Across the Universe
November 29, 2011
Another Earth, I thought the two would be a great (posting) pairing.
Even better, Another Earth came out on BluRay & DVD this past Tuesday and Across the Universe was released in paperback the same day! Here's the Across the Universe review and the Cinema Saturday post with my Another Earth review is coming up next!!
update: link to Another Earth review
Amy and her parents have been cryogenically frozen for a trip across space to a new planet. This three centuries long trip in a massive ship, Godspeed, will take them to a new planet hospitable to humans, a new Earth.
When Amy finds herself unfrozen and awake fifty years too early, everything is wrong. Her parents are too essential to the mission, the colonization of this new planet to be unfrozen, too so she is left alone with the people of the ship - people completely unlike her. And fifty years to wait. Fifty years before they reach the new planet at which point she will be older than her parents.
Elder, the young man who is there when Amy awakens is the future leader of the ship. He will take over charge of Godspeed once Eldest is too old to lead.
The people on the ship have no emotions, all look the same, and are nothing like the people Amy has grown up around - yet they're all Elder knows, all Eldest has taught his is right and natural.
When someone starts unplugging, unfreezing more people - killing them, Amy is outraged and knows she has to find the murderer and Elder realizes there might be things Eldest hasn't taught or told him.
Across the Universe, the first in a series, looks at what happens when people are really and truly isolated. We see the decisions that the community on Godspeed has made (in the past and the present) and how they have chosen to lead themselves.
There's also a really interesting look, through Eldest - and his and Elder's interactions - at our, current society. It would have been nice to see more of this. What lead to some of the distorted views that were held, how they came to be, how things came to be different, etc (when the changes came about, who made the changes and if they were willful/mindful ones, etc).
The beginning of the book was hard to connect with - between Amy being conscious but really just locked in her mind (only able to think, not move or interact) for so long, it was hard, frankly, to believe she could stay so sane. Decades upon decades - centuries even - of just thinking and she's still okay mentally? That was a little difficult to believe.
Elder was also a hard character, for me personally to relate to or care about. Some of that was his personality and worked well as the story progressed but for the start of the novel, it was hard to be drawn in to those chapters.
The mystery seemed not all that mysterious, but there was enough other plot - between characters interpersonal relationships, other story lines - that it was really a minor things. (It was also a time where even if the who was could be determined at some point, the why wasn't always known.)
The last one hundred or so pages of Across the Universe were the best. They upped the suspense, the characters' relationships really developed and more and more of the plot was really unveiled. The ending is definitely the most enjoyable part of the novel - and really leaves readers anxious for what will happen in A Million Suns, the second book in this series.