Monday, 2 June 2014

Review: Pills And Starships by Lydia Millet

In this richly imagined dystopic future brought by global warming, seventeen-year-old Nat and her hacker brother Sam have come by ship to the Big Island of Hawaii for their parents' Final Week. The few Americans who still live well also live long—so long that older adults bow out not by natural means but by buying death contracts from the corporates who now run the disintegrating society by keeping the people happy through a constant diet of "pharma." Nat's family is spending their pharma-guided last week at a luxury resort complex called the Twilight Island Acropolis.

Deeply conflicted about her parents' decision, Nat spends her time keeping a record of everything her family does in the company-supplied diary that came in the hotel's care package. While Nat attempts to come to terms with her impending parentless future, Sam begins to discover cracks in the corporates' agenda and eventually rebels against the company his parents have hired to handle their last days. Nat has to choose a side. Does she let her parents go gently into that good night, or does she turn against the system and try to break them out?

But the deck is stacked against Nat and Sam: in this oppressive environment, water and food are scarce, mass human migrations are constant, and new babies are illegal. As the week nears its end, Nat rushes to protect herself and her younger brother from the corporates while also forging a path toward a future that offers the hope of redemption for humanity. This page-turning first YA novel by critically acclaimed author Lydia Millet is stylish and dark and yet deeply hopeful, bringing Millet's characteristic humor and style to a new generation of young readers

Paperback, 256 pages
Expected publication: June 10th 2014 by Black Sheep
Terri's Thoughts
I received an advanced readers copy of this novel from the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.  The expected publication date is June 10th 2014.  **warning to others who are reading this as an uncorrected proof.  There are a lot of errors in this i.e. the letter F and the combination of TH is missing from the majority of the book.  Try to get past this and you will be rewarded**
This was a very interesting read for me.  Told in the form of journal entries I found that it was a unique and entertaining way to tell the story.  I also found this story was quite different from other "Dystopia" books that are popular in the market at the current time.
This story tells of what happens after Global warming has ruined the majority of the world and how corporations take over to "protect" those remaining.  The tale is not a cheery one and is certainly a little bit on the dark side.  A world where drugs or "pharma" is a staple for everyone just to stabilize their moods.  I enjoyed when the story would reminisce about how the way things in the world used to be which is in fact the reality we all live in today.
Nat and Sam were both characters that were a joy to read.  From Sam's need to break from the "corp" reality and discover something better to Nat's gradual awakening in the realization that things are not as they appear.  Add to that the inconceivable notion of assisting death as a corporate money-maker, you get one messed up but interesting read.
Although marketed for the YA audience I think this can be enjoyed by people of all ages.  I would not recommend it for those that are too young as they may not understand all of the drug references etc. 
I'm not sure if this is meant to be part of a series or not.  It very well could continue on with the way the book concluded or it could stand alone.  I am personally hoping that there is another instalment so that I can see where the story goes.

About the Author

Born in Boston in 1968, Lydia Millet moved to Toronto, Canada with her Egyptologist father and teacher/librarian mother two years later. She received a Master's in Environmental Policy at Duke University and moved to New York in 1996, where she worked as a fundraiser for the Natural Resources Defense Council. In 1999 she went freelance and moved to Tucson, where she now lives and writes full-time on an isolated spread in the desert. She is the author of Omnivores (Algonquin, 1996), George Bush, Dark Prince of Love (Scribner, 2000), My Happy Life (Henry Holt, 2002; Soft Skull Press 2007), a winner of the 2003 PEN-USA Award for Fiction, Everyones Pretty (Soft Skull Press, 2005), Oh Pure and Radiant Heart (Soft Skull, 2005), and Ghost Lights (W. W. Norton & Company, 2011)


1 comment:

  1. This has such a unique cover-love it! I may have to add this to my TBR list :)