Some Spoilers Below
I think I am exactly the wrong audience for this book. I read a lot of
science fiction, see, and this book is very much trying to do science
fiction without the science fiction. And so my inclination is to want
the book to explore at least some of the science behind what's going on,
and the steadfast half-refusal to do so is irritating.
with eventually scientists saying "we don't know why this is happening,"
but come on, they don't even have any hypotheses? None? Zero? Really? I
There are also lots of notes saying that "later
we would understand that X-Y-Z" about the effects of the phenomenon in
the book, but they're never gotten into, never explored, their
repercussions just left to float off into the ether. And in at least one
case, one seems to be directly contradicted by what goes on in the
story - there's a mention that the circadian rhythm is
more malleable than we had thought, and that time would bear out the
real-timers as the healthier choice. But that isn't remotely what
anyway, the earth's rotation is slowing and no one knows why. (Again,
I'm fine with it being a mystery, but I do not believe for a second that
scientists would simply throw their hands up in the air and say "I
guess it's a mystery!") Days grow longer, by ragged chunks. Some days
grow longer by hours, others by minutes. But it happens.
note: I also didn't get why there would be such massive tides, since she
never went into how this slowing of the rotation affected the moon. Why
would the moon's passage over the skies change too? If you want to have
that Be A Thing, you have to tell me that and a little bit of why. If
not, you make my inner nerd cranky.)
Julia is an early teen, and
caught in the middle of a world that is dying with a whimper, not a
bang. Her family tries to hold it together, her mother by worrying, her
father pretending that everything will be fine. Her Mormon best friend
moves away from California to Utah to await the end. The government
eventually decrees that everyone needs to move back to "clock-time,"
detaching experience from the rising and setting of the sun.
There are lots of good ideas here that I
wished were explored more. Instead, they're sort of shoved aside for the
atmospheric gloom of a world on the edge. But that atmospheric gloom is
fairly well done, although there was at least one narrative tic that
drove me crazy. At least twice, the young narrator says something like
"if I'd known how long it would be until I saw her again, I would have
done things differently," and both times, "how long" turns out to be
about two weeks. Really? If you'd only know it would be two whole weeks
until you saw her again, you'd have done what differently? Have you
never gone on a summer vacation before? Two weeks ain't that long.
that way, the narrator, writing from the future back about her younger
days, speaks weirdly about things in ways that aren't borne out by the
actual occurrences in the book.
I'm absolutely the wrong
audience for this book. But the lack of exploration of what was going on
in favour of how it slowly affected a family, well, I'd like to think I
could enjoy this, but enough was left unexamined in this book that it
nagged at me instead. Perhaps if you aren't a science fiction fan, you
might enjoy this more.