28 March 2017

So, It's Weird: A Review of The Destructives, Matthew De Abaitua

With the child suddenly invited to evening events, we, his parents, have discovered the 5:30 dinner date. Maybe this is how the early bird special spun out of control - tired parents, wanting to drink they buns off but unwilling to sacrifice sleep. At our most recent pre-sunset hot date, I attempted to describe The Destructives. Even with the table sprinkled with half empty cocktails, my husband's vacant stare had less to do with the upended bevies and everything to do with my weirdness. I am weirdo. I enjoy 9:00 p.m bedtimes, hours of bench sitting, an aversion to movie-watching, a lust for Survivor and an overarching desire to read really weird shit.

My shadowing of the shadow jury for the Arthur C. Clarke award has created a conundrum. Thank the Maker at its design heart is to persuade my small tribe of friends to read science fiction. I read, it's my lot in life and yet 99% of those I call dear dislike SF. As I cloak myself in the shadows of the Clarke award, the intentions of my posts move further from being actualized. No one, beyond a handful of right-minded nutters who I have managed to befriend are going to read any of these shadow books. How does one argue to the non-geeks that the hive-minded, city-wide jellyfish, living in the underground oceans of Europa that so happens to be humanity's key to survival is something they need to read on about? 

I have had my moments with magic, dragons, lyrical, historical alternative, dystopian futures but what sings true for this girl are the novels that go beyond my expectations - dangling science all the while blatantly ignoring known universal truths. Discovering an author willing to explore the boundaries of science fiction is the pulse that keeps the genre alive. Only science fiction can expand perceptions of humanity by alienating ourselves, deconstructing that what we hold dear, all in the hopes of coming closer to the meaning of life. 

Plus, space ships are cool. You know it.

The question begs to be asked, is Matthew De Abaitua's novel, The Destructives worth reading? The third installment of a lose, stand-alone type of trilogy, The Destructives finds humankind blunted, falling slowly into extinction as AI evolves as the dominant species. The world economy has been disrupted by a single loop (gif) of a mother hugging her teenage daughter. The Seizure is decades in the past, AI has decamped to the Sun, and our protagonist, Theodore Drown is working as professor at the University of the Moon. An anthropological expert on Pre-Seizure culture, Theodore is asked to investigate an archive of data. What follows is an epic tale of weirdness that frankly has left me incapable of properly expressing without dropping down some serious spoilers. 

Highly engaging novel, definitely perplexing, The Destructives is inescapably sci-fi. If you don't like weird shit, this weirdness is not for you.