with an enemy and an AI that sounds like your mother: how long would it take you to go insane? This book plays with some familiar sci-fi tropes, layers in a life-or-death mystery, adds a sweet, weird love story (can't tell you why it's weird: too spoilery), and sends you on a mind trip of epic twistiness. It's fun, it has feels, it punches you in the gut, it makes you say, "But, wait ... no, hang on a minute: what??!" not just once but probably four or five times, and then it makes you go, "Huh. That's ... huh. There's a metaphor in here; let me think about this for a while."

And so here I am, a week later, still thinking about it and trying to get you to read the book so we can think about it together!

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