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How High We Go in the Dark by Sequoia Nagamatsu pdf download


How High We Go in the Dark by Sequoia Nagamatsu

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How High We Go in the Dark by Sequoia Nagamatsu pdf download

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  • Book Name: How High We Go in the Dark
  • Authors: Sequoia Nagamatsu
  • Pages: 228
  • Genre: Science fiction
  • Publish Date: 18 January 2022
  • Language: English

Book Review:

How High We Go in the Dark by Sequoia Nagamatsu this is a book that does exactly that it's a book that clearly is paying homage to its legacy to where science fiction has come from to things like star trek and the works of writers like arthur c clarke it's a book of big frightening ideas 

it's very very reminiscent of the works of emily st john mandel and it also has a sprinkling of black mirror as well there's a lot going on here in terms of what it's like what it's looking to do and achieve and what makes it stand alone as a great work of modern science fiction how high 

we go in the dark is effectively a short story collection that tells a linear narrative which is something that i have seen a little bit in fiction but it's not explored that often and sequoia nagamatsu manages to do something really powerful with that setup we begin about 10 years from 

now with a concept that is very real a fear that is genuine amongst the scientific community right now and that is the idea that as the permafrost melts illnesses diseases viruses that have been dormant for thousands 

tens of thousands of years are going to defrost and flood our water supply the idea that we in the near future could be up against viruses that have died out that we have no way of combating or understanding the idea that global warming will unleash pandemic after pandemic that's what 

this book is more or less about at least at the beginning but it's even bigger than that we begin with a scientist who has just lost his daughter who was also a scientist she was in siberia at a crater which is a real place that is the largest area of permafrost in the world i believe 

she is investigating the permafrost watching it melt and looking at how we can combat that and also look at what diseases might be unveiled because of it but she died and very shortly afterwards he's basically gone to her team her location to try and continue her work continue her legacy meet her team look at what she was doing and seeing what 

he can do one thing that they've uncovered is the body of a girl that's about 10 000 years old and there is a disease in her body that we do not understand that may have infected our protagonist of this story and the other scientists and that's where the first story pretty much ends from 

here every story kind of jumps forward a little bit in time taking us further and further away from that moment into a society that has been affected by that disease that was unveiled by the melting of the permafrost in the second story we're in california and there is this young asian-american guy 

who is a kind of failed stand-up comedian and has been invited to be a clown an entertainer at a very black mirror inspired theme park this arctic disease mostly affects children and it's mostly waterborne as far as they know so people typically don't eat fish anymore or go swimming in the ocean and quite often the people who are infected are children who did those things 

so we're in california and we've got this theme park that is a place where children can be euthanized these children have the disease they are slowly dying and the way the disease works is that it transforms the cells in individual organs in your body and mutates them into other organs effectively shutting them down 

so over time your heart mutates into a lung and vice versa it's trippy and strange and just the right amount of creepy and the way that the euthanasia theme park works is that a child is put on a roller coaster by their parents and while they're on the roller coaster they feel a sense of euphoria before 

they pass out and die in their sleep it's horrifying but it does feel like a thing that could possibly exist in the future there isn't much in here that isn't something that could be possible and that's one of them it feels very black mirror very very dark but kind of possible kind of feasible 

our protagonist is an entertainer who makes the kids laugh makes them feel good makes them feel happy and guides them onto this roller coaster where they will be euthanized but they don't know that and their parents have to let them go it's horrifying but it feels as i said feasible 

then from here every story explores different ideas and avenues of science fiction mostly related to this disease and what it's doing to the planet but it also deals with global warming it is an novel of sorts and as we get further and further away from the modern day science advances 

humanity starts doing things that you would kind of expect to see in science fiction but i don't want to give those things away the second half of the novel takes us to very different places but every single story in here is about a different protagonist a different setting a different scenario 

a slight time jump forward so you cover quite a lot of time and ground in this book it's a novel structured in a way that you just don't often see and it feels like a short story collection but it follows 

a very specific narrative a specific linearity through time but you never really get attached to these characters and you do see characters crop up in later stories the protagonist of that second story the entertainer of the theme park is briefly mentioned in another tale later on 

you see what becomes of him after the events of his narrative this is a collection that really explores different aspects of sci-fi things that we typically as i said expect to see in a lot of science fiction stories one of them is the concept of human engineering bioengineering 

human cognition there is a pig that is one of many pigs that are used as test subjects to grow human organs which will then be transplanted into the ill kids but this pig because of growing human organs including a human brain has developed a kind of speech it has developed 

human-like intelligence and it communicates through telepathy and it communicates with the lead scientist that's been looking after it it's a short story and in its own little bubble a fascinating exploration of intelligence itself but what makes this book so unique other than 

the big concepts and the way that it kind of devotes itself to the big concepts of science fiction is its capacity for empathy and love all of the people in these stories are very very human

they're all fleshed out they're very well considered characters they are people that you grow enormously attached to the sci-fi elements aside these are short stories of human connection and love these are stories about family stories about parents and their children stories about people falling in 

out of love stories about people making connections that they shouldn't be making but they can't help themselves because they're human stories of people falling in love with other people who are dying or doomed stories of people who are connecting with their families or reconnecting 

them even after they've died it's incredibly human emotion is at the heart of this book it is about our emotional connections with one another the ways that we hate each other and love each other look out for each other fall in and out of love it's about families and friends and lovers 

that's at the heart of this it's a very intimate book all of the connections in here are small narrow this is not a big book the ideas are huge and the time and space that is explored is also huge but the narratives and the connections between people are small and intimate and confined families groups of friends colleagues lovers they're small intimate important

connections it shows the importance of human connection of relationships while a pandemic is happening while the world is changing while the ice caps are melting while people are drowning and things are flooding while all of these catastrophes are going on that will go on as time moves on because this often feels like a prediction of our near future it's about us 

our connections with one another that's at the heart of this book and i guess that's kind of what the title is about although it's in the third or fourth story that you find out that the phrase how high we go in the dark is particularly literal the third or fourth story in here is about a shared consciousness of people who slipped into a coma from the disease 

they all wake up in a dark space all together and they literally form a human pyramid to try and climb out of this space and back into the world of the awake and the living they literally see 

how high they can go in the dark but metaphorically that's also kind of what this title is alluding to the world is getting darker and scarier and more intimidating and more dangerous how high can we go how far can human engineering and invention take us how far can science take us 

but also how far can we take ourselves in terms of our connections can love and connection and relationships carry us through can they take us high enough in the dark that's what the title is alluding to at least in my opinion i really really adore the way that this book is set up the fascinating sci-fi concepts that are explored here just how much it reminded me of

the works of emily and john mandel and the black mirror tv show but it's the humanity that's explored here that really got me invested these characters their intimate relationships their narratives while living in a scientifically fascinating and very very dangerous horrible diseased world

it really really got me thinking and more importantly feeling how high we go in the dark is a wonderful book and as a small side note i really like the fact that the author is a japanese american writer whose characters are all almost exclusively japanese american or japanese this is an author who has japanese heritage who grew up in hawaii and northern california and almost 

all of the stories and characters and narratives are all based around japan hawaii northern california and minnesota where he lives now i thought that was really cool he's really feeding off of his own personal experiences in terms of space but also in terms of culture and cultural representation that felt nice it felt like something we need to see more of and 

i was just happy to see that the only thing that's kind of missing and it's not a criticism just something i noticed in a modern sci-fi novel is that there's nothing queer here that i could see all of the relationships that are explored are very straight relationships i don't remember seeing anything about sexually queer or genderqueer stories which just surprised me 

i thought i would but i didn't it's not a criticism just a thing that i personally noticed as a queer reader and maybe i'm wrong maybe i missed something i don't remember i don't think so anyway how high 

we go in the dark is a perfect sci-fi novel please please read it it is one of the best modern sci-fi novels.

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