Wednesday, 8 December 2010
We by John Dickinson
January 2010, David Fickling Books
302 pages, Paperback
Children's, Science Fiction
Summary from David Fickling Books
WE ARE THE ONLY HUMANS LEFT . . .
In the furthest, coldest, darkest reaches of our solar system, Paul Munro is on a mission from which he can never return. A desolate ice-covered moon will be his home for the rest of his life. And only from here can he see what humanity has become.
A thriller to freeze your blood. To absolute zero.
I read this book because it's a 2011 Carnegie nominee. I loved the cover - for me it shows what wonders there are in space. For Paul, it isn't a wonderful place. There's more danger than he ever expected. Or wanted. Back on earth, everyone is connected to the World Ear (no, this isn't a giant ear in the sky). Basically with advanced technology there is no need for speaking, nor for individuals to think independently. Anything they want to know, they can find out at the touch of a thought. It's all about having a collective mind. Paul is separated from all of that. He chose (or so he thought) to leave Earth and the World Ear behind. His first few days in his new environment reflect how we take communication for granted. He experiences life that those who undergo comas, strokes and other severe trauma go through in learning how to speak, how to move. The three other people in Paul's small world treat him with respect. However, Paul doesn't view their actions that way. He senses they are hiding some vital information from him. Over time his paranoia and suspicions grow. He finds a way to spy on them, to find out if his theories are correct.
I think this novel explores how life could become on earth to the extreme. With all the technology available to us, it doesn't take much of a stretch in imagination to believe that in the future we could be living Paul's former life. At a few strokes of a keyboard it is easy for us to seek answers on the internet through search engines, or by asking people on Twitter. Where We takes this is a bit further is in regard to thoughts. On Paul's Earth, humans don't think for themselves. They just consult the World Ear for answers to questions and decisions. The answer for everything is out there, for anyone to receive. In his new environment, Paul doesn't have access to the World Ear. He is on his own. It's a frightening prospect. He doesn't know how to act. He doesn't know who to trust. He has to learn to think for himself in order to get to the bottom of the mystery. And what he discovers is truly shocking.
I give this book a 7/10. It is extremely clever, with a little bit too much description in places, and sometimes a bit weird too.