Supernova Era by Cixin Liu
”...children had no opportunity to take part as a collective in the cruel struggle for survival, so of course their true nature wouldn't be exposed. Oh, for the past couple of days I've been reading the copy of Lord of the Flies you gave me” “It's a good book. Golding was one of the few adults who really got children.”
My opinion swung back and forth while reading this book. Some will say it is just a rehash of Lord of the Flies, which on the surface is a fair assessment, but that fails to take in the massive scope of this short novel. This novel talks about all the children of the world, although focus is placed on the Chinese children and the American children.
The simplest summary of this book is this: a supernova explodes, the radiation reaches earth and fatally wounds all humans over the age of 13, adults figure this out and train children to carry on, the adults die, and children reign over all the Earth.
Now putting aside the fact that many take issue with the science behind radiation from a supernova only killing adults, this story is about what would happen if children ruled the Earth? As with other Cixin Liu stories, there are lots and lots of characters and they are not really fleshed out much. Liu doesn't do good character development, he's more interested in world building. This turns off some people but that's his style. His characters are only pieces on the board he uses to advance his plot.
I think if you look beyond the Lord of the Flies struggle, this whole book seems like a metaphor for our society, how can young people tear it all down and what would a new society look like? Do we have to continue venerating and holding dear the same things our ancestors have? Are traditions holding us back? Can we think of better systems to run the world?
“It'll get better. Everything's going to get better...” I say from my heart.
This book was heading for a 2 star review, but it came together in the Epilogue for me and pulled itself up to 3 stars. This book is short, so you aren't committing to a huge investment of time if you choose to read this unlike The Three Body Problem series. As you will see in other reviews of this book, some people really like this book and some people absolutely hate it. It's an interesting thought experiment, but not the most thrilling sci-fi or speculative fiction I've read lately though.
Rating: ★★★ Book #96 in my My 2019 Reading Challenge