by Richard Powers · read December 25, 2021


This felt like a novel that was 'about' many things, but the most notable to me was mysteries: the mystery of another person's interior experiences, of whether or not life exists beyond Earth, and of our meek acceptance of modern life's travesties. It was accurately characterized as a book that asks questions rather than answers them, and I liked that it reinvigorated my sense of wonder in the world. I enjoyed the different threads running through the story—my favourite was Robin's activism—but a couple of them felt underdeveloped, and the pacing of the story felt off at times.

I felt us travelling on a small craft, piloting through the capital city of the reigning global superpower on the coast of the third largest continent of an smallish, rocky world near the inner rim of the habitable zone of a G-type dwarf star that lay a quarter of the way out to the edge of a dense, large, barred, spiral galaxy that drifted through a thinly spread local cluster in the dead center of the entire universe.

We pulled into the hotel's circular drive and the cabbie said, "Here we are. Comfort Inn."

Julia Cooke © 2023