Regular price: $19.99
Buy Now with 1 Credit
Buy Now for $19.99
In this dystopic future Nat and her brother Sam have come to Hawaii to "celebrate" their parents' final week of life. Choosing one's death date is common in Nat's world where the old can live very long lives and become more and more depressed as they age; thus, corporations have arisen to usher the elderly to their deaths.
In a world full of dystopia stories, I really think that Lydia Millet's is special. I loved the journal format. Nat imagines she's writing to someone off in space; someone that has escaped or is unaware of the earth's problems. Nat has the soul of an artist (although art really isn't a thing anymore), and I loved her lyrical descriptions. Equally well done was the futuristic language with new slang and Nat's pokes at her parents' more old-fashioned sayings. The other benefit to having Nat tell the story is that she is as unaware of some of the more sinister aspects of her world as the reader, and I loved how the world was revealed one puzzle piece at a time. It's not clear right away how sinister the corporations might be or how the population may be controlled with pharma.
I can think of a whole list of subjects covered in this book that would make for a really interesting discussion: pharma and self-medication, global warming, family, "going native" and its implications, the models that predict the future, the corporations that rule the world.
There's a quiet, slowness about this story that really appealed to me. It's devoid of any heady infatuations or soul mates who suddenly make the main character see the world with fresh eyes. Nat's journey is a slow one and of her own making. Pills and Starships is more about a future family when families are at the point of dying away. (They call Nat and Sam's generation the last generation.) There is a sense of melancholy to the whole book (Nat's parents are about to die) but it is mingled with the hope and irrepressible optimism of the young.
The audio version, read by Mozhan Marno, is very well done.