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So Long Earth

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Worth reading 😎

This book is realistic about the current state of our environment and climate.

         Michael Bienenstock’s So Long Earth is a narrative of scientists and their families concerned about the present state of the environment and its resulting climate change, and about the lack of preoccupation on behalf of world authorities. Guided by their own sense of right, culpability, and need for solutions, they build a series of spaceships in order to save the human race from the rapidly approaching demise of the planet, and to make the survival of humans and future colonizations a working possibility.

               The aim of this book is to highlight how incredibly important our present moment is in terms of environment and solutions that must be sought, and to enforce unrelenting pressure upon governments for working ideas and ecology-friendly culture to be implemented. Trump is a constant presence in this book–a direct representative of all the environmental harm that is being done in the present, by way of choosing ignorance and inaction over acknowledgement–as well as Putin and the fictional President Ivanov, also a representative of governmental neglect through placing emphasis on war and human greed over climate. This overall goal of painting a code red on our present moment is well achieved, as the dates in this story range from 2017 to 2031 (predicting Trump’s 2020 re-election) and the environmental issues initially discussed are the exact phenomena which have already occurred, such as the increasingly devastating hurricanes in Florida and Puerto Rico which result in rapid land loss through flooding and the many deaths of humans and fauna.

               However, the purpose of prompting to action is the only fine asset of this book. So Long Earth desperately needs several re-edits and read-throughs, as it has some unintentional changes from first person to third person particularly when it comes to Sam, changes the name of the ship at a certain point, seems to forget which characters are in which scene (either that or mixes up everyone’s names), as well as changing the ages of the younger characters. The actual plot of the story, of building ships and voyaging into space in search for a new planet, is false, and instead tells the process of building spaceships, garnering a specialized crew, training the youth to be on the ship, encountering political problems, and running into weird issues like the lake next to the spaceship is emitting sulphur. This last lake scene is a woefully constructed situation that serves no purpose to the story other than to awkwardly showcase the leadership skills of one of the main characters, Sam. A very large portion of this book is dedicated to dense and unnecessary details such as describing the exact process of schoolkids naming the ship (how many kids divided into how many groups, who is in these groups, who gets picked leader, how much time they have, how long is the lunch break, what was eaten during the lunch break, etc.), and conjuring futile scenes that only underline points that have already been made multiple times (the scene of Jack at the graduation). All of this book is mostly just spending words and not actually getting to the point. The dialogue is also quite strange, as adults and teenagers alike speak to their peers as one would a child, unnecessarily polite and overly general about incredibly specific things.

               This book, honestly, is worth two stars. However, the overarching theme of eliciting action on climate change NOW and not LATER, and its campaign for awareness of the deliberate negligence of governments and world leaders, bestows its third star. Bienenstock has noble intentions, and if he were to get serious about writing, he might perhaps do well. If you are serious about reading well written books, then So Long Earth is a hard pass.         

Reviewed by

Book editor, freelance content writer, and translator with a literature MA. I'm passionate about all kinds of literature and art. I enjoy editing, reading, and writing creative and informative content to the best of my abilities. Originality, insight, and entertainment are priorities for me. #Scifi

So Long Earth

About the author

My science-fiction debut gazes at pioneering efforts to save the future and potential of humanity, contemplating the promise and blunders of an ambitious quest to colonize beyond our galaxy when we face existential risks. So Long Earth is my debut novel, and not written by my clone, view profile

Published on January 15, 2020

Published by amazon KDP

120000 words

Worked with a Reedsy professional 🏆

Genre: Science Fiction

Reviewed by