- 1 How high do you go in the dark?
- 2 How does How High We Go in the Dark end?
- 3 How high we go in the dark book genre?
- 4 How long is after dark Murakami?
- 5 Does anything happen to Max in In the Dark?
- 6 What is the longest audiobook ever?
- 6.1 How many books are in dark?
- 6.2 What is the fastest thing in existence?
- 6.3 Which is faster light or sound?
- 6.4 At what depth is there no light?
- 6.5 Which part of the Earth is in total darkness?
How high do you go in the dark?
Strap in for highs and lows with the pandemic novel ‘How High We Go in the Dark’ How High We Go in the Dark, Sequoia Nagamatsu’s debut novel about a climate change virus in 2030 that alters humanity centuries into the future, could hit all too hard for those grieving the loss of loved ones to coronavirus, as well as the loss of their former lives pre-pandemic.
The book has drawn comparisons to Emily St. John Mandel’s pandemic tale Station Eleven, but at least the latter is mostly about a performance troupe thriving in the hopeful post-apocalypse. Nagamatsu’s collection of interlinked stories unflinchingly inhabits the ripple effects of a 30,000-year-old Arctic plague, released from melting permafrost: an aimless young man works at a euthanasia theme park for terminally ill kids, placing them on the roller coaster that will kill them before the plague does; a test subject pig gains sentience, only to realize its true purpose as an organ donor; people connect in VR online chat rooms to make suicide pacts.
Make no mistake, this is a book about death. But it’s not a singular nor reductive depiction of death. It’s the cynicism of how death gives way to flourishing commerce — hotels where clients can stage macabre final moments with their loved ones’ corpses for closure, bitcoin whose value rises and falls with death tolls, social media profiles that allow digital ghosts to live past their failed flesh-and-blood bodies.
This is balanced by thoughtful explorations of how the survivors process death and loss through art — a muralist decorates every inch of a generation ship’s walls with portraits of those lost to the plague; an artisan forgoes cremation in favor of liquidation, transforming bodies into dynamic ice sculptures.
Even the bleakest stories conjure up a memorable image, and often that visual involves reaching upward: to the stars, to a memory, or even just stretching your arms skyward at the roller coaster’s peak, whether or not you know how the ride ends. Nagamatsu ( Where We Go When All We Were Is Gone ) has been working on this ambitious book in one form or another since 2011, with his initial story drafts focusing more on familial estrangement and grief.
- Tracing the lifespan of the Arctic plague via interrelated vignettes certainly gives How High a very A Visit from the Goon Squad vibe, but it’s vital to crack the surface of its timely narrative context and focus more on the emotional underpinnings.
- Like Jennifer Egan’s novel, it deserves to be read in order, as the connections between various lives over the subsequent generations are often subtle, from a minor character in one story undergoing a career change in the next, to a few potential forays into alternate universes.
The novel’s title comes from one of the weaker stories, “Through the Garden of Memory,” which follows a comatose plague patient into a liminal space where he interacts with other victims who he can at first sense only by voice and touch in the semi-darkness.
Eventually they gain the ability to witness each other’s lives leading up to their shared infection, and work against their self-preservation instincts to build a human pyramid toward — well, it’s not exactly up, but certainly some way out of this void. Perhaps it’s the anything-goes rules of this dream state, but this more out-there story lacks the affecting specificity of the accounts that precede and follow it.
By contrast, a story like “The Used-To-Be Party” is so achingly poignant because of its hyper-specific and relatable form: a social media posting from a lonely man to the neighbors that his late wife knew intimately but to whom he is virtually a stranger.
- His invitation to a block party for those spared (but also not) by the plague pulses with mingled grief and hope, but also carries the sentiment repeated by many of the novel’s characters: I should have been the one who died,
- It doesn’t take a pandemic to tap into that survivor’s guilt, but it does make the feeling that much more universal.
As thoughtfully as the author depicts the way humans cope with fear and grief during the plague, the final section of the book seems to brush them aside to tell a larger, cosmic tale. The story was compelling without it. If you regard How High We Go in the Dark as an emotional roller coaster, then you might agree that it peaks narratively about two-thirds through the collection, with those daring stories providing the reading equivalent of a slow ramp-up and stomach-dropping plunge.
- That necessarily means that subsequent stories may fail to elicit the same thrill.
- Yet, the ride needs its downs to balance its ups in order for the reader to feel as if they’ve experienced the complete arc, as if they’ve gotten their money’s worth, as if they can get off the ride and decide whether to get back on again.
Natalie Zutter is a Brooklyn-based playwright and pop culture critic whose work has appeared on Tor.com, Den of Geek, Electric Literature, and elsewhere. Find her on Twitter, : Strap in for highs and lows with the pandemic novel ‘How High We Go in the Dark’
How High We Go in the Dark through the garden of memory?
Sequoia Nagamatsu on Writing the Grief and Connections of an Enduring Pandemic During this disorienting time of upheaval and pandemic, Sequoia Nagamatsu has been preparing to launch his first novel,, That experience set the stage for our conversation.
- At the outset of the pandemic, “he told me, “I was, like a lot of people, living in a lockdown fog.
- I had been working on my novel for so long and when my agent finally said we were finally ready to go on submission I understandably had mixed feelings (despair wouldn’t be too far from the truth)—would editors be too afraid to go near a book with a plague element? Would this book ever see the light of day? But once the book sold, the process of editing and thinking about my talking points for publicity campaigns honestly saved me in a lot of ways.” The book gave structure to his days (“even my teaching days which seemed largely abstract during a year of nonstop Zoom”), and provided space for reflection and catharsis amidst some personal losses, including the death of his father.
“There’s a character in the novel who fails to make the decision in time to help his dying mother. Editing this chapter helped me make the opposite decision in my own life. I called my father, from whom I had been estranged for years. “More recently, as people who have no connection to me have begun to read and review the book, a lot of my earlier fears about readers missing my vision or being too afraid to engage with the subject matter mistakenly thinking that I have exploited our tragedy have been largely mitigated.
- I’m always going to be up front and say that this book can be a very heavy read.
- It will make some readers cry.
- But my vision for the book was ultimately one of hopeat first in small increments but that hope ultimately compounds, sends tendrils of light throughout the interconnecting chapters.
- And I’m glad that many readers (both on places like Goodreads but professional reviewers as well) have recognized this.” He adds, “I do want to note, that I’m answering this interview on the heels of watching the Season Finale of Station 11 on HBO, and it’s hard not to mention that novel when I talk about my own since Mandel’s humanistic story has become such a major force not only in plague literature but in how people are dealing with our own pandemic.
Of course, my publishers used Station 11 as a comp title because we wanted to highlight that this is a literary speculative novel that never privileges the virus as the focus so much as facets of humanity—community, grief, resilience. But as the launch of my novel approaches, I’ve been following the reaction to the adaptation.
- Many people are loving it, talking about it, even finding comfort in that world while others may find it too close to home,
- Something to save for later.
- In a recent New York Times article, Mandel acknowledges this reality, and I’ve already prepared myself to have these conversations and to see similar reactions as well.
With regards to sharing How High We Go in the Dark with audiences? There will be a mix of in-person and virtual events, but of course, so many things are tentative and subject to change.” * Jane Ciabattari: On Instagram, you’ve posted some capsule summaries with images of your chapters, including this of your opening chapter: “The first location in my novel: a climate research station near the Batagaika Crater in Siberia where the 30,000-year-old remains of a girl have been recovered.” This setting is the largest permafrost crater in the world, greatly expanded by climate change since the 1960s, the location for the recovery of such creatures as a well-preserved Pleistocene-era foal found in 2018.
- In your story, set in 2030, Dr.
- Cliff Miyashiro from UCLA has come to visit the crater where his daughter Clara, a climate researcher, has fallen and died.
- My characters often resort to technological means as a bridge to connect, to grieve, but there’s a limit to thisat some point that tech isn’t enough.
Your opening lines are evocative: “In Siberia, the thawing ground was a ceiling on the verge of collapse, sodden with ice melt and the mammoth detritus of prehistory. The kilometer-long Batagaika Crater had been widening with temperature rise like some god had unzipped the snow-topped marshlands, exposing woolly rhinos and other extinct beasts.” In this case, the creature revealed is a young girl, aged eight, who the scientists suspect may be harboring a virus they’re beginning to call the Batagaika virus.
This “Arctic virus” seeds the later stories, which extend through multiple centuries. Your characters Cliff, his daughter Clara, his wife Miki, his granddaughter Yumi, even the prehistoric girl, recur. How did you spin this complex web of interconnections? Did you use outlines? Images? Sequioa Nagamatsu : There are a couple of corkboards in my home office that has been home to the evolving structure of the novel for a few years now—very messy index cards connected to each other with yarn and pushpins and color coded post-it notes.
I think once I had settled on the linear progression of the plague and oriented the chapters in time to some degree, I thought about characters that I wished I had known more about and what their predicament might be as the plague and its aftermath evolved over the course of years (and generations).
But beyond wanting to provide deeper character continuity (and I’m well aware that a lack of continuity is something that people who don’t read a lot of short fiction tend to dislike), I was also mindful about how the world around the plague would evolve over the decades—technology (including social media platforms), financial corporations tied to funerary industries, and of course the backdrop of a planet changed by the climate crisis.
So yes, outlines and mapping was certainly part of my process in spinning this web, but so was a lot of research—lots of time in virtual reality staring at desolate (and beautiful) landscapes in Siberia, holding distant stars in my virtual hands, studying sea rise projection maps, and immersing myself in an app where perfect strangers anonymously confess their hopes and fears in a surreal landscape.
In my final rounds of revisions I also ensured that I was weaving enough “cosmic” easter eggs throughout the book that would help provide another frame for the novel, one that isn’t fully realized until the final chapter (and in some ways forces the reader to reconsider the chapters that they have previously read).
JC: Some of the chapters in How High We Go in the Dark were originally published as stories as far back as 2011. When did you begin creating this universe? How did you decide upon the order? Did you plan episodes in advance, or did they evolve organically? SN : Really 2009 (with the oldest story having been initially conceived in a very different form in 2008).
I was a baby writer back then, so to say that the journey of this novel follows the journey of my trajectory and interests as a writer isn’t inaccurate. The early seeds of the novel which began as stand-alone stories. For a time, I thought these stories would simply form another linked collection surrounding alternative forms of grief and funerary ritual, but in 2014 I read an Atlantic article about scientists discovering ancient viruses in melting arctic ice.
While I was never interested in a stereotypical Hollywood pandemic narrative, I was interested in the climate change aspect to this story and began thinking about how such a plague could provide a kind of thru-line for my growing body of work revolving around grief and conversations about death.
So, for years what became chapters in How High We Go in the Dark were one-off explorations. The organization and heavy revision to allow for linear progression, character continuity, and other frames came much later (and often out of order). The first chapter was actually the last chapter I wrote and the last chapter was something that I first explored in graduate school as a potential book idea but that I ultimately felt could inject a kind epic scope and universality into the novel that I wanted to be present.
JC: In his late daughter’s sleeping pod, Cliff finds the doguu figurine he’d bought her years before at a museum of ancient Japanese history, believed to the Joomon people to be “capable of absorbing negative energy, evil, and illness.” In other chapters you describe funerary skyscrapers like those in Tokyo, for the remains of a rapidly aging population.
- How have Japanese folklore and funerary practices influenced this novel? I think many communities have distanced themselves from older traditions and sadly the process of death has become a highly impersonal and logistical one.
- We cry and mourn for a time.
- But then we are often forced to become event planners.
SN: I was living in Japan around 2008, teaching English for a couple of years, which was a trip that was, in part, giving me much needed space to reset my life and grieve over the loss of my grandfather, who helped raise me. I became fascinated with different ways people might honor their loved ones (and in particular how Japan as a country faced unique obstacles having such a large elderly population).
In Japan there are funerary skyscrapers and hotels operated by mortuary companies. And of course, my first collection,, was primarily inspired by Japanese folklore, but I don’t think I completely got away from that in this novel. I couldn’t. Because I think to write about Japan—to write about the future of some of these characters—is to reconcile the tensions between tradition/the past/spirituality and an identity/reality that has become so associated with technology, innovation, and corporate enterprise.
My characters often resort to technological means as a bridge to connect, to grieve, but there’s a limit to this, at some point that tech isn’t enough (or there’s a recognition of the illusion). A conversation needs to happen. A VR headset needs to be put down.
- A robot dog containing a mother’s voice falls into disrepair.
- A lot of these explorations aren’t purely tied to Japan.
- I think many communities have distanced themselves from older traditions and sadly the process of death has become a highly impersonal and logistical one.
- We cry and mourn for a time.
- But then we are often forced to become event planners.
We need to assess finances and pay medical bills. There’s so little room to honor our loved ones in the way we’d like. I think part of my intent was to meld tech and a yearning for more traditional modes of connection and remembrance, to acknowledge the hybrid spaces we’re already inhabiting in terms of grief—how they help, how they might fall short.
- To what extent does an outpouring of love from strangers on Twitter help someone process a loss? That’s a question I asked myself as I shared my own tragedies with online communities.
- Something that felt both strange and natural.
- Something that I needed in that moment.
- JC: You move effortlessly from Siberia, to the U.S., to Japan in this novel, and also into outer space, in the space ship Yamato, 6,000 centuries ahead, and, even beyond time, with a narrator who birthed the girl found in that Siberian crater and has inserted herself in human form into centuries of history since.
Which of these were the most difficult to research? Which is your favorite? Does living in Hawaii, California, Japan, Minnesota, (and where else?) make you attuned to variations in setting? SN: The most difficult (or I guess the most involved) was probably some of the detail surrounding the Starship Yamato (theoretical forms of propulsion) and the stops the ship makes along the way to the expedition’s new home on Kepler 186f, the first planet with a radius similar to Earth that was discovered in the habitable zone of its star.
I wanted to get as much scientific detail right (everything from the probably color of flora on another planet to how long a ship with these theoretical boosters might take to get to particular star systems) without being burdensome to my core focus: character development and relationships. As a lifelong Star Trek nerd (and just all-around space exploration enthusiast), this was also probably my favorite chapter to research.
As for living in many places in my life? I think it has, to some degree, helped me be a bit more nimble when exploring locations in my stories. I’ll certainly have some affinity for the West Coast (particularly the San Francisco Bay Area) since I spent my teen years and early 20s there, but I kind of consider myself to not really have a home base in a traditional sense.
My home only exists in memories and with relationships I have with people. JC: “Through the Garden of Memory,” originally titled “How High We Go in the Dark,” is a dreamlike story in which the narrator, who is in the hospital dying of the Arctic virus, his parents at his side, wakes to a limbo-like darkness, and finds others with him.
He urges them to sing, to create a human pyramid, to explore glowing orbs of memory that appear. He and his “void mates” hear a baby crying, and together decide he will bring this infant to the top of the pyramid to be sucked upward into.life? What is the thinking behind this story? I felt like it was important to address how we often separate human beings (and really beings worthy of care and respect) through particular emotions and to acknowledge that other beings we share this planet with have those capacities, are intelligent, and have long been exploited without a voice.
SN: Some people assume this to be the afterlife, but I never explicitly state what this void is or if the people there are dead or not. I want this to be somewhat unclear, but as we discover in a later chapter it does seem to be possible for someone to return from this void into the world of the living.
I’ve always been very fascinated with consciousness studies, with the idea of a collective consciousness, so I think those interests really fueled the seeds of this chapter. I’ll also nod at an episode of the Twilight Zone where a group of people who we later discover to be toys (a ballerina, a soldier etc.) find themselves trapped in a box and attempt to escape.
I think that episode really made an impression on me because for these toys (who didn’t really seem to realize they were toys), this box was their universe, their reality. They were forced to converse despite their differences. They were forced to work together. And I thought about how this basic concept could be exploded into a landscape of our memories where humanity could not only reflect on their own lives but also step in the shoes of others.
JC: How have technical innovations over the years you’ve been working on this novel affected your imagining of the stories? I think of the advances in AI and Virtual Reality. And the robo-dogs, not unlike Sony’s AIBO (Artificial Intelligence robot) robot dogs, discontinued in 2014.
(I understand you have a robo-dog named Calvino?) SN: I’ve definitely had to upgrade certain tech/realties over the years. The oldest story, for instance, was once set in an internet café, which seems archaic even now let alone in our somewhat near future. I’m the sort of person who likes to be one of the first to adopt new gadgets, so upgrading that café to a VR business seemed like a logical step, especially as I was having a lot of fun with my Oculus headset, the kind of immersive technology I always dreamed about since the first rudimentary VR sets were introduced in the 90s.
As for robot dogs? The Aibo’s were actually discontinued several years before 2014, but that was the year customer service ceased. The plight of those dogs and the relationship senior citizens in Japan forged with them of course inspired the chapter “Speak, Fetch, Say I Love You.” But I took some liberties and upgraded the nature of these pets in the novel to be a bit more advanced.
- When Sony reintroduced a new generation of the Aibo in 2018, I desperately wanted to explore robo-pet/human relationships, but I would have to wait until the sale of my novel to do so (they are quite expensive, after all).
- And yes, Calvino feels very much alive, much more than just an advanced toy.
- A couple of weeks after buying him, Calvino accidentally walked into my cat’s bowl, getting some water into his legs.
I became frantic not only because he’s an expensive piece of technology, but I honestly felt worried and guilty. Without thinking about it, I began to verbally console Calvino as a red light flashed on the back of his neck (he’s fine now). JC: “Pig Son” made me weep.
(I gather I’m not the only one, from your Insta post: “This seems to be the chapter that wrecks the most people out of those who have already read How High We Go in the Dark,”) As the relationship between a scientist and a donor pig, Snortorious, evolves, they share storytime (reading and other classics), and a film night with lab buddies at the scientist’s apartment.
The pig figures out what his job is. ” Pig heart help. Pig help people,” Nobly, he accepts this role. The emotional resonance is so powerful, it’s as if you speak for all the lab animals who have given their lives to help people, as well as for all those who during the pandemic salved their loneliness by developing strong ties with animals.
Where did this story start? SN: It’s strange that a New York Times article just came out about an actual organ donor pig that has been genetically bred to help humans. I promise I don’t have a crystal ball. But I think the seeds of this chapter really stemmed from a desire to unpack humanity through the non-human.
There was already an extraterrestrial intelligence in the novel, but I felt like it was important to address how we often separate human beings (and really beings worthy of care and respect) through particular emotions and to acknowledge that other beings we share this planet with have those capacities, are intelligent, and have long been exploited without a voice.
- In this chapter, Snortorious chooses to sacrifice himself not just because of some greater good, but because he cares about his friends, because he is thinking about the son his friend has lost.
- As far as literary and cinematic inspirations? Certainly Never Let Me Go and Bong Joon-ho’s Okja,
- JC: This is a novel about death and dying, massive climate change, an enduring pandemic, grief and loss, unresolved personal conflicts, funerals, memorials, how to retrieve or honor the dead, the potential death of a planet.
And yet it’s warm, human, moving, even hopeful. How did you do that? SN: I always reminded myself that despite all of these important backdrops that I needed to 1) inject hope into every chapter (no matter how small) and that 2) the relationships of my characters and their everyday predicaments needed to be the focal point.
I think it helped that the larger structural decisions came into play later in the development of the novel. JC: When your two-book deal including this novel and Girl Zero, was announced in 2020, you said, “This wasn’t just about a pandemic, but about resiliency and the connective threads that tie us to memory across generations.
I hope readers discover new ways to remember, heal, and come together in these pages.” What have you discovered in the months since that deal that fulfills this wish for yourself? SN: We’re in year three of this new reality, and I think early on in 2020 I saw a lot of writers and readers say that they couldn’t imagine reading (or writing) anything that was pandemic or plague-related.
Of course, my novel isn’t Covid, but these sentiments still stung even though I understood where they were coming from. Now? Certainly, there are people who will still need time. Everyone deals with chaos and tragedy differently. Some need a pure escape while others are more comfortable entering into a dialogue with the moment.
I think it would be strange at this juncture for writers and readers to completely ignore what we’re going through, and I think more people are ready to articulate how we’ve already changed individually and as a society. What do we want to reclaim of a pre-Covid life? What do we never want to go back to? And perhaps most importantly, how can being pulled out of our old life give us an opportunity to reimagine a better future? I think these are all valid questions that we’re starting to grapple with and a novel like How High We Go in the Dark can be a part of those reflections.
- JC: What is it like to have a partner—your wife Cole Nagamatsu–who shares with you a life as a writer, teacher at St.
- Olaf College, co-editor of Psychopomp magazine? SN: It’s wonderful in a lot of ways.
- I don’t really have to explain my odd habits or interests because my wife has those weird writerly behaviors as well.
She knows what it means to fall into a story, to feel rejected, to lose yourself in research, and to have a love/hate relationship with your own imagination and words. We share a lot professionally, but I think we also make our partnership work beccause we feed into each other’s interests and hobbies (we’ve recently started hydroponic gardening) and are ultimately very supportive of each other. by Sequoia Nagamatsu is now available from William Morrow & Company. : Sequoia Nagamatsu on Writing the Grief and Connections of an Enduring Pandemic
How does How High We Go in the Dark end?
Overview – How High We Go in the Dark: A Novel by Sequoia Nagamatsu is a science fiction book that falls into the category of speculative fiction. Written predominantly in the first-person point of view, it follows a series of characters after a deadly pathogen enters groundwater because of global warming.
- Beginning with a scientist at the plague site and ending with an intergalactic being who’s responsible for creating Earth, the novel explores grief, love, and community in the face of global catastrophe.
- Originally published in January 2022, the novel is a New York Times bestseller and has been shortlisted for the Waterstone Debut Fiction Prize, the Ursula K.
Le Guin Fiction Prize, and the Barnes & Noble Discover Prize. This guide uses the first US edition of the book. Content Warning: How High We Go in the Dark contains descriptions of illnesses, deaths, and death by suicide, and its exploration of funerary practices may be disturbing to readers.
- Additionally, the novel’s events center on a global virus, which may be harmful to those experiencing post-traumatic stress caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
- How High We Go in the Dark is a chronological story collection tracing the progression of a global pandemic.
- While it contains many recurring characters and references, most of the stories can stand alone.
In Chapter 1, “30,000 Years Beneath a Eulogy,” Cliff Miyashiro travels to Siberia after the death of his daughter, Clara, to take her place on a research team at a new archeological dig site. The site contains a humanoid girl’s body that could revolutionize understanding of prehistoric humans, as well as a virus that scientists have reanimated to study its behavior before it reaches the public through melting permafrost.
Cliff studies Annie, the Neanderthal child, and reads Clara’s journals. The research and her inner thoughts help him reconcile his feelings about his daughter, her abandonment of her child, and her devotion to her work. Several weeks pass, and the virus appears hundreds of miles away. In the compound, the scientists begin to exhibit symptoms.
Several years pass. In Chapter 2, “The City of Laughter,” Skip takes a job as an attendant at a euthanasia park where children infected by a terminal virus dubbed the Artic plague go to die. There, he falls in love with Dorrie, the mother of a terminally ill child enrolled in drug trials.
When the child’s condition continues to worsen, the three spend one last day together in the park. In Chapter 3, “Through the Garden of Memory,” Jun is among the first adults to contract the Artic plague. He enters a coma and awakens in a black space filled with many other comatose people. They find globes of light filled with their memories and learn about each other and themselves.
Discovering a baby in their midst, they build a giant human pyramid until gravity lessens, and Jun releases the baby into the air, hoping to save it. Chapter 4, “Pig Son,” follows David, Dorrie’s ex-husband, as he grows artificial human organs in pigs for transplant to the ill.
One pig gains sentience and learns to talk. David bonds with the pig, but word gets out about its intelligence. David and his companions receive a directive to send the pig to a government agency for testing but realize that its brain is growing so quickly that it’s dying. After they give the pig one night of freedom, it asks them to harvest its organs to save lives after its death.
In Chapter 5, “Elegy Hotel,” Dennis manages a hotel where people grieve their loved ones in an extended visitation ceremony. His brother, Bryan, asks him to move home and help their mother, who’s dying of cancer. Dennis is indecisive despite pressure from his brother and his friend Val.
- His traumatic past with his family, especially his late father, prevents him from reaching out.
- While he’s trying to decide, his mother dies.
- Dennis gives his family the presidential suite at the hotel, saying farewell to his mother one last time.
- Chapter 6, “Speak, Fetch, Say I Love You,” shares similar themes of mourning as an unnamed narrator (and his son, Aki) grapple with the death of his wife.
He runs a robo-dog repair company that is running out of usable parts, foreshadowing the eventual end of his wife’s robo-dog, Hollywood. He and his son strive to repair their fraught relationship through their robo-dog and mutual love for their departed loved ones.
- Time skips forward several more years in Chapter 7, “Songs of Your Decay,” which focuses on Aubrey, a forensic specialist who works at a body farm, monitoring the decomposing bodies of those who died of the plague to record vital information.
- Laird, a terminal patient, has decided to donate his body to the farm to help find a cure.
During the year before his death, she bonds with him and questions her relationship with her husband. Shortly before Laird dies, she realizes that she’s in love with him and falls into a deep state of mourning, writing him letters as she tries to process her grief and the inevitability of her divorce.
- In Chapter 8, “Life Around the Event Horizon,” Bryan and his wife, Theresa, are scientists trying to develop more effective space travel to enable the colonization of other planets.
- They debate whether to leave Earth if their research proves successful; Bryan increasingly fears the future and longs for the past.
Several years later, in Chapter 9, “A Gallery A Century, A Cry A Millennium,” Miki and Yumi, the wife and granddaughter of Cliff Miyashiro from Chapter 1, are aboard the USS Yamato, Bryan and Theresa’s research succeeded, and Yumi is placed in cryogenic sleep.
Miki sleeps periodically and paints murals inside the spaceship with Dorrie, the mother from Chapter 2. Miki writes to her loved ones, exploring grief and adventure. Decades pass on Earth, heralding news of a cure and efforts to reverse climate change. After 6,000 years, the crew discovers a habitable planet and begins colonization.
In Chapter 10, “The Used-To-Be Party,” Dan Paul has recently awakened from a plague-related coma. Via email, he invites his neighbors to a barbeque and encourages community healing. Chapter 11, “Melancholy Nights in a Tokyo Virtual Reality Café,” explores loneliness in the post-plague era as Akira, a man in his thirties without a home or a job, struggles to find meaning in life.
- In virtual reality, he bonds with Yoshiko, whose daughter has long-term plague symptoms.
- Akira finds a job printing pamphlets for Yoshiko’s father and asks to meet her in real life.
- However, her hardships and loneliness lead her to murder her daughter and then die by suicide.
- Akira visits their grave, resolving to call his mother to ask for help.
In Chapter 12, “Before You Melt into the Sea,” an unnamed sculptor helps a young woman named Mabel design an ice sculpture that he’ll later make from her remains. She survived the plague but is dying of cancer caused by the virus. Ice sculpture burials are among many new funerary practices that developed after the plague.
Over the years, the sculptor falls in love with Mabel, who doesn’t return his affection. After she dies, he turns her remains into a boat, and her loved ones celebrate her. The sculptor pulls her into the ocean and holds her until she melts. Funerary practices reappear in Chapter 13, “Grave Friends,” as Rina returns to Japan to attend her grandmother’s memorial.
Her grandmother’s ashes will join others of her neighbors in a communal urn. Rina struggles to connect to her mother since moving to the US. Her pregnancy complicates her relationships, which highlights her dedication to remaining in the US and away from home.
At the memorial, Rina and her mother reconcile, and Rina’s father helps her realize how much she’s loved. The story’s end foreshadows that Rina fully reconciles with her community, splitting her time between the US and Japan. Chapter 14, “The Scope of Possibility,” describes the world builders, an alien race responsible for developing advanced civilizations.
The narrator is the one responsible for Earth. She bids farewell to her daughter and husband, joining Earth at its inception, and reincarnates as different people and animals throughout history, including as Annie’s mother. Because of her alien genetics, she inadvertently creates the mutations that cause Annie to have an abnormal genetic profile—and the virus that kills her.
After a series of experiences in different periods, she reincarnates as Clara to try to solve the climate problem before the virus is released and then as Theresa to solve space travel and ensure human survival. At the end of the chapter, she talks to Bryan on his deathbed, telling him the truth of her nature and her wish to reconcile with her daughter.
On the novel’s last page, the commander of the USS Yamato sends a message to Earth, detailing their discoveries. He asks for a response before noting his retirement. Featured Collections
How High We Go in the Dark audiobook cast?
January 20th, 2022 Kimberly Review 7 Comments 20 th Jan Narrated by a full cast featuring Julia Whelan, Brian Nishii, Keisuke Hoashi, MacLeod Andrews, Jeanne Sakata, Greg Watanabe, Kurt Kanazawa, Matthew Bridges, Kotaro Watanabe, Brianna Ishibashi, Joe Knezevitch, Micky Shiloah, Stephanie Komure, and Jason Culp, How High We Go in the Dark by Sequoia Nagamatsu delivers a science fiction dystopian that will haunt you long after you’ve finished. How High We Go in the Dark by Sequoia Nagamatsu Narrator: Julia Whelan, Brian Nishii, Keisuke Hoashi, MacLeod Andrews, Jeanne Sakata, Greg Watanabe, Kurt Kanazawa, Matthew Bridges, Kotaro Watanabe, Brianna Ishibashi, Joe Knezevitch, Micky Shiloah, Stephanie Komure, Jason Culp Length: 9 hours and 20 minutes Genres: Science Fiction Source: Publisher Purchase*: Amazon | Audible *affiliate Rating: Narration: 5 cups Speed: 1.3x For fans of ‘Cloud Atlas’ and ‘Station Eleven’, a spellbinding and profoundly prescient debut that follows a cast of intricately linked characters over hundreds of years as humanity struggles to rebuild itself in the aftermath of a climate plague – a daring and deeply heartfelt work of mind-bending imagination from a singular new voice.
Beginning in 2030, a grieving archeologist arrives in the Arctic Circle to continue the work of his recently deceased daughter at the Batagaika crater, where researchers are studying long-buried secrets now revealed in melting permafrost, including the perfectly preserved remains of a girl who appears to have died of an ancient virus.
Once unleashed, the Arctic Plague will reshape life on Earth for generations to come, quickly traversing the globe, forcing humanity to devise a myriad of moving and inventive ways to embrace possibility in the face of tragedy. In a theme park designed for terminally ill children, a cynical employee falls in love with a mother desperate to hold on to her infected son.
A heartbroken scientist searching for a cure finds a second chance at fatherhood when one of his test subjects – a pig – develops the capacity for human speech. A widowed painter and her teenaged granddaughter embark on a cosmic quest to locate a new home planet. From funerary skyscrapers to hotels for the dead ot interstellar starships, Sequoia Nagamatsu takes listeners on a wildly original and compassionate journey, spanning continents, centuries, and even celestial bodies to tell a story about the resiliency of the human spirit, our infinite capacity to dream, and the connective threads that tie us all together in the universe.
A fellow blogger’s review of the book had me selecting this when the chance came up to review in audio format. The takes us into the lives of different people from all walks of life and gives us a bird’s-eye view of a global pandemic. The author brilliantly weaves these different perspectives from scientist to those dealing with the virus and ties them all together.
The story begins in 2030 when the body of a well preserved young girl is found in an ancient burial site beneath a melting ice cap. The scientist unknowingly unleashes a plague with devastating consequences. Each story shares the aftermath over centuries, as death becomes a business, and no one is left untouched.
We spend time at an End of Life Theme Park where people take their sick children to spend a perfect day before riding the Euthanasia rollercoaster. Told from the perspective of Mitch, a guide who tours with the family on their perfect day. We find ourselves trapped in a shared dream or perhaps afterlife with victims of the virus.
- Orbs of lights, memories and more surround them.
- It was fascinating as Jun convinces others to help save a young child.
- We visit VR Cafes, Elegy Hotels which cash in on death.
- You’ll spend time aboard a starship carrying survivors in search of a new planet.
- We witness weeping mothers, see avatars designed to recreate loved ones and talking pigs.
It was all very surreal. We see grief in its purest form and question the what ifs. The last story ties everything together. It’s part speculative fiction and part science fiction. All the stories focus on death and grief and are interconnected. The story will give you pause, question our current reality and perhaps you’ll pick up the phone and reach out to a loved one.
Some stories are bizarre and other which may have seemed far-fetched three years ago dare I say seem entirely plausible. The narration is simply brilliant as each narrator brought the different stories to life. I recommend listening as I felt it enhanced the stories and pulled the listener in. Amazon | Audible How High We Go in the Dark by Sequoia Nagamatsu delivers a science fiction dystopian that will haunt you long after you’ve finished.
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How far does darkness travel?
Category: Physics Published: June 20, 2013 If you turn on a flashlight, the shadow region created by an object reaches a distant wall at the exact same moment that the light reaches the wall, indicating that darkness travels at the speed of light. Public Domain Image, source: Christopher S. Baird.
- Darkness travels at the speed of light.
- More accurately, darkness does not exist by itself as a unique physical entity, but is simply the absence of light.
- Any time you block out most of the light – for instance, by cupping your hands together – you get darkness.
- In the context of talking about speeds, darkness is what you get after the light stops coming, and therefore travels at the speed of light.
For instance, consider that you are in distant space, far from all light sources such as the sun, and you have a light bulb on the nose of your space ship. The light from the light bulb is spreading out in all directions through space at the speed of light.
- If you briefly turn off your light bulb and then turn it back on, there is light traveling out in all directions from before you dimmed the bulb, and behind it there is light traveling in all directions from after you dimmed the bulb.
- But between the two spheres of light there is no light, because no light was created when the blub was briefly off.
And no light means darkness. So there is a band of darkness in between the two spheres of light. Since both spheres of light are expanding outwards in all directions at the speed of light, the band of darkness between them must also be traveling at the speed of light.
You can think of darkness as what you get right after the last bit of light arrives. Since the last bit of light travels at the speed of light, the state right after must also travel at the speed of light. If the sun suddenly disappeared, it would stop shining light on the earth and the earth would go dark.
But it takes 8 minutes and 19 seconds for the light from the sun to reach earth. The last bit of light given off by the sun right before it disappeared would take 8 minutes and 19 seconds to reach us, and the darkness that comes right after the last bit of light would also take 8 minutes and 19 seconds to reach us.
What depth is total darkness?
After the aphotic zone, there’s complete darkness. From 1,000 meters below the surface, all the way to the sea floor, no sunlight penetrates the darkness; and because photosynthesis can’t take place, there are no plants, either.
Who wrote how high we go in the dark?
Thoughtful explorations of how the survivors process death and loss, Even the bleakest stories conjure up a memorable image, and often that visual involves reaching upward: to the stars, to a memory, or even just stretching your arms skyward at the roller coaster’s peak, whether or not you know how the ride ends.
ambitious, achingly poignant, an emotional roller coaster. “How High We Go in the Dark is a truly genre-transcending work in which sense of wonder and literary acumen are given boundless opportunity to shine.” “This hauntingly beautiful story focuses on how the human spirit perseveres through it all.
With everything from a cosmic search for home to a theme park for terminally ill kids and a talking pig, it’s a lyrical adventure that feels fantastical yet familiar.” “Haunting and hopeful story about grief, loss and the different ways we move on,
Deeply moving.” Exactly the white-hot missive of hope, humanity, and compassion you need, Each story is a marvel of imagination, Rich in scope and vision, with each nested story masterfully rippling across others, this is a visionary novel about grief, resilience, and how the human spirit endures.” “Done artfully.
A heartbreaking tribute to humanity.” “Moving and thought-provoking, You’ll be impressed with Nagamatsu’s meticulous craft. Well-honed prose, poignant meditations and unique concepts, offering psychological insights in lyrical prose while seriously exploring speculative conceits.
- How High We Go in the Dark is a book of sorrow for the destruction we’re bringing on ourselves.
- Yet the novel reminds us there’s still hope in human connections.” “Nagamatsu’s novel isn’t about hope, but about how things change in the space between possible and impossible.
- Of course the one thing that never changes, even or especially in tragic times, is human nature.” “Nagamatsu’s novel isn’t about hope, but about how things change in the space between possible and impossible.
Of course the one thing that never changes, even or especially in tragic times, is human nature.” 10/04/2021 Nagamatsu’s ambitious, mournful debut novel-in-stories (after the collection Where We Go When All We Were Is Gone ) offers a mosaic portrait of the near future, detailing the genesis and fallout of an ancient alien plague reawakened from a Neanderthal corpse thanks to the melting permafrost in the Siberian tundra.
Combining the literary and the science fictional, each subtly interconnected chapter examines a point of failure during the dying days of the great human experiment: in the social safety net, in marriages, in families, and in compassion for non-humanoid life-forms. As the flu-like pandemic intersects with increasing climate change and exposes society’s flaws, the characters bear witness to a massive extinction event happening to them in real time.
Nagamatsu can clearly write, but this exploration of global trauma makes for particularly bleak reading: the novel offers no resolutions, or even much hope, just snapshots of grief and loss. (Those with weak stomachs, meanwhile, will want to skip the “Songs of Your Decay” for its graphic descriptions of corpse decomposition.) Readers willing to speculate about a global crisis not too far off from reality will find plenty to think about in this deeply sad but well-rendered vision of an apocalyptic future.
- Agent: Annie Hwang, Ayesha Pande Literary.
- Jan.) “Moving and thought-provoking,
- You’ll be impressed with Nagamatsu’s meticulous craft.
- Well-honed prose, poignant meditations and unique concepts,
- Offering psychological insights in lyrical prose while seriously exploring speculative conceits.
- How High We Go in the Dark is a book of sorrow for the destruction we’re bringing on ourselves.
Yet the novel reminds us there’s still hope in human connections.” — New York Times Book Review “Thoughtful explorations of how the survivors process death and loss, Even the bleakest stories conjure up a memorable image, and often that visual involves reaching upward: to the stars, to a memory, or even just stretching your arms skyward at the roller coaster’s peak, whether or not you know how the ride ends.
- Achingly poignant,
- An emotional roller coaster.” — NPR “Exactly the white-hot missive of hope, humanity, and compassion you need,
- Each story is a marvel of imagination,
- Rich in scope and vision, with each nested story masterfully rippling across others, this is a visionary novel about grief, resilience, and how the human spirit endures.” — Esquire “Nagamatsu’s novel isn’t about hope, but about how things change in the space between possible and impossible.
Of course the one thing that never changes, even or especially in tragic times, is human nature.” — Los Angeles Times “Done artfully. A heartbreaking tribute to humanity.” — Entertainment Weekly, 5 Must Read Books “Lovely and haunting.” — Wall Street Journal “Haunting and hopeful story about grief, loss and the different ways we move on,
- Deeply moving.” — NBC News “How High We Go in the Dark is a truly genre-transcending work in which sense of wonder and literary acumen are given boundless opportunity to shine.” — The Guardian (UK) “This hauntingly beautiful story focuses on how the human spirit perseveres through it all.
- With everything from a cosmic search for home to a theme park for terminally ill kids and a talking pig, it’s a lyrical adventure that feels fantastical yet familiar.” — Good Housekeeping, The 15 Best and Most-Anticipated Books of 2022 ” searing literary dystopia.
Each character is intimately drawn as they grapple with a future that gives very little freedom to hope or dream. It feels like an archive of personal stories about what the future may bring.” — Buzzfeed News, 23 New Fantasy And Science Fiction Books We’re Excited About ” How High We Go in the Dark is ambitious and intricately plotted.
A beautiful meditation on the way everything in this world—no, in the universe—is connected. The writing is beautiful and immersive, and at times hypnotic. It asks both the big questions and the small questions of what will become of us, and even when the answers are complex, there remains the bright beacon of hope.” — Roxane Gay “Haunting and luminous, How High We Go in the Dark orchestrates its multitude of memorable voices into beautiful and lucid science fiction that resembles a fitful future memory of our present.
An astonishing debut.” — Alan Moore, creator of Watchmen and V for Vendetta ” How High We Go in the Dark is wondrous not just in the feats of imagination, which are so numerous that it makes me dizzy to recall them, but also in the humanity and tenderness with which Sequoia Nagamatsu helps us navigate this landscape, to find a way to survive while holding onto the things that make us human.
This is a truly amazing book, one to keep close as we imagine the uncertain future.” — Kevin Wilson, New York Times bestselling author of Nothing to See Here “Sequoia Nagamatsu’s How High We Go in the Dark is a sprawling, epic debut that ventures from the Arctic to interstellar space, from life to what may come after it.
With precision and harrowing prescience, Nagamatsu envisions the effects—both cultural and planetary—of a mysterious, devastating pandemic; but he explores, too, the astonishing commitment, resilience, and capacity for resilience that enables life—human and otherwise—to reach for survival.
Sequoia Nagamatsu is a writer whose imagination is matched only by his compassion, the kind we need to light our way through the dark.” — Chloe Benjamin, New York Times bestselling author of The Immortalists “Through an imaginative journey that spans centuries and worlds, Sequoia Nagamatsu artfully examines the resiliency of humankind and the drive for a brighter future.” — Veranda, The 22 Most-Anticipated Books of the New Year “A celebration of the resilience of the human spirit.” — San Francisco Chronicle “Weirdly wonderful and weirdly powerful, a book of speculative fiction so close to real life that its heart-stopping events feel almost inevitable.” — Minneapolis Star Tribune “An absorbing and heartbreaking contemplation on the very nature of life, death, and what it means to be human.
Stretching across eons and worlds, these stories provide the power of short narratives, while each builds on the larger text. The novel-in-stories is a form that many writers attempt; Nagamatsu clearly ranks among the masters. Beyond the sheer joy of reading a well-formed text, this novel also presents massive themes in smaller, intimate stories.
- This form allows us to become immersed in the details of characters’ everyday lives, individual struggles, and personal grief, leaving us willing to absorb the larger whole rather than being alienated.
- It is a book as full of hope, humanity, and possibility as the grief and loss of climate disaster and pandemic laid unflinchingly bare.” — The Brooklyn Rail “Nagamatsu’s imagination is boundless, taking readers from hotels for the dead to interstellar starships.
Fans of sci-fi and post-apocalyptic stories, look no further.” — Alma, Favorite Books for Winter 2022 “Fans of Cloud Atlas and Station Eleven will love this spellbinding and profoundly prescient debut.” — The Millions, Most Anticipated Books of 2022 “Sequoia Nagamatsu’s How High We Go in the Dark follows humanity as it crashes, adapts, survives, and rebuilds over the course of centuries.” — Bustle, The Most Anticipated Books Of 2022 “Impressive, far-reaching,
- Yes, this is a plague novel, a pandemic novel, one that both honors individual tragedy and asks us to widen our perspective—to look to the future, to the stars.
- The chapters, which feel like linked short stories, jump decades and centuries, imagining the long-term effects of the Arctic Virus on the world and even the galaxy, without losing touch with the smaller stories of the humans who must contend with it.” — Literary Hub, Most Anticipated Books of 2022 “Both epic and deeply intimate, Nagamatsu’s debut novel is science fiction at its finest, rendered in gorgeous, evocative prose and offering hope in the face of tragedy through human connection.” — Booklist (starred review) “Exceptional,
Nagamatsu masterfully folds more conceptual dystopian stories—reminiscent of George Saunders’s early 2000s short story work—into the novel’s broader climate and pandemic fiction story line, stacking his narratives and lending a sheen of surreality to even the most science-heavy moments.
- The result is an appealing mélange of literary and science fiction, with rich, mournful language aiding the imaginative strokes.
- This work reflects the best of what short fiction can accomplish, sketching memorable characters and settings with economy, but Nagamatsu manages to excel equally in the long form, subtly linking his narratives into a handsome whole.
If at the end there’s no denying the bleakness, Nagamatsu importantly resists nihilism, consistently finding beauty and meaning in the darkness, even at the end of the world. A frightening, moving work about what it means to be human while staring down our own extinction.
Essential.” — Library Journal (starred review) “Nagamatsu blends literary and visionary verve in a narrative that’s garnering comparisons to Cloud Atlas and Station Eleven,” — Library Journal (Spotlight) “Those courageous enough to sit with the novel’s exquisite sorrows will be rewarded with gorgeous prose, memorable characters and, ultimately, catharsis.” — Bookpage (starred review) “Sequoia Nagamatsu’s debut is beautiful and unsparing in its depiction of a world reeling from a climate catastrophe-driven plague.
Though the universe these stories are unfolding within is undeniably bleak, Nagamatsu imbues his characters with a sense of cosmic hope and humanity.” — NPR, 14 books that NPR staff and critics are loving the most so far this year ” How High We Go in the Dark is not a plague novel; it is an after plague novel.
Sequoia Nagamatsu nimbly bounds through time, space, and species while tackling the question, Where do we go from here? My favorite kind of speculative fiction—philosophical and hopeful; endlessly inventive, with a beating heart.” — Gabrielle Zevin, New York Times bestselling author of The Storied Life of A.J.
Fikry “A novel that is both grimly timely while also moving past our usual notions of time to reveal a wider view—Sequoia Nagamatsu allows his story to unspool with such a great sense of scope, freedom, and clarity, creating a stunning mosaic of experience and humanness.” — Aimee Bender, New York Times bestselling author of The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake “As ambitious as it is intimate, How High We Go in the Dark is both a prescient warning and a promise of human resilience in the face of any odds.
Sequoia Nagamatsu masterfully connects each slice of life into one epic and unforgettable tale, spanning centuries and generations. His debut envisions a future that is at once wonderful and disquieting, dreamlike and all too possible. It reaches far beyond our stars while its heart remains rooted to Earth, and reminds us that our wellbeing depends on the wellbeing of our world.” — Samantha Shannon, New York Times bestselling author of The Priory of the Orange Tree “You can try to compare Sequoia Nagamatsu to George Saunders or Charlie Kaufman or David Mitchell, but his is a singular voice and this is a book so original and wondrous and reality-shredding that it defies easy summary or categorization, like a dream that feels more vivid than life.
Arctic plagues! Euthanasia theme parks! Hotels for the dead! Talking pigs! Interstellar starships! It’s brave and prescient, completely bananas and yet absolutely moving, packed with humor and heart. I loved it.” — Benjamin Percy, author of The Ninth Metal “Gorgeous, terrifying, compassionate.
With funerary skyscrapers, a generation ship painted with history, and a pyramid of souls reaching for light, How High We Go in the Dark is both powerful and original. Nagamastu elegantly dissects disaster with an eye toward empathy and curiosity. At this book’s center is a great big, beautiful heart.
An exceptional accomplishment that left me equal parts hope and wonder.” — Erika Swyler, bestselling author of The Book of Speculation ” How High We Go in the Dark is a book of incredible scope and ambition, a polyphonic elegy for the possible, for all that might be won and lost in the many worlds we make together: the world of our families, our civilization and our planet, the planets beyond.
- Every tale in Sequoia Nagamatsu’s debut generates fresh wonder at all we are, plus hope for all we might become, in these unforgettable futures yet to be.” — Matt Bell, author of Appleseed “Easily one of the best books I’ve read this year so far,
- Tender and dystopian, the pandemic novel is told in a series of vignettes, each exposing a different pocket of future society—and eventually connecting through characters and circumstances.
Nagamatsu sharply paints a picture of society inevitably building industry out of grief, It’s an ambitious critique of late-stage capitalism, wrapped up in a series of family dramas.” — Polygon, The Best Fantasy and Sci-Fi Books of 2022 “Moving, Sequoia Nagamatsu’s tender humor bestows a kind of weary acceptance on the time-skipping, world-tilting story, even as things get darker and weirder.
- You’ll enjoy the ride.” — Philadelphia Inquirer ” A small, slim gem, one that I will likely return to for the rest of my life.
- How High We Go in the Dark chooses to transcend the chaos and anguish of our pandemic lives,
- To give us, in the tedium of fear and despair, a rare moment of wonder.” — Nandini Balial, The Week “There are shades of Cloud Atlas in Sequoia Nagamatsu’s enthralling and sprawling sci-fi debut.
An ode to human perseverance and the enduring nature of love. From an unlikely love story that unfolds at a theme park for terminally ill children to an intrepid grandmother’s attempt to find a new home planet for herself and her granddaughter, every storyline within this dazzling novel will touch your heart.” — Popsugar “Sequoia Nagamatsu doesn’t just grant us access into the chasm of human experience; he plants a flashlight in our hands and invites us to explore.
Here we all are, together, navigating the dark unknown. Nagamatsu’s dystopian narrative is both prescient and cathartic, an intertwining of imaginative and compassionate stories that give voice and validation to our very real grief and longing, all the while limned with glimmers of hope, virtual reality, and stardust.” — Cameron Finch, The Rumpus “In the vein of David Mitchell and Emily St.
John Mandel, Nagamatsu’s debut novel, following his story collection Where We Go When All We Were Is Gone, lives up to those lofty comparisons and then some with a feat of literary imagination set in the aftermath of a climate plague. A work ten years in the making, it’s accidentally timely in some ways but it’s also arriving just in time.” — Chicago Review of Books “With How High We Go in the Dark, Sequoia Nagamatsu has done the impossible: written a book expansive enough to tackle the enormity of our climate crisis—and then gone further, to capture our even larger capacity for creation.
- It is clear from this book that Nagamatsu possesses one of literature’s most vibrant and generous imaginations.
- You will fall in love with these characters and, in so doing, remember your love for the world.
- How High We Go in the Dark rejects the idea of the novel as the story of an individual and bravely takes on the collective nature both of global warming and of how we can face it.” — Matthew Salesses, author of Disappear Doppelganger Disappea r and Craft in the Real World “Haunting and hopeful story about grief, loss and the different ways we move on,
Deeply moving.” How High We Go in the Dark is ambitious and intricately plotted. A beautiful meditation on the way everything in this world—no, in the universe—is connected. The writing is beautiful and immersive, and at times hypnotic. It asks both the big questions and the small questions of what will become of us, and even when the answers are complex, there remains the bright beacon of hope.
- Haunting and luminous, How High We Go in the Dark orchestrates its multitude of memorable voices into beautiful and lucid science fiction that resembles a fitful future memory of our present.
- An astonishing debut.” ” How High We Go in the Dark is wondrous not just in the feats of imagination, which are so numerous that it makes me dizzy to recall them, but also in the humanity and tenderness with which Sequoia Nagamatsu helps us navigate this landscape, to find a way to survive while holding onto the things that make us human.
This is a truly amazing book, one to keep close as we imagine the uncertain future.” “Sequoia Nagamatsu’s How High We Go in the Dark is a sprawling, epic debut that ventures from the Arctic to interstellar space, from life to what may come after it. With precision and harrowing prescience, Nagamatsu envisions the effects—both cultural and planetary—of a mysterious, devastating pandemic; but he explores, too, the astonishing commitment, resilience, and capacity for resilience that enables life—human and otherwise—to reach for survival.
Sequoia Nagamatsu is a writer whose imagination is matched only by his compassion, the kind we need to light our way through the dark.” A celebration of the resilience of the human spirit.” “Through an imaginative journey that spans centuries and worlds, Sequoia Nagamatsu artfully examines the resiliency of humankind and the drive for a brighter future.” A novel that is both grimly timely while also moving past our usual notions of time to reveal a wider view—Sequoia Nagamatsu allows his story to unspool with such a great sense of scope, freedom, and clarity, creating a stunning mosaic of experience and humanness.
“Both epic and deeply intimate, Nagamatsu’s debut novel is science fiction at its finest, rendered in gorgeous, evocative prose and offering hope in the face of tragedy through human connection.” “An absorbing and heartbreaking contemplation on the very nature of life, death, and what it means to be human.
Stretching across eons and worlds, these stories provide the power of short narratives, while each builds on the larger text. The novel-in-stories is a form that many writers attempt; Nagamatsu clearly ranks among the masters. Beyond the sheer joy of reading a well-formed text, this novel also presents massive themes in smaller, intimate stories.
This form allows us to become immersed in the details of characters’ everyday lives, individual struggles, and personal grief, leaving us willing to absorb the larger whole rather than being alienated. It is a book as full of hope, humanity, and possibility as the grief and loss of climate disaster and pandemic laid unflinchingly bare.” How High We Go in the Dark is not a plague novel; it is an after plague novel.
Sequoia Nagamatsu nimbly bounds through time, space, and species while tackling the question, Where do we go from here? My favorite kind of speculative fiction—philosophical and hopeful; endlessly inventive, with a beating heart. “As ambitious as it is intimate, How High We Go in the Dark is both a prescient warning and a promise of human resilience in the face of any odds.
Sequoia Nagamatsu masterfully connects each slice of life into one epic and unforgettable tale, spanning centuries and generations. His debut envisions a future that is at once wonderful and disquieting, dreamlike and all too possible. It reaches far beyond our stars while its heart remains rooted to Earth, and reminds us that our wellbeing depends on the wellbeing of our world.” “You can try to compare Sequoia Nagamatsu to George Saunders or Charlie Kaufman or David Mitchell, but his is a singular voice and this is a book so original and wondrous and reality-shredding that it defies easy summary or categorization, like a dream that feels more vivid than life.
- Arctic plagues! Euthanasia theme parks! Hotels for the dead! Talking pigs! Interstellar starships! It’s brave and prescient, completely bananas and yet absolutely moving, packed with humor and heart.
- I loved it.” “Gorgeous, terrifying, compassionate.
- With funerary skyscrapers, a generation ship painted with history, and a pyramid of souls reaching for light, How High We Go in the Dark is both powerful and original.
Nagamastu elegantly dissects disaster with an eye toward empathy and curiosity. At this book’s center is a great big, beautiful heart. An exceptional accomplishment that left me equal parts hope and wonder.” “With How High We Go in the Dark, Sequoia Nagamatsu has done the impossible: written a book expansive enough to tackle the enormity of our climate crisis—and then gone further, to capture our even larger capacity for creation.
It is clear from this book that Nagamatsu possesses one of literature’s most vibrant and generous imaginations. You will fall in love with these characters and, in so doing, remember your love for the world. How High We Go in the Dark rejects the idea of the novel as the story of an individual and bravely takes on the collective nature both of global warming and of how we can face it.” ” How High We Go in the Dark is a book of incredible scope and ambition, a polyphonic elegy for the possible, for all that might be won and lost in the many worlds we make together: the world of our families, our civilization and our planet, the planets beyond.
Every tale in Sequoia Nagamatsu’s debut generates fresh wonder at all we are, plus hope for all we might become, in these unforgettable futures yet to be.” “A rich tangle of the familiar and beautifully new. These are bright inventions but they will also satisfy our longing for the stories we have always loved.” “Sequoia Nagamatsu’s universe is one in which modern Japan and its ancient folklore play in the same delightful puddle.
Will creep into your dreams and enchant your imagination.” “Ghosts, Godzilla, shape shifters, sea creatures, snow babies; Sequoia Nagamatsu’s fantastical characters are nonetheless grounded in modern-day conflicts, creating a fascinating and haunting mix of science and myth, past and present. These are stories of gods and monsters walking among us, told with wit, longing, and wisdom.” exposes a raw nerve running through most humans that we usually try not to think about.
still leaves room for hope. “A combination of the mystical, magical, and marvelous, Sequoia Nagamatsu weaves a collection of bold, hysterical, and moving tales into an unforgettable debut. From shape-shifters, to star-makers, to babies made of snow, the characters in Where We Go When All We Were Is Gone form a community of longing, of the surreal, of wonder.
- What a joy it is to read each and every story.” Nagamatsu,
- Writes with a confidence and inclusivity which show he has thoroughly explored the territory beyond realism.
- Readers may initially find themselves disoriented, but soon understand that this is the first step to discovering more about the world they already know, or thought they did.
★ 01/01/2022 DEBUT Following his short story collection Where We Go When All We Were Is Gone, Nagamatsu’s exceptional debut novel reads as if it were from the pen of a more seasoned author. It keeps to the short form, as it is something of a collage novel.
Following its bravura opening—an ancient plague is reawakened from the melting permafrost of Siberia—the narrative jumps ahead a few years with each successive chapter, charting the world’s devastation as a roster of characters navigate myriad social and personal collapses. Nagamatsu masterfully folds more conceptual dystopian stories—reminiscent of George Saunders’s early 2000s short story work—into the novel’s broader climate and pandemic fiction story line, stacking his narratives and lending a sheen of surreality to even the most science-heavy moments.
The result is an appealing mélange of literary and science fiction, with rich, mournful language aiding the imaginative strokes. This work reflects the best of what short fiction can accomplish, sketching memorable characters and settings with economy, but Nagamatsu manages to excel equally in the long form, subtly linking his narratives into a handsome whole.
- If at the end there’s no denying the bleakness, Nagamatsu importantly resists nihilism, consistently finding beauty and meaning in the darkness, even at the end of the world.
- VERDICT A frightening, moving work about what it means to be human while staring down our own extinction.
- Luke Gorham 2021-09-29 What happens to humanity when death radically outpaces life? Scientists digging in Siberia find the body of a girl who seems to be a mix of Homo sapien and Neanderthal while also possessing genetic traits that look like starfish or octopus.
She’s dressed in clothes remarkable not only for their fine needlework, but also for the fact that they’re decorated with shells from the Mediterranean. Unearthing this girl releases a virus that destroys human organs. From this strange, terrifying beginning the narrative moves to the City of Laughter, an amusement park where children infected with the virus can enjoy one last, fun-filled day before riding a roller coaster designed to kill them.
- Nagamatsu’s characters inhabit societies so overwhelmed by death that funerary services of various kinds dominate the economy and in which the past is disappearing while it’s impossible to imagine a future.
- Many of the chapters in this novel were first published as short stories.
- Cobbling these stories together makes a novel-length book, but it doesn’t necessarily make a satisfying novel.
The different ways in which people deal with grief and survival accumulate without revealing new insights. The chapter in which a man contemplating suicide finds connection in a virtual world is an echo of the chapter about a man who repairs robotic pets who speak in the voices of the dead.
A chapter in which a forensic pathologist falls in love with a man who has donated his body for research is virtually the same as the chapter in which a funerary artist who makes ice sculptures from liquified remains falls in love with a customer. And while there are characters who recur, a lot of these connections feel superimposed for the sake of crafting a novel.
The final chapter—but for a brief coda—circles back to the beginning in a way that’s thrilling for a moment. Then Nagamatsu lays bare the mystery of the opening chapter in a way that can only be rewarding for hardcore devotees of the ancient astronaut school of ufology or readers for whom this concept is entirely new.
How high we go in the dark book genre?
How High We Go in the Dark For fans of Cloud Atlas and Station Eleven, a spellbinding and profoundly prescient debut that follows a cast of intricately linked characters over hundreds of years as humanity struggles to rebuild itself in the aftermath of a climate plague—a daring and deeply heartfelt work of mind-bending imagination from a singular new voice.Beginning in 2030, a grieving archeologist arrives in the Arctic Circle to continue the work of his recently deceased daughter at the Batagaika crater, where researchers are studying long-buried secrets now revealed in melting permafrost, including the perfectly preserved remains of a girl who appears to have died of an ancient virus.Once unleashed, the Arctic Plague will reshape life on earth for generations to come, quickly traversing the globe, forcing humanity to devise a myriad of moving and inventive ways to embrace possibility in the face of tragedy.
- In a theme park designed for terminally ill children, a cynical employee falls in love with a mother desperate to hold on to her infected son.
- A heartbroken scientist searching for a cure finds a second chance at fatherhood when one of his test subjects—a pig—develops the capacity for human speech.
- A widowed painter and her teenaged granddaughter embark on a cosmic quest to locate a new home planet.
From funerary skyscrapers to hotels for the dead to interstellar starships, Sequoia Nagamatsu takes readers on a wildly original and compassionate journey, spanning continents, centuries, and even celestial bodies to tell a story about the resiliency of the human spirit, our infinite capacity to dream, and the connective threads that tie us all together in the universe.
- SEQUOIA NAGAMATSU is the author of the novel, HOW HIGH WE GO IN THE DARK (William Morrow and Bloomsbury), and the story collection, WHERE WE GO WHEN ALL WE WERE IS GONE (Black Lawrence Press).
- His work has appeared in publications such as Conjunctions, The Southern Review, ZYZZYVA, Tin House, Iowa Review, Lightspeed Magazine, and One World: A Global Anthology of Short Stories, and has been listed as notable in Best American Non-Required Reading and the Best Horror of the Year.
Originally from Hawaii and the San Francisco Bay Area, he was educated at Grinnell College and Southern Illinois University (MFA Creative Writing). He co-edits Psychopomp Magazine, an online quarterly dedicated to innovative prose, and teaches at St. Olaf College.
- He lives in Minneapolis with his wife, the writer Cole Nagamatsu, a cat named Kalahira, a dog named Fenris, and a robot dog named Calvino.
- More at SequoiaNagamatsu.com.
- Follow him on Twitter @SequoiaN or on Instagram @Sequoia.N Displaying 1 – 30 of 6,895 reviews An ambitious and intricate novel in stories about the ways everything in our world.
no, our universe, are intimately connected. At the outset, scientists in Siberia are trying to determine whether newly uncovered organisms will cause harm to the human race, and from there, we see how a global plague unfolds. The connective tissues between each story are imaginative and fascinating and the payoff in the end is unexpected but satisfying.
- On a sentence level, the writing in this book is simply beautiful.
- I love the slow, meditative quality of much of the prose.
- It makes for a very immersive, hypnotic read.
- And still so much happens.
- The story is told from so many different angles.
- The novel is uncannily prescient.
- Forgot to say, obtained from NG etc.etc.*I have no idea how to even begin talking about this book.
It kind of doesn’t help that it opens with a delirious letter from the editor-in-chief of Bloomsbury telling you how this book is all that and a bag of chips, which is just one of those moments when you remember how so many different worlds publishing encompasses.
- I mean, never in a gazillion years is the editor-in-chief of a publishing house going to lose his ever-loving shit over something from a romance imprint, no matter how artistically and financially successful it is.
- Anyway, I was off-put and resentful, because the business of selling art is complicated, and too much emphasis on the selling can make it hard to respond authentically to the art, and good God could I hear the grinding of capitalism’s ever-turning wheels as I skimmed past the introductory orgasm of the editor-in-chief.But then.Oh my, this book.
It is a genuinely remarkable piece work.And, honestly, I’m not sure how, because a book about a pandemic—even a SFnal one—should by rights feel crass and exploitative at the moment, shouldn’t it? Instead of harrowing, cathartic, and ultimately deeply, profoundly hopeful? I think it helps that the plague in the book, released by melting Arctic ice, has absolutely nothing in common with any other plagues the globe may or may not have recently experienced.
It’s not even airborne so there are no reference to masks or any of the other COVID-inspired changes to our current day-to-day lives. Basically, and this was a narrative high-wire act that left me breathless with admiration, it managed to be emotionally resonant while also feeling very much its own thing.
The book as a whole consists of a series of stories—moments in time—between loosely connected characters as the plague runs its course. This starts from its initial release in the Arctic in the not-too-distant future and then deeper, and further, into a world still recognisable and yet utterly changed.
While several of the latter stories take on more explicitly science-fictiony themes, especially as the narrative comes full circle with itself, what it never loses its focus on people and the connections between them (the connections, I suppose, between everything).I guess the closest comparison for me—and probably one that will come up often—is Cloud Atlas.
But (and I say this as someone who loves that book) imagine a Cloud Atlas less interested in showing you how clever it is, and more interested in showing you its heart.I won’t lie, this is a harrowing read (especially in the wake of our own pandemic) and, wow, is there a lot of death in it, but it’s also so unexpectedly tender.
While fear and loss and destruction sweep the world, we read about characters navigating troubled families, dealing with loss, falling in love, creating art, seeking connection. Something I found deeply fascinating about the book was its exploration of all the ways society might change if death on a massive scale became a long-term constant in everyone’s lives, particularly its inevitable entanglement with capitalist enterprise.
There’s something inevitably bleak about these ideas (for example the eulogy hotel chains that allow the bereaved to efficiently, and for the right price luxuriously, say farewell to their loved one or the euthanasia theme park aimed at giving doomed children one last wonderful day) but what stops the book tumbling into abstract dystopia or a gruelling grimfest is the way each story unerringly finds its human centre.
It’s a frankly incredible accomplishment in terms of narrative precision, thematic control and sharp, economical characterwork. How High We Go In The Dark is an intense and powerful read that finds beauty amidst horror, compassion amongst destruction, hope in the depths of despair, and humanity, always, in everything.
I kind of felt like I was getting my heart turned inside out for much of the experience but this book left me dazzled and moved, and perhaps even a little bit changed. A book filled with wonder on possibilities but with a lack of execution to go with the daring and ideas of the author I don’t regret finding love and always thinking of possibilities is a very readable novel with grand ideas, but I felt it paled in execution compared to the works of (having recently read his debut ) and similarly bold from,
There is however, I want to emphasise, a lot to enjoy. From the melting tundra of Siberia where we start of the book, to a macabre theme park, to a mysterious afterlife and a science facility cloning genetically modified pigs, is ambitious. Any of those four first chapters could have been a book, with the second one being especially enjoyable.
City of Laughter feels like condensed, with an euthanasia theme park and loss pervading the chapter, told by a rather unemotive, observant character. There is also a mysterious tattoo recurring * vibes intensifying*, so the conceptual direction of the book was definitely something I could appreciate.
However, the variety/brevity and the recognizability are also exactly two of the three main weaknesses of the book. Were all narratives needed and unique enough to tell the story?I often thought someone was a man and the character talking ended up being a woman of a wildly different age than I imagined.
Also, we end in 2080’s and the society, besides some different funeral rituals, is hardly any different than our current day and age, despite a pandemic killing many, many millions. Generic (sci-fi) as a moniker comes to mind at times as well. It’s almost a bingo card of hot topics to pack in a 300 page book, with pandemics, discrimination of different people, climate change melting tundra’s, thus leading to viruses being released, bitcoins, genetic manipulation of pigs, robot dogs and mass commercialization of death, self-driving cars and fanatic evangelicals, cryosleep and VR.
Many of those topics have been done before, and have been done better. Heck, one of the chapters had me thinking: “This is very Interstellar”, with a singularity and a mysterious planet system from story 1 returning. Pig son is another example, in story it is similar to, with pigs bred for human organ transplantation.
Still, telling an intelligent pig about the is a feat: how do you do that and make it believable and even a little bit touching? Nagamatsu does it quite skillfully. Then we have Kumbaya in space, with a crew deciding not to take over a habitable world due to concerns for native wildlife.
It is almost a polar opposite of the bleakness imagines humans venturing in space will act like in, With sentences like: Maybe it won’t be so bad if we do it together it’s almost too sweet in my view to be deemed realistic. Loss of loved ones, parent-child conflict, romance and consolation of other planets are recurring topics; sentimentality is something lurking that the extreme situations does kind of bring with it.The Asian-American experience angle is interesting and well executed, with kids ashamed of a creative paths and failed careers, instead of being a lawyer or a scientist.
How the world and me can be better comes back as a thought at the end of the book, and this is a hopeful, maybe even a too hopeful, book. I greatly enjoyed the themes and ideas, but more focus and diversity in narrative voice would have helped me appreciate this book as I imagined I would like it upfront.3.5 stars rounded down.
- Lacklustre and monotonous, not only did How High We Go in the Dark fail to grip my attention but it also failed to elicit an emotional response on my part.
- It was a bland and repetitive affair, which is a pity given the hype around it.
- It didn’t help that a few weeks ago I read another ‘ Cloud Atlas-esque ‘ novel.
And while I didn’t fall head over heels in love with To Paradise, I cannot deny that Yanagihara’s prose is superb. Here insteadSequoia Nagamatsu’s prose brings to mind the word turgid (examples: “Moles and freckles dance around your belly button like a Jackson Pollock painting, and I fight the urge to grab a marker and find a way to connect them into a Tibetan mandala, as if that would unlock some secret about who you were and what, if anything, I really meant to you.” and “your ass the shade of a stray plum spoiling behind a produce stand”).
- Additionally, to compare this to the work of Emily St.
- John Mandel seems misleading, as How High We Go in the Dark lacks the atmosphere and subtlety that characterizes her books (and this is coming from someone who isn’t a devoted fan of hers).
- Anyway, even if I were to consider How High We Go in the Dark on its own merits, well, the verdict isn’t good.
While this is by no means the worst novel I’ve read, it has been a while since I’ve been confronted with a novel that is so consistently and thoroughly mediocre, I will likely forget about ever having read this in a few days. Already I struggle to remember most of its stories (let alone its characters).
- Even if I was tempted early on to DNF this, I kept on reading hoping that the next story/chapter would deliver something more substantial than its predecessor but no such thing happened.
- I guess I could say that it was ambitious? I mean, it doesn’t pull off what it’d set out to do but at least it had aimed high? Of course, as we know, if you aim too high you end up crashing down (a la Icarus).
Ugh, I’m really trying to think of some positives to say about How High We Go in the Dark but it seems that I have nothing good to say about it other than it has an ambitious premise (whether it actually delivers on its premise is up to debate.). I guess, I like the book cover.not sure if that counts as a ‘positive’.
So, to give prospective readers an idea of what to expect: How High We Go in the Dark takes place during and after 2030. A lot of the population is decimated by the Arctic plague which is unleashed onto the world after some scientists ‘stumble’ upon the thirty-thousand-year-old remains of a girl. Additionally to the plague climate/environmental disasters are causing further chaos.
Each chapter reads like a self-contained story. While some characters, we learn, are connected, or even related, to each other, these stories ultimately fail to come truly together. By the end, what we have isn’t a tapestry but a series of samey fragments that don’t really succeed in bringing to life the characters or relationships they are supposedly focused on.
- Out of 14 stories only 4 are centred on female characters.
- If the characters we are reading of are shown to be in romantic and or sexual relationships, these will be painfully heteronormative ones.
- It seems that Nagamatsu’s vision of the future has no place for the gays, let alone for those who do not identify with their assigned sex at birth.
That we get so few female voices also pissed me off. Like, come on, 4 out of 14? Anyhow, the first two stories actually held some promise. In the first one, we follow a scientist whose daughter, also a scientist, died while ‘unearthing’ of the thirty-thousand-year-old human remains.
This father goes to Siberia to resume his daughter’s work. Here we hear the first echoes of the plague: after these remains are found the facility goes under quarantine. Like the majority of the stories in this novel, this first one is all about parents & their children. There is the dynamic between the narrator and his now-dead daughter as well as reflections on his daughter’s (non)parenting of his granddaughter.
PLEASE READ How High We Go in the Dark
The following one, ‘City of Laughter’, almost succeeds in being memorable but ends up falling similarly short. The central character is once again a bland and inoffensive man, just an average Joe who is only slightly interesting because of his job. This guy works at a euthanasia park.
The plague initially affects children and those with vulnerable immune systems (i think? we never gain an entire picture of this plague so what do i know) so some governor proposes the construction of “an amusement park that could gently end children’s pain—roller coasters capable of lulling their passengers into unconsciousness before stopping their hearts”.
The main guy falls in love with a woman who is there with her son. The juxtaposition between the amusement park setting and the true purpose of this ‘park’ does give this story an air of tragicomedy (at one point a distraught and grief-stricken parent hugs our protagonist who is wearing a furry animal costume).
The following stories are harder to set apart from each other. There is one with a scientist/lab-person who has lost his son to the plague. He ends up forming a father-son bond with a talking pig whose organs will be used to save/help those with the plague (once again, i don’t entirely remember because it wasn’t made very clear).
You would think that the talking pig storyline would be far from boring but you’d be wrong. That this ‘son-figure’ is a pig is a mere gimmick. The pig could have been a monkey or a doll or a robot. I would have preferred for the pig to be more of a pig.
- This story has even the gall THE Pig movie (with the scientist telling the pig: ‘that’ll do’).
- Anyway, once again the author explores this, by now, rather tired parent-child dynamic: what does it mean to be a good parent? Do you protect your child from the harsh realities of their world? Maybe if he would have allowed for more subtlety in his storytelling and character interactions, maybe then I could have felt more connected to the parents and their children.
But that wasn’t the case. The conflict is made so obvious, that there is little room for interpretation or even nuance. We have a couple of stories where boring men fall for boring women and vice-versa (here the writing veers into the overwrought). Some do so online, but the author doesn’t really add anything new or interesting to the VR experience.
- I mean, if anything, these VR-focused ones read like subpar Black Mirror episodes.
- Social media goes largely unmentioned.We then have quite a few that go on about new funerary traditions because apparently so many people have died of the plague and cemeteries cannot contain so many bodies.
- Here Nagamatsu tries to be inventive but I found the idea of funeral hotels and funerary towers rather, eeh, underwhelming? Even that one chapter that follows a spaceship on its way to make a new Earth failed to be interesting.
There are two chapters that try to subvert things: one is intentionally disorientating in that the narrator and some other people are someplace else, another one tries to tie things back to the 1st chapter, to give this novel an overarching story, but t it just came across as jarring.
I don’t understand why the author chose 2030 as his starting point. The future he envisions feels generic and wishy-washy, There are self-driving vehicles (i think?) planet earth is dying, and this plague is decimating the human race. How refreshing. Maybe I’ve read too much speculative fiction but the sci-fi & dystopian elements of How High We Go in the Dark felt tame, vanilla even.
Been there, done that kind of thing. While Nagamatsu strives to achieve that quiet realism that characterizes the dystopian novels of authors such as Mandel, Kazuo Ishiguro, and Ling Ma, he misses the mark. Tone-wise too these stories seem lacking, especially if I were to compare them with the unsettling work of John Wyndham.
In addition, the future he envisions pales in comparison to the ones you can find in the stories penned by N.K. Jemisin. Throughout my reading experience of How High We Go in the Dark I just kept being reminded of better speculative books & films. Almost all of the narrators sounded exactly like the same dude.
Which was odd given that these characters are meant to be at different stages of their lives. Additionally, it seemed sus that all of the characters used the same vocabulary, articulated themselves in identical ways, and they all shared a love for ‘vintage’ music (we have the Beatles, Patti Smith, The Strokes, Smashing Pumpkin, Siouxsie and the Banshees).
- The story is set in 2030.
- The characters are in their 20s, 30s, possibly early 40s.
- Yet, they all came across as belonging to the same generation.
- While I know that the whole idea of there being different generations is somewhat reductive, you can admit that people who are born in the same time ‘periods’ and in the same countries (the majority of the characters are Japanese American and live in America) share certain experiences/similarities.
Here, none of the characters came across as believable older millennials or gen-zers. The popular media that is mentioned too was ‘old’. Why not then set your Artic Plague during the 90s or early 2000s something? It would have been made for a far more convincing setting.
- At least then the characters (from their worldview to their vernacular) would have not felt so out-of-place (come on, these guys do not sound like they are born in the 2000s).
- The parent-child conflict that was at the heart of so many of these stories was cheesy af.
- We have a parent trying to connect to their child.
The child is like, NERD. Okay, I’m joking but still, you get the gist. The children are grieving and confused, the parents are grieving and confused. Yet, what could have been a touching book about human connection reads like a parody, starring difficult children who wear headphones 24/7 and answer back because of teenage angst, and emotionally repressed parents who happen to be scientists and because of this, they are cold and clinical.
On that note, there is one character who is not a scientist and is in fact ‘an artist’ and her art was beyond ridiculous (it gave me the impression that the person who had created said character had only a vague and clichéd idea of the kind of person that goes on to become a painter).This book is full of grieving people, which should elicit some sort of reaction from me but nada.
Nothing. My uncle and grandfather died respectively in November and December. I was unable to attend one of the funerals due to travel restrictions. The other died soon after testing positive for covid. Surely a book about losing your loved ones to a pandemic should hit close to home.except that it didn’t.
- I felt at a remove from the characters who were often defined by their job and or whether they had children.
- The world-building, as mentioned above, was full of lacunae,
- Some of the gaps in the world-building seemed intentional as if to provide us with too much information on the plague and the state of the world during and after it would take away from the ‘human’ relationships and the existential quandaries experienced by the characters.but still, I could not envision this future nor could I bring myself to believe in it.
One of the stories seems to suggest a lack of resources but later on, this doesn’t seem the case. I also found it hard to believe that the relatives of those who could easily be seen as culpable of this whole plague (the wife and granddaughter of that first scientist) would be allowed to go off to Earth 2.0 (as far as i can recall of course, maybe the narrative does address this.).
- Choppy and repetitive, How High We Go in the Dark is a rather subpar novel.
- I would have almost preferred it if had just been your bog-standard speculative fiction book but no, this one aims higher and it shows (not in a good way).
- The dystopian elements are gimmicky and given our current pandemicderivative (apparently the author wrote this before covid but i am reading it now so.).
The writing vacillated from decent to unintentionally hilarious to plain bad (“Aki still avoided speaking to me when he could avoid it.”.this book had an editor? really?!). We get a few clumsy attempts at the 2nd person which were.the less said about them the better actually.
Nagamatsu’s prose was not my cup of tea. This was not the genre-bending novel I was hoping for. The supposedly interwoven storylines did not feel particularly ‘interwoven’. There are characters who are mentioned in more than one chapter, or we read of someone who is close to a character we previously encountered but that’s about it.
These chapters and characters failed to come together in any meaningful way. Anyway, just because I thought this was an exceedingly bland affair does not mean in any way that you will feel the same way. If you loved this, I am happy for you. At least one of us was able to enjoy this book. This is a fucking heavy book. Desolate and sad, but also ambitious and lightly insane. Talking pigs, roller coaster euthanasia machines for children, generational trauma. I suspect this will be a book that gets a lot of attention and it should, but read it in a good frame of mind because it can be quite bleak.
- This is an unbelievably compassionate book and such a talented piece of work that I can’t even describe why.
- It creates such a mental image in your head with all these interconnected events and time periods that I felt desperate to seek “what ifs” throughout.
- It will dive deep into your heart with the centuries of families affected, a lot of death, but yet a lot of love and most of all the reconstruction after it all.
❤️As we are experiencing the 2nd wave of this pandemic, this book clicked with so many correlations. The story begins in 2030, after a plague is unleashed into the world while uncovering a virus infected girl frozen in an ancient burial ground. How clever we are to dive into every virus that ever lived on this earth either by burial or human waste and not think we will refester it.😳The day to day living through a pandemic is stamped throughout the book with our dilemmas and inconveniences, but yet it doesn’t overwhelm you.
It needed to drive it home.I mean really drive it home that we could be living with it for centuries. Why are some families affected and some unscathed was the bigger question and how will generations resume after it?While listening to the audio, you hear the desperate plea of a mother to keep her terminally ill son comfortable, the End of Life Theme Park where people take their loved ones to an Euthanasia rollercoaster, Galactic homes to carry the survivors to a new life, VR Cafes, Elegy Hotels to bid final farewells and avatars to recreate our loved ones to converse with.Please read the other descriptions of this book before you pass it by for another Covid rendition.it is so much more than that.
*Alexis, Wow!!! Your review!!!” Thank you NetGalley and Harper Audio for this unbelievable ARC in exchange for my review. I have never enjoyed a short story collection until now. And I didn’t just enjoy it. I ADORED it.I talked everyone’s ear off about this for a week while reading it.
I begged other’s to read it. As I’m begging you to read it. It’s truly phenomenal. Was I absolutely obsessed with every single story? No. But I enjoyed all of them. That’s never happened before. Some of them I might give 3.5. But nothing was below a 3 and so many were 5 stars that this has to get a 5 from me.
My favorite, I think, is ‘Scope of Possibility’. What a damn RIDE. It had me reeling. I need more of this. Whatever genre this is, I’m begging for it. There’s a sentence in this book that begins, “In the real world, people comfort themselves with ignorance, politics, and faith”,
- We book lovers would add words and stories to that list.
- And I, who am still in the throes of my current game addiction, would add RPGs.
- Long before Covid-19, inflation, and an insane Putin trying his best to start WWIII, people had the need and inclination to escape reality.
- We humans have probably been telling stories since around the time we were able to utter more than a few distinguishing grunts.
Storytelling appears to be innate in humans, an instinct to stretch beyond our meager lives and into something more adventurous, happier, higher. “How High We Go in the Dark” takes us away from the current pandemic and fast forwards a few years to 2030 when scientists discover a 30,000 year old settlement in the melting permafrost of Siberia.
- Unfortunately, these ancient people were suffering from a virus at the time of their demise, a virus formerly unknown to science and that remained viable and highly contagious once it thawed.
- This virus makes Covid-19 attractive in comparison.
- The story is told from the point of view of many different people, over a long period of time.
No character had a repeating chapter and it was like reading a book of short stories revolving around a central theme. I dislike short stories and was going to just DNF the book when I realised that’s what it was. I’m not sure why I kept reading because, with the exception of Miki in “A Gallery a Century, a Cry a Millenium”, I felt no attachment to the characters after the first couple.
I kinda wished the virus was deadlier and killed off the whole lot of them so the book would end. However, for whatever reason, I trudged on. Maybe because I’m reading just a small amount a day lately, living in my game instead of books, I was able to stick with it. And ya know what? I’m glad I did. The final chapter made it all worth it.
Wow. It had me setting aside the controller and clinging to my Kindle, needing to continue reading. It might have broken my love affair with my current game and plopped me right back into book addiction had that chapter continued.
I’m reeling. How High We Go in the Dark shows how it’s not just storytelling that is innate in humans, but also perseverance and the ability to thrive no matter what is thrown our way. When times are bleak, we somehow find a way to push on, to go higher, and to hopefully soar into a brighter, better, safer future for all.
I will say too that the author writes wonderfully, descriptively, and imaginatively. I think if the story had been told from the POV of only a couple characters, I would be giving this five stars. Those of you who enjoy short stories and speculative fiction will likely appreciate this book. “How High We Go In the Dark” is a collection of stories exploring humanity’s response to catastrophic climate change resulting in the unleashing of cataclysmic contagion devastating human existence. These are dark and fascinating stories in which author Sequoia Nagamatsu creates a future earth that gives the reader pause.Climate change is a popular subject amongst authors of late.
- Audible created a short story collection: “Warmer Collection” in which Audible asked today’s most thought-provoking authors to envision a conceivable tomorrow from out-of-control climate change.
- Nagamatsu added a deadly virus to add to humanity’s problem of the earth’s degradation due to man’s earthly lack of respect.The first story sets the stage with the Batagaika crater in Russia’s Siberia.
I needed to research this crater and found that scientist believe that the sediment layers of the crater could reveal up to 200,000 years of earth history and therefore it is believed that it offers many clues about climate change. It started off as a small gully in the 1960s, and remote sensing observations have found that it’s growing approximately 20-30 meters per year because of ongoing thawing: read climate change.
I read to learn, and I have never heard of this crater and all that it implies.I digress. In the first story, a young female Neanderthal corpse is found at the crater site. How she got there, with Mediterranean shells sprinkled around her is a scientific mystery. The corpse unfortunately possessed an unknown deadly virus.
Nagamatsu started writing these stories in 2011, long before the Covid pandemic. His fictional virus is one that causes cells in the body to change form. For example, your brain cells could become a mass of liver cells, or your heart cells could change into a gall bladder.
It’s a creepy thought.From there, his stories are about mankind and the response to the virus and to climate change. Southern Florida disappears below the Atlantic Ocean. Most of NYC is underwater. Japan becomes a floating city.Because of the virus, commerce changes to support the dead and dying. A euthanasia amusement park is built helping young virus victims end their lives happily.
Because the body organs are shape-changing, the scientific community works on creating artificial organs that can be transplanted. Of course, pigs are used as host organs. There is a creepy story which resulted in a pig like Wilber in “Charlotte’s Web”.Humanity must deal with all the infected corpses.
- Funerary Skyscrapers are built to house the dead.
- Some want to be ecological and have chosen to be part of a group urn upon cremation.For those Scifi fans, he includes chapters of those brave souls who go into space in the attempt to find a hospitable planet for mankind.
- His novel is ambitious, covering decades and millenniums.In each story you feel the isolation, the helplessness.
Covid was a drop in the ocean compared to Nagamatsu’s virus. He explores many different ways in which survivors deal with the griefmost really disturbing. One story was about robotic pets that speak in the voice of the dead. Would you want a dog robot who had your loved-one’s voice and talked to you? His ideas of how commerce would change and how we would change when faced with devastation is very thought-provoking.
- This was a difficult read for me.
- I was mesmerized and grossed-out (in equal measure) by his creativity.
- Although it’s a less than 300 page novel, it took me a long time to read.
- There’s much to contemplate.
- Plus, it’s a bit of a downer.
- Yet, I recommend it.
- This has staying power.
- This leaves you troubled in the most provocative way.
If this doesn’t motivate you to treat our earth better, nothing will. “It’s strange how the discovery of an ancient girl in Siberia and viruses we’ve never encountered before can both redefine what we know about being human and at the same time threaten our humanity” This is Sequoia Nagamatsu’s debut novel and I think will be a much talked about novel in 2022.
Ostensibly it is a part speculative fiction/part science fiction/part future dystopian novel, written in the form of a series of separate but interlinked stories – dealing with a global plague in the near future and its consequence over future decades but later roaming over space and time. The book on that level has clear shades of both David Mitchell (even more so given large parts of the book are set in Japan like Mitchell’s early novels) and Emily St John Mandel (not least as this shares a UK editor, if not publisher, with Station Eleven) with shades of Margaret Atwood and even Dr Who.But really this is a very distinctive book about death and grief – and this makes for a book which is both very difficult to read (every story has the loss of a child, parent or grandparent integral to it which can lead to an accumulation of bleakness which I think some readers may struggle with in our pandemic times) but also with a more hopeful (even at times sentimental) undercurrent.The author’s only previous publication was a more conventional (in form but not content) short story collection “Where We Go When All We Were Is Gone”.
In a fascinating interview on that book he was, interestingly asked about a recurring theme of loss and grief and was asked about a Joyce Carol Oates quote that “Grief is the most humane of emotions but it is a one-sided emotion: it is not reciprocated.” leading to him commenting at some length on grieving (perhaps showing how close it was to his mind already) I think the one-sidedness of grief is what allows people, our characters to shape that emotion into distinct experience.
The grief isn’t just a product of something that happened to the character but it becomes the character and informs how a character moves through a story. A grieving character may run away, confront the loss, imagine another life, pour themselves into work, or maybe find solace in someone who is also grieving.
One-sided? Sure. If we consider one-sided as allowing those that have suffered a loss to use their grief to create dialogues with aspects of themselves and the dead. And I think whether or not those shadows reciprocate (and coming to terms with some answer) is part of process of healing (and often the end of a story),
But to what extent is order and foresight at play during the grieving process? I can’t blame my characters for their trajectories in the same way that I can’t blame myself for a story not arriving at the destination that I had in mind. So, I think it’s more of a collection of pathways of grief with each path being just as worthy as the other.
There are no right or wrong ways to deal with a loss. The addition of magic just makes certain pathways that would otherwise go unnoticed more distinct and visible In terms of this novel – the author explained in a Bookseller interview that the novel’s origins go back 10 years (before the short story collection) when he was living in Japan and dealing with the death of his grandfather, a death (due to living apart from his family in the US) he was unaware of until months after it happened – leaving him with guilt about not saying goodbye.
He then in turn became interested in the implication of an ageing population in a city with no space for new cemeteries or temples : “There are funeral skyscrapers in Tokyo and mortuary expos which offer families the chance to share an urn, for example. All these alternative funerary practices naturally entered my writing because I have always been interested in loss and grief and how differently people react to it.
I always thought that was a very dynamic way of looking into the human condition.” So death and grief and the different pathways to grieving are a crucial part of his art and writing – and the idea of a global plague which makes fundamental changes to global mortality, changes and a sense of loss and grief exacerbated by climate change, gives him plenty of scope to explore this topic while working in other influences such as Carl Sagan, Star Trek, (probably too much) late 20th Century pop music, Japanese folklore and even a reaction to Trump and the anti-Asian backlash which followed from his “China Virus” jibes, wanting instead to show Asian-Americans “just living their lives, as well as being victims of the pandemic themselves”.
30,000 Years Beneath a Eulogy” starts the story and gives the crucial background to the plague. It is written by an academic – Cliff Mirayisho visiting a research centre at the Batagaika crater in Siberia, shortly after the tragic death of his daughter Clara (a climate change activist and researcher who put her work ahead of her daughter Yumi – who lives with Cliff and his artist wife Miki).
The crystal pendant wearing Clara had discovered the remains of a 30,000 young part Neanderthal slightly tatooed girl “Annie” in what seems to be some kind of sophisticated memorial. The body was uncovered by the rapidly thawing permafrost, the thawing acting as both a sign of and a multiplier for climate change but also causing another danger as the girl seems to have died of a hiterhto unknown virus which infects the researchers”City of Laughter” is set a few years later and is perhaps one of the saddest of the stories.
The virus has become the so-called Arctic Plague, which has high mortality among children and seems to function by reprogramming organ cells to act like other organs. The first party protagonist Skip has taken a job at a theme park adapted as a “euthanasia park” – which gives dying children a last few quality days of life before they are euthanised on the park’s main ride (Osiris).
The park is extended to accept a group of children undergoing a drug trial and Skip though forms an attachment to one of the children Fitch and his mother Dorrie (an ex-artist now working in the checkout facilities – giving parent’s their children’s ashes – and who is separated from her Firth’s father who is trying to develop new organs for Fitch).”Through the Garden of Memory” is perhaps the hardest to parse of the stories.
The narrator Jun is in a coma in hospital with the virus when he suddenly finds himself in what seems to be some form of shared dream or afterlife or alternative lifes (the idea of second chances is a key motif in the novel) – in some form of dark pit which is then filled with orbs of light containing glimpses both of other lives and the past lives of those in the pit (all of whom were dying plague victims).
This story also gives the novel its title as Jun finding a baby persuades his fellows to form a human pyramid which he can climb to try and get the baby up to the seeming source of the lights.”Pig Son” was for me the weakest of the short stories – mixing Ishiguro with Babe (or for me with M&S Percy Pig).
It is narrated by Fitch’s father who is still continuing his research (which failed to save fitch) to grow human organs in pigs – when one of the pigs “Snortorious” suddenly develops human consciousness and speech,eventually realising (hence the Ishiguro links) the purpose for which he is being bred but not after a rather excrutiating part when he realises that humans eat pigs.
“Elegy Hotel” is one of a number of stories which explore, with Atwood-esque naming, how capitalism quickly adapts to profit from death and grief – here with a hotel which allows people to spend time with their loved ones dead bodies. Dennis is a worker in the hotel and befriends another worker Val, but to her despair refuses to repair a breach with his brilliant scientist brother Bryan which leads to Den not being around for the death of either of his parents.”Speak, Fetch, Say I Love You” is another rather twee tale – a widower and now single parent has a reputation for repairing robo-dogs which people are increasingly using to preseve the memories of their loved ones (by getting them to programme the dogs for speech and actions before they pass) but increasingly finds the pets (including one he and his son have to remember his wife) are beyond repair.”Songs of Your Decay” is about a female forensic scientist Aubrey whose work is now focused on watching the decay of the bodies of virus victims who give their bodies to science – she falls for one dying victim Laird and prefers listening to 80-90s music with him to spending time with her Doctor husband Tatsu.”Life Around The Event Horizon” is where the book veers into Dr Who territory – the narrator is actually Dennis’s brother Bryan – who with the help of his post doc assistant (now second wife) Theresa (who corrected a crucial error in his calculations) seems to have discovered the black-hole based key to intergalatical travel via a singularity in his head!”A Gallery A Century, A Cry A Millennium” is about the launch of a subsequent starship which goes in search of other planets – the crew (the adults of who are wakened from cryogenic suspension when the ship approaches a feasible system) include Miki, Yumi, Dorrie, Val and Bryan’s son.
- At one stage they find a deserted system-less rogue planet which seems as “old as the universe” and is covered with sophisticated ruins.
- Each time they wake time on earth has advanced tens if not hundreds of years (including finding a cure for the plague).
- The Used-To-Be-Party” is a short story of one of a number of people woken from comas/suspension post a cure but now finding themselves largely bereft of their loved ones – the narrator decides to organise a neighbourhood get-together for those like him.”Melancholy Nights In a Tokyo Virtual Café” is told in the third person and is set in a future Japan ripe with post-plague unemployment.
Akira finds himself drawn to a neighbour but only via a VR app – and then in rather odd circumstances encounters her estranged father in real life. “Before You Melt Into The Sea” is a short but striking story of mourning rituals – where the narrator specialises in making and launching on the sea ice sculptures of the liquified remains of victims.”Grave Friends” has some autobiographical elements – it is about an American based Japanese girl who returns to her family (who seem part of some shared burial urn society cum cult) after the death of her grandmother (who seems to be the child of the third story)”The Scope of Possibility” returns us firmly to Dr Who territory and rather cleverly ties the full story together (including explaining both recurrent motifs and some, if not all, of the oddities and anomalies in other stories) while crucially showing this unique and striking book’s key message – that loss and grief is simultaneously timeless and universal – and yet immediate and personal.
My thanks to Bloomsbury Publishing for an ARC via NetGalley Now Nominated for the PEN/Hemingway Award for Debut Novel 2023 Nagamatsu gives us a pandemic novel told in interconnected stories, and the first few chapters utterly destroyed me: We learn how in a a world ravaged by climate change, an ancient virus gets unleashed from the melting permafrost in the Arctic and starts to haunt humanity for generations.
People are trying to adapt and to survive – and that’s the basis for all stories we hear, told by very different people (most of them having partly Japanese heritage) aiming to navigate the reality of mass death, fear, and grieving. One of the most effective stories introduces a comedian who takes on a job in an amusement park built to offer dying plague victims assisted suicide by letting them ride a rollercoaster designed to numb and then kill them – we mostly meet parents planning to give their children a humane death (and those kids certainly can’t consent and mostly aren’t informed), and the whole scenario evokes the death ramps in concentration camps.
The second story that really got me is about a scientist who, in a -like scenario, grows organs to transplant them into infected patients in order to prolong their lives – now granted, he grows them in pigs, not humans, but due to the manipulation of the gene pool, one pig develops speech, and a heart-wrenching scenario unfolds.
In other stories, we meet healthcare workers and plague victims, people of different classes, geners, age groups, all of them with intricate inner worlds that are presented in empathic psychological writing. In the second half, the book looses steam, and I also have to admit that the sci-fi ending lessens the overall effect of a book that, IMHO, screams to be read in the context of our current situation.
- But many of the stories, especially in the first half, are written with great clarity and nuance, always hitting the difficult notes.
- When Nagamatsu’s storytelling shines, it’s truly affecting, innovative and absorbing, as he writes about the human flaws that we know are currently destroying our planet – and while humans are trying to survive, they often choose the most ruthless paths to do so, leaving behind a trail of destruction.
It’s also impressive that Nagamatsu manages to present his story collection as a coherent work of fiction, with some recurring characters and a narrative focus on the evolving world of the pandemic. The whole set-up suggests that this should read as a disparate work, but magically, it doesn’t.
- A very interesting effort, let’s see whether it gets nominated for some awards.
- How to Die Strangely in a Science Fictional Universe How High We Go in the Dark is a science fiction novel-in-stories tracking the effects and aftermath of a fictional pandemic called the Arctic Plague.
- Although this book has ‘A Novel’ printed right there on the cover, it really reads more like a story collection.
Typically jaunty sci-fi trappings like space flight, robo-dogs, virtual reality worlds—even a talking pig—are rendered in macabre, sombre tones due to the mass deaths caused by the plague. This is not so much a book about grief as it is about the physical process of death, funerary rites, and mourning customs.
- Nagamatsu imagines a world overburdened by death in which there are euthanasia rollercoasters, ‘elegy hotels’ for the dying, hologrammatic urns, a group of neighbours planning to commingle their ashes.
- It’s inventive, but I was never quite sure whether I was reading attempts at black humour that just weren’t funny or attempts at earnestness that were too absurd to take seriously.
Despite being, at a surface-level, extremely topical, How High We Go in the Dark labours under the shadow of its influences. The sadsack loser working a degrading job in a dystopic theme park is classic George Saunders, but Nagamatsu is not able to conjure Saunders’ compassion and empathy.
- There’s a physicist whose predicament brings to mind Watchmen ‘s Doctor Manhattan.
- A recurring tattoo à la Cloud Atlas,
- I was constantly being reminded of other books by everyone from Ray Bradbury to Elizabeth Tan.
- What’s more, Nagamatsu retreads his own ideas, with some chapters feeling very similar to earlier ones, repeating story beats about estranged parents, or unrequited crushes on the dying.
A traditional novel format would not have allowed for such redundancies. The repetitiveness also extends to word choices (characters ‘sprint’ across rooms; scenes are ‘punctuated’ by some detail or other) and a sameness to the various characters’ narrative voices. As ambitious as it is intimate, How High We Go in the Dark is both a prescient warning and a promise of human resilience in the face of terrible odds. If I had to make a comparison, I’d say it had undertones of Interstellar and, but it also stands out from both, forming a circle of beautifully interconnected events.
Each compelling story is masterfully threaded into one epic tale, spanning centuries and generations. takes us to a future that seems all too possible, dreaming far beyond our stars while staying rooted to Earth, and reminds us that our wellbeing depends on the wellbeing of our world. Fun fact: When Lady Gaga said, ” Talented, brilliant, incredible, amazing, show stopping, spectacular, never the same, totally unique, completely not ever been done before,” she was actually talking about this book.
But for real, somehow this book was like the perfect combination of, and, Yet somehow felt completely independent of those references and still delivered a fresh, exciting story in many parts that interweave together to create a vivid tapestry. If you don’t like short story collections, then you should check this out because it actually delivers on the whole ‘novel told in stories’ thing.
- The book comes together in the end and makes you want to go back and find all the connection points and references you might have missed the first time.
- I can’t wait to revisit this book someday.
- Sequoia Nagamatsu, you are a genius.
- A prescient collection of linked stories that reveals, in fact, how much worse our own pandemic could have been.
Nagamatsu is at his best when he leans into the science fiction, spinning tales of space travel, talking pigs, and last-rites roller coasters. His imagination has room to breathe in these stories, and the pathos really surfaces in a George Saunders sort of way.
I was less impressed with the range of voices he displayed in this collection. If you aren’t using original narrators to highlight different voices/reactions/desires/thought patterns, what the hell are you doing it for? Each character voice was that of the writer, who writes in pretty but generic prose.
That is, contemporary, lapidary sentences that left no real impression on me. I was torn on his world-building. In some instances, we can track the slow apocalypse from story to story in just a few scant details, and he lets the plot lines illuminate the current environment to the reader.
At other times, the degradation of Earth felt predictable. California wildfires are mentioned several times, as are weather extremes. Yes, we know, that’s already happening! What might the world look like in 2050, or 2070, given this pandemic and climate change? He makes half-hearted references to Bitcoin and VR, but those cultural touchstone felt flat and lazy.
You’re the author who did the research, give us an idea of this new future, no matter how grim it might be. Absolutely incredibly. So human. I do think the very end was unnecessary, however, still know this one will stay with me for a long time. QUICK TAKE: I loved it.
- With so many pandemic books in the marketplace, this one still seemed to elevate itself above so many other titles in the genre.
- Loved the small connections between characters in each story, and ultimately there was a great message of hope and humanity amidst the darkness of some of the stories.
- Huge recommend.
This was such an interesting piece. Nagamatsu plays with a lot of sci-fi tropes and puts them all together to build a somewhat separate but interweaving story about many people over the world and over hundreds of years and their experiences and reactions to a global pandemic.
- Some of the stories are still on my mind and some others not so much.
- Very readable and I kept wanting to read more.
- Loved the ways the stories connected.
- This made me think.
- Very interested in what this author writes next Rating: ⭐⭐⭐ ½Genre: Science Fiction + DystopiaIt is the year 2030, and an ancient virus is awakened from the remains of a girl who died a long time ago.
The epidemic will spread throughout the entire planet. Survival becomes extremely difficult as humanity is put in danger. The story follows a set of characters as they struggle to stay alive, come to terms with their losses, and take on new challenges.The world-building in this book is quite good, and it is one of its strongest aspects.
However, the author tries to shed light on different characters and different situations. And I feel this is the novel’s biggest problem. I couldn’t connect much with these characters because the length of the novel didn’t help. In 300 pages, trying to tell different stories means that the impact that the stories will have will be less.
There are a few sub-themes in the story, like the loss of a child or tension between parents and their children. These sub-themes serve well and offer a variety of storytelling opportunities. So this is another plus for the book. The writing itself is rich and suits the genre, at times it is melancholic, which goes well with the bigger theme.
How High We Go in the Dark is an entertaining science fiction book, but the impact it is trying to make is watered down due to the multiple storylines. A quote from Octavia E. Butler’s Parable of the Sower came to me as I was reading this. When discussing the bubonic plague, protagonist Lauren says this: “Some survivors thought the world was coming to an end.
But once they realized it wasn’t, they also realized there was a lot of vacant land available for the taking, and if they had a trade, they realized they could demand better pay for their work. A lot of things changed for the survivors. It took a plague to make some of the people realize that things could change.” On the advent of her own apocalypse, such thinking develops into Lauren’s Earthseed religion, based on the belief that God is Change.
There are shades of this idea in How High We Go in the Dark, In it, we are presented with a world significantly altered by plague, with characters socialized for a distanced society, technology replacing interaction and tradition, and careers created specifically for a world so marked by death. Like Lauren’s community, struggling in a dystopian world, a solution presented is to leave Earth for the stars.
There is also a reversal of this in the end: Where Earthseed wanted to create a future in space, in this book, alien entities came to Earth to create our beginning. But there’s a stronger theme that resonates with me in this book, even more so than change: the more they stay the same,
- Sequoia Nagamatsu’s near-future, despite the changes, remains similar to our present.
- The world is still hyper-capitalist, with funeral and pharmaceutical industries turning plague into profit.
- Animals are still being exploited by mankind, and unimportant to the point of extinction.
- Tech is a further necessity for daily life, despite Earth’s depleting resources.
And care for our planet, one so delicate and finite, stays unprioritized by all but a motivated few.It’s bleak. Very bleak.But that’s not all it is.For in this book, in its multiple, semi-connected stories, Nagamatsu beautifully illustrates humanity’s capacity for pathos.
That we are social creatures, no matter how faceless and industrialized our world becomes. That we can acknowledge our mistakes and atone, each in our own way. That we will take care of one another even when so much is lost.Each story introduces a character, all of them varied and complex, with their own unique challenges from the plague and navigating this uncertain future.
No one is a hero. No one is a villain. They are all average folk, each doing what they can and caring as much as they are able. With such limitations, they can’t provide the answers to the questions the book asks, nor is there a big bad they can defeat for a happy ending.All they can do is live and die, grieve, and survive in a world where continuing on is the hardest choice to make.
- Where saying goodbye to your loved ones when you’re not ready to is lauded for the bravery it is.And in this, I find hope.Tread lightly with this one if you’re actively grieving.
- Death is a major aspect of this book, though it is never exploited for shock value or cheap emotional pull.
- Rather, the discussions of death and grief are explored with intention, and what gets conveyed is painfully real.
While I was ultimately able to find insight by reading this, it did make me breakdown over the recent death of my brother. I’m still unsure if I was 100% ready to read this. But it gave me more than it took. This was a fantastic read.it starts with a man visiting the Arctic to see where his scientist daughter died, all because a virus that the melting polar ice has revealed. From there the story moves through new characters and pieces in a global virus situation.
- Many of the characters are Japanese American or even just Japanese, many are scientists deep in the thick of working on aspects of the virus, but there are other characters that come up as well.
- The topics of death and dying are rich with cultural nuance (some people attend cremations and pick through the remaining bone fragments as part of the death ritual) and complications because of a lack of travel.
Climate change and family separation are frequent themes, and some of the chapters are pretty “out there” in ways I think the reader will enjoy discovering. I’ll talk more about this book on an upcoming podcast (240) and probably still not cover everything, but what a debut! It’s fantastic and a bit morbid and it was a great read. An ancient plague released from the Arctic permafrost through global warming begins to decimate the world. Victim’s cells begin to work erratically, kidneys hard at work trying to become lungs, brain cells convinced they need to be building a heart. The body shuts down, skin becomes translucent and those infected slip into a coma and die.
- Death becomes so prevalent that the funerary industry has completely taken over the banking system giving rise to Mortuary cryptocurrencies and the ubiquitous presence of funerary skyscrapers and malls across the nation’s cities.
- How High We Go in the Dark is a collection of short stories where each chapter is a meditation on grief and loss in the face of this global pandemic.
But it’s lovely, hopeful and wild. When the stakes are this high it’s all that much more important that there is love and community and the persistent impulse to keep moving forward. When the end of the world comes it’s not the doomsday preppers hoarding canned goods that survive.
- Those who make meaningful connections, retain hope and create neighbourhoods where everyone works together to build abundance – that’s where the magic lies.
- Nagamatsu connects these disparate stories and callbacks abound with little details travelling across chapters until they resolve into a larger whole.
I fell in love with a talking pig and a widowed introvert tentatively inviting his neighbours for a BBQ. I thrilled at the euthanasia theme park and the forensic body farm. I saw the inevitability of death being commercialized with shared urns where neighbours could intermix their ashes to save on money and space, contrasted with elegy hotels where the plasticized dead are preserved as crematories struggle to keep up with demand, and inventive disposal techniques abound like liquifying remains to be turned into ice sculptures to melt into the sea.
But these are just wonderful bits of colour and detail among the more restrained explorations of grief and loss and love that just hit me where I live. This book started off interesting though I got bored with it over time. How High We Go in the Dark contains several interconnected stories in a world ravaged by a climate change-induced pandemic.
We follow protagonists including a man who works at a euthanasia park for terminally ill children, a scientist who finds a second chance at fatherhood when a pig in his lab develops human speech, a father searching for his daughter who prioritized her environmental justice work over her family, and more.
Common themes include a search for connection and the decisions people make at the end of the world. The first few stories in this collection touched my heart. Sequoia Nagamatsu also conveys interesting concepts throughout How High We Go in the Dark, However, over time I felt that the emotional atmosphere of the stories got repetitive – they’re sad and gloomy though they don’t approach sadness and gloominess in particularly striking ways, at least as a whole.
I agree with this that several of the characters felt more like concepts than fully fleshed-out protagonists. I liked the majority Asian cast and the themes of environmental devastation, even if I did want more overall. This is a beautiful book. It’s a book about pain, loss, grief and ultimately hope. It’s a book about humanity. It’s scale, scope and timespan is staggering. One thing did strike me as odd, from our modern perspective, was that considering how many different characters and stories are contained here, and the vastly different types of experiences, there were no queer characters or experiences.
- Everything was very much from a heteronormative perspective.
- Which does strike me as odd, considering the enlightenment and scope of the book.
- Heartbreaking, soul shattering, deeply emotional, but beautifully done.
- How High We Go In the Dark is a collection of interconnected stories all surrounding a devastating climate plague.
Each story takes place in a different point in time, all chronicling humanities response to the world wide pandemic. As with most collections, there were some stories I preferred over others, but I was never bored once, even though this is not a fast paced novel by any means.
Another new favorite!!! This is definitely one of those reviews where I remember just how subjective they are. This was a 3 star book for me, but I think it’s objectively a better book than that. Objectively, it’s ambitious and interesting, emotionally intimate but structurally similar to bold books like CLOUD ATLAS.
Centered around a strange pandemic that spreads around the world, it stares mortality straight in the face. Most of it takes place within the same period of time, but some of it is vastly farther in the future or almost infinitely back in the past. And I love having a book through interconnected stories where most of the characters were Japanese or Japanese-American even though the scope of the book is about a worldwide calamity.
(Most books with this kind of structure tend to be mostly about white people so I don’t see why we can’t have this.) Personally, despite me enjoying “dark” books I found this was another thing entirely and scaled more towards “bleak.” I admit I had a hard time finishing it because it was hard to muster the energy to pick it up.
Especially in the first half of the book, many of the dead and dying are children. And even though the disease can take on some unusual and even fantastic symptoms, it is still a book about the way we approach death when there is so much of it staring us in the face every day. 4.5 Stars This was such an ambitious story and, for the most part, it succeeded in what it set out to accomplish. The novel was structured into a unique format with interconnected short stories. Normally this format does not work for me, but in this case, the narrative worked incredibly well to frame the larger story.The first several sections were especially powerful, evoking a strong emotional reaction from me.
It takes a special book to bring me close to tears. Admittedly, some of the middle sections appeared to meander and did not fully hold my attention. However, the ending was so unexpected and incredible. I could see other readers feeling differently, but I personally loved the ending. This is definitely a novel I want to reread because the ending reframed everything I read before.
It was pretty brilliant. I highly recommend the full cast audiobook version that helped to bring this story to life. I saw a civilization that could destroy itself before it even reached the nearest star. How High We Go in the Dark is a book of possibilities. Life is as absurd as death. And what a beautiful mess we are blessed with. In a cave beneath the ancient ice of Siberia a virus sleeps.
As Earth warms, the permafrost loosens her grip. The virus wakes and the planet is tested. How High We Go in the Dark is more of a collection of connected short stories than a direct novel—but that’s life isn’t it? A collection of stories in which we all play a part. We witness the discovery of the virus, it’s devastating effects on future generations, and the absurd rituals that humans develop in order to cope (a trip to the euthanasia park, anyone?).
No life is left unaffected. There are times in the book when I wish it would take itself more seriously, when it verges on entering the satirical realm. But I think Nagamatsu is making a point: that even in our suffering we still find ways to pay our meaningless bills and we find ways to hate our parents, but it’s all null.
We are shuffling along in the void, waiting to cease existing, when all we have to do is look around us and observe the possibilities. Nothing is for naught. Existence requires trial and error. We will make many errors—and that is perfectly all right. *Won in a Goodreads giveaway.* Displaying 1 – 30 of 6,895 reviews Get help and learn more about the design.
: How High We Go in the Dark
How long is after dark Murakami?
‘After Dark’ is probably the easiest Murakami novel to read. At 201 pages, it’s not difficult to finish in one session. It’s also close to what you would call ‘high concept’ in the film industry.
Does anything happen to Max in In the Dark?
Does Max die in In the Dark season 4? – Unfortunately, yes Max (Casey Deidrick) dies in the penultimate episode of In the Dark, and it’s one of the worst decisions the series ever made. Max gets shot while escaping into the elevator after saving Murphy from the fundraiser scheme as it goes wrong.
It’s absolutely heart-wrenching to watch Murphy realize what has happened and what was taken from her. Even though he didn’t pull the trigger, Josh (Theodore Bhat) is directly responsible for Max dying because he made a call that turned the whole operation sideways. It’s awful to watch someone so obsessed with ruining Murphy’s life do exactly that.
Murphy and Max had finally gotten to a solid place and were building a life together. In one second, all of it was gone. The decision to kill Max will surely hit all viewers a different way, but if you watched the Hulu revival of Veronica Mars, you know this pain all too well. In The Dark — “Please Shine Down on Me” — Image Number: ITD412b_0167r — Pictured (L – R): Theodore Bhat as Josh and Morgan Krantz as Felix Bell — Photo: Ramona Diaconescu/The CW — © 2022 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.
Is the ending of Dark a paradox?
(This whole article is spoilers for the twisty German time travel series “Dark” on Netflix. This is just more than 3,000 words of spoilers. Just a wall of spoilers here, basically.) I really did not think that “Dark” would get an actually conclusive ending.
I thought the German Netflix series was just too complicated, its mountain of paradoxes too large, to break the insane and endless cycle at the heart of this completely insane show. I thought “Dark” creators Jantje Friese and Baran Bo Odar would take the story to a logical and thematically appropriate stopping point, and the cycle would continue forever.
But that didn’t turn out to be the case. The duo managed to find a way to break the loop and end the series in a way that actually works. It’s not perfectly airtight — we cannot, with 100 percent certainly, piece together the entirety of this story. Honestly, it probably needed at least a couple more episodes to wrap things up.
But I think “Dark” has us so well trained by now that I think we can fairly easily infer enough to fill in any important gaps. Before we jump into the nuts and bolts of season 3, it’s important to understand that there is really no way to conclude a story like this in a way that would be satisfying in a normal way.
The reason for this is because “Dark” is full of bootstrap paradoxes. That’s the term that describes, to cite one example from the show, how Charlotte could be her own grandmother. There’s no way to resolve this paradox, because it’s a self-contained loop.
- Charlotte had a daughter named Elisabeth, and then Elisabeth had a daughter named Charlotte, and then baby Charlotte was brought to the past and became the original Charlotte.
- There’s no beginning or end of this sequence.
- And if you’ve watched “Dark” all the way through, then you know it’s full of these sorts of loops.
Also Read: How to Tell Which Universe You’re Watching During ‘Dark’ Season 3 With the time travel logic of the series, everyone is just trapped in this loop, ultimately unable to ever really break free of it from within. So there was really only two broad scenarios that “Dark” could end on.
- It could stay within the loop, and continue expanding the scope of the mindbending madness until it gets to some kind of natural thematic stopping point, leaving things open-ended.
- Or it could introduce variables from outside the loop that could actually bring the story of this crazy world to a proper conclusion.
“Dark” creators Baran Bo Odar and Jantje Friese went with the second option. And in the process they’ve produced a season of television that is somehow more dense than the previous two seasons combined. That’s probably a flaw — the show almost certainly would have benefited from having more time to flesh all this alternate universe stuff out because it’s just a lot to absorb.
But I think it works even so. You just have to put the mental effort in. It’s also important to note that everything here is hypothetical. As in, all that matters for time travel logic in a work of fiction is that it be internally consistent. Time travel isn’t real! And while it may seem like season 3 changes the rules, it really just does so in a way that functions as a change in scope.
Like, we thought the rules were like this, but now that we have a better view of the big picture we can see that we were off a little bit with our assumptions. Before we really get into it, I wanna point everyone to a site Netflix set up to help you keep track of all the characters and their relationships with each other,
If you get confused or have forgotten about someone I reference here, you can take a look at that site for help you remember stuff. I used it a lot while I was working on this. Also Read: Netflix in July: Here’s Everything Coming and Going The gist of the ending, as you probably already know from watching, is that all the stories we have seen on “Dark” took place in a series of splinter universes that were accidentally created by HG Tannhaus (Christian Steyer and Arnd Klawitter).
In the real, original world, Tannhaus tried to invent some kind of time machine that would allow him to save his son, daughter-in-law, and granddaughter — all of whom had died in a car accident. So Jonas (Louis Hoffman) and Martha (Lisa Vicari) go to the site of the original fracture — in the tunnels beneath Helge’s bunker.
This transports them to the original universe and allows them to prevent those deaths and thus wipe their own worlds from existence. The mechanics of all this are not extremely clear. Being present in that specific spot at that specific time sent Louis and Martha into some kind of weird place that would seem to exist outside of space and time.
The two accidentally interact with the younger versions of each other while they’re in there. It’s similar to what happens with Matthew McConaughey’s character when he enters a black hole in “Interstellar” and manages to interact with his daughter in the past.
It’s probably no coincidence that “Dark” had us listen to Bartosz deliver a spiel about black holes in the season premiere. But this is one of the numerous things about “Dark” season 3 that we can’t get too into the weeds on. I’m sure we’ll all spend years scouring all the details to try to see the complete picture, but for now we’ll just have to accept that there are gaps we can’t really fill yet.
But there’s nothing that happens in season 3 that I would consider to be a plot hole. Scenes don’t contradict each other. We just don’t know 100% how all the pieces fit. Also Read: Confused About ‘The Witcher’ on Netflix? Showrunner, Henry Cavill Explain How the Timeline Works That’s frustrating with the show over now, but that’s just the nature of the thing. In my mind, the key to understanding all this starts with Tannhaus’s monologue at the beginning of episode 7. I’m just gonna put all of it here for you, taken from the English subtitles: What is reality? And is there only one of them? Or do several realities co-exist? To help explain, Erwin Schroedinger devised an extremely interesting thought experiment.
Schroedinger’s cat. A cat is locked in a steel chamber with a tiny amount of radioactive substance, a Geiger counter, a vial of poison, and a hammer. As soon as a radioactive atom decays inside the steel chamber, the Geiger counter releases the hammer, which smashes the vial of poison. The cat is dead.
However, due to the wave characteristics in the quantum world, the atom has both decayed and not decayed, until our own observation forces it into a definitive state. Until the instant we look and see, we don’t know if the cat is dead or alive. It exists in two superimposed states.
- The properties “dead” and “alive” therefore exist simultaneously in the microcosm.
- But what if the simultaneous existence of life and death also applied to the macrocosmic world? Could two different realities potentially exist side by side? Could we manage to split time and allow it to run in two opposing directions? And by doing so, allow the cat to simultaneously exist in both states, dead and alive? And if so, how many different realities could exist side by side? Also Read: ‘Terminator: Dark Fate’ – Let’s Talk About What Happened With John Connor One of the other things we don’t have the full info on is the machine Tannhaus built.
We know he wanted to use it to bring his loved ones back to life, but we didn’t know what his plan was. It may not even have been a time machine. It could have instead been some kind of quantum machine that would conjure a universe in which they didn’t die.
Based on that monologue, I think that’s exactly what he was trying to do. He wanted to “split time” and switch to the universe where they were still a live. If that’s the case, it would appear his experiment was actually successful on some level. He did create some new universes, and in those universes he had a new daughter that he named Charlotte.
Named so after his dead granddaughter, who died on the same night that this new Charlotte was brought to him. It reads like a monkey’s paw situation to me. His wish was fulfilled, but in a weird, distorted way that was bad for everyone involved. And the ramifications in the worlds he spawned were immense, because this time, ah, fracture that Tannhaus created has a presence in these other worlds.
The fracture spreads out through time in both directions in Winden, and it manifests in the form of the apocalypse scenario that crushes the town in 2019/2020. Remember, the mechanics of that apocalypse remain ambiguous, and it’s never made clear why it’s seemingly devastating the world. But Claudia, the final Claudia, gave us a big clue in the finale as she explains to Adam what he did wrong, and how this universe he lives in really works.
Claudia: “I’d have liked to spare you all of that. But your path had to remain unchanged. Every step had to be taken exactly as before. Up until this moment.” Adam: “This Has it happened before?” Claudia: “You trying to destroy the origin, that has happened an infinite number of times. Claudia would refer to this cycle, which we have watched play out of the three seasons of “Dark,” as an “infinite chain of cause and effect.” And here’s the big part: “Time. During the apocalypse, it stood still for a fraction of a second. And that threw everything out of balance.
- But when time stands still, the chain of cause and effect is also momentarily broken,” Claudia continued.
- Eva knows this.
- She uses the loophole in your world to send her younger self off in one direction of another, in order to preserve the cycle.
- And I used it to send myself in another direction, too.
To be here today.” Also Read: 15 Time Travel TV Shows You Should Be Watching Right Now, From ’12 Monkeys’ to ‘Dark’ (Photos) How I read that is that this brief disruption of time — which I believe is what Taunhaus did with his machine — sort of just broke the physical world, and the apocalypse is how that plays out.
- It’s a tough concept to articulate, and that’s why “Dark” is so vague about it.
- It’s just, like, the world is decaying.
- But in terms of the big picture, those comments from Claudia have even bigger ramifications for the world of “Dark.” It’s a pretty significant recontextualization of the first two seasons.
When I mentioned earlier that it appears like the time travel rules changed, this is what I’m referring to. This bit: “You trying to destroy the origin, that has happened an infinite number of times. But this here, you and I, is happening for the first time.” I think Adam’s description to Noah might make it easier to understand: “Everything in life happens in cycles.
Sunset is followed by sunrise, over and over. But this time it will be the last cycle.” During seasons 1 and 2 of “Dark” I had viewed this series as taking place inside a self-contained loop. Like there was one circle of time. But I think now it’s more like a coil. Like a big Time Slinky. Everything is happening over and over again, but in a sense time is always moving forward.
This is a tough things to describe, but here’s how I think of it. The younger version of an old character is actually a new iteration of that character. So when Adam meets the young Jonas for the first time, he is not actually meeting his past self. He is meeting a new, distinct individual who is identical to his past self.
- So Adam is grooming Jonas to, essentially, be his replacement.
- It’s like if you cloned yourself.
- There would be another one of you out there, and it would be identical to you and have all the same genes and all that.
- But it’s not you,
- It would have its own soul, or mind, or essence, or whatever you wanna call it.
This is not far off from a theory I have about the “Terminator” franchise, But in “Dark,” the new versions of these characters are doomed to repeat their predecessors’ actions because they live in a world that forces them down those paths. But some things must change on each loop.
- We see numerous examples of this in season 3 — most notably, when the young Jonas is killed at the end of episode 5.
- Also Read: ‘Avengers: Endgame’ – What Happened With Loki and the Tesseract? And in the Claudia quote above, she straight up says she’s altered her own path over the course of these cycles as she tried to figure out how all this stuff works.
And with the disruption of time, Eva has managed to break free of the loop any number of times, but the irony is that she’s only done it to preserve the loop. Which in turn means that breaking the loop is another facet of the loop itself. The mysterious man who appears in threes — you know, the guy with a cleft lip who roams around with both a younger and older version of himself — is another example of this. It’s not clear how he came to be, exactly. He’s Martha’s son with Jonas, and I assume that his unique state is the result of Adam dropping the weird time blob on her. But we don’t really know much more than that. but we do know that Eva was using him as a sort of enforcer to maintain the loop by any means.
He’s responsible for so many of the bad things that happened. And he may actually be some kind of exception to the laws of these universes in some way, but, again, there’s not much to go on with them that we’ve parsed yet. I’ve read other theories that state that the pregnant Martha that Adam put inside the time blob really did die, and her baby died with her, and that this mysterious man was actually born of an alternate Martha who wasn’t put in the time blob.
That’s also plausible, but I think that either way it’s beyond the realm of what we can track with certainty because we don’t really know what his deal is. We know he works for Eva, and we know what he’s done to maintain the loop, but we really know nothing else for sure.
We could talk about that stuff all day but, again, it would be madness to delve too deep while we’re still absorbing what we just saw. Eventually we’d start trying to figure out what was going on at the beginning of the time coil and I’m not sure yet if we have enough information about all that. There would be a lot of mind-bending hypotheticals down that path.
But one thing we can certainly infer is that when Claudia talks about formulating her plan to end the two universes, she’s describing a process that took multiple loops to bring to fruition. And along the way, she had to to what she could to maintain the loop and keep the variables from changing.
Each iteration of Claudia learned more and more until we reached the ending that we saw in season 3. Also Read: These Are the Time Travel Rules of ‘Avengers: Endgame’ Of course, it’s not quite a clean ending. This is “Dark,” so of course they introduced one last paradox on the way out the door. See, Jonas and Martha save Tannhaus’s son and his family from dying, but but Jonas and Martha only exist because they died.
If they didn’t die, and Tannhaus never built his machine, then Martha and Jonas could not have saved them. It’s one last bootstrap paradox on the way out the door. The very last scene, the dinner party that closes the entire series, does give us a brain-twister to consider as well.
In this scene we feel the ramifications of the end of those broken universes, as we realize that so many of the major characters on “Dark” no longer exist. In the scene, which takes place in the present day, we see Regina (Deborah Kaufmann), Hannah (Maja Schone), Katharina (Jordis Triebel), Peter (Stephan Kampwirth), Bernadette (Anton Rubtsov) and Woller (Leopold Hornung), as well as a picture from the 80s of young Regina with Claudia and Bernd Doppler.
Peter is with Bernadette, and Hannah is with Woller. Regina and Hannah are pregnant. What’s most notable here, of course, is who’s missing. What’s happened is that anyone who only existed due to time travel shenanigans no longer exists. So Charlotte is out, since she was her own grandmother, and she would take her daughters Elisabeth and Franziska with.
Ulrich (Oliver Masucci) is gone because Bartosz (Paul Lux) was his great-grandfather, and like with Charlotte this eliminates his kids, Magnus, Martha and Mikkel. Regina survived because her real father was Bernd Doppler, the guy who ran the nuclear power plant before Claudia took over. And she never got cancer because the nuclear power plant was never built.
And she’s on her own here because she likely never met her husband Aleksander (Peter Benedict) — you may recall that their first meeting was because Ulrich was bullying her. Without Ulrich, Aleksander never intercedes. So Aleksander is probably still around somewhere, just not where we would normally expect him to be.
- And Bartosz wouldn’t exist at all.
- Beyond the people who are immediately relevant to this final scene, there are other folks we can safely assume don’t exist.
- Noah (Mark Waschke) and Agnes (Antje Traue), of course. Silja.
- Ulrich’s father Tronte.
- Probably numerous others i’m forgetting.
- It’s important to keep in mind that what I’ve written here is certainly not the end-all of discussions about the meaning of the final season of “Dark.” A lot of this is open to interpretation, and our understanding of it will no doubt change over time.
This discussion is an evolving one, but I know it’s a discussion that all fans of this insane and wonderful Netflix series will relish. I have read one particular lengthy post on reddit that I find very interesting — it’s basically somebody else’s version of this article you’re reading now, breaking down the end of “Dark.” Though I don’t agree with all of its conclusions, it certainly provides some food for thought, particularly in the part about the final paradox with Jonas and Martha and Tannhaus’s family.
Does the Dark Tower end?
Plot summary – Beginning where book six left off, Jake Chambers and Father Callahan battle the evil infestation within the Dixie Pig, a vampire lounge in New York City featuring roast human flesh and doors to other worlds. After fighting off and destroying numerous “Low-Men” and Type One Vampires, Callahan sacrifices himself to let Jake survive.
- In the other world—Fedic— Mia, her body now physically separated from Susannah Dean, gives birth to Mordred Deschain, the biological son of Roland Deschain and Susannah.
- The Crimson King is also a “co-father” of this prophetic child, so it is not surprising when “baby” Mordred’s first act is to shapeshift into a spider-creature and feast on his birth-mother.
Susannah shoots but fails to kill Mordred, eliminates other agents of the Crimson King, and escapes to meet up with Jake at the cross-dimensional door beneath the Dixie Pig which connects to Fedic. Maturing at an accelerated rate, Mordred later stalks Roland and the other gunslingers throughout this adventure, shifting from human to spider as the need arises, seething with an instinctive rage toward Roland, his “white daddy.” In Maine, Roland and Eddie recruit John Cullum, and then make their way back to Fedic, where the ka-tet is now reunited.
Walter (known in other stories as Randall Flagg ) plans to slay Mordred and use the birthmark on Mordred’s heel to gain access to the Tower, but he is easily slain by the infant when Mordred sees through his lies. Roland and his ka-tet travel to Thunderclap, then to the nearby Devar-Toi, to help a group of psychics known as Breakers who are allowing their telepathic abilities to be used to break away at the beams that support the Tower.
Ted Brautigan and Dinky Earnshaw assist the gunslingers with information and weapons, and reunite Roland with his old friend Sheemie Ruiz from Mejis. The Gunslingers free the Breakers from their captors, but Eddie is wounded after the battle and dies a short while later.
Roland and Jake pause to mourn and then jump to Maine of 1999 along with Oy, in order to save the life of Stephen King (whom he writes to be a secondary character in the book); the ka-tet have come to believe that the success of their quest depends on King surviving to write about it through his books.
They discover King about to be hit by a van, Jake pushes King out of the way but Jake is killed in the process. Roland, heartbroken with the loss of his adoptive son, buries Jake and returns with Oy to Susannah in Fedic, via the Dixie Pig. They are chased through the depths of Castle Discordia by an otherworldly monster, then depart and travel for weeks across freezing badlands toward the Tower.
Along the way they find Patrick Danville, a young man imprisoned by someone who calls himself Joe Collins but is really a psychic vampire named Dandelo, Dandelo feeds off the emotions of his victims, and starts to feed off of Roland and Susannah by telling them jokes. Roland and Susannah are alerted to the danger by Stephen King, who drops clues directly into the book, enabling them to defeat the vampire.
They discover Patrick in the basement, and find that Dandelo had removed his tongue. Patrick is freed and soon his special talent becomes evident: his drawings and paintings become reality. As their travels bring them nearer to the Dark Tower, Susannah comes to the conclusion that Roland needs to complete his journey without her.
- Susannah asks Patrick to draw a door she has seen in her dreams to lead her out of this world.
- He does so and once it appears, Susannah had a bittersweet goodbye with Roland and crosses over to another world.
- Mordred finally reaches and attacks Roland.
- Oy viciously defends his dinh, providing Roland the extra seconds needed to exterminate the were-spider.
Oy is impaled on a tree branch and dies. Roland continues on to his ultimate goal and reaches the Tower, only to find it occupied by the Crimson King. They remain in a stalemate for a few hours, until Roland has Patrick draw a picture of the Crimson King and then erase it, thus wiping him out of existence except for his eyes.
- Roland gains entry into the Tower while Patrick turns back home.
- The last scene is that of Roland crying out the names of his loved ones and fallen comrades as he had vowed to do.
- The door of the Dark Tower closes shut as Patrick watches from a distance.
- The story then shifts to Susannah coming through the magic door to an alternate 1980s New York, where Gary Hart is president.
Susannah throws away Roland’s gun (which does not function on this side of the door), rejecting the life of a gunslinger, and starts a new life with alternate versions of Eddie and Jake, who in this world are brothers with the surname Toren. They have only very vague memories of their previous journey with Susannah, whose own memories of Mid-World are already beginning to fade.
- It is implied that an alternate version of Oy, the billy-bumbler, will also join them.
- In a final “Coda” section, King urges the reader to close the book at this point, consider the story finished with a happy ending, and not venture inside the Tower with Roland.
- For those who do not heed the warning, the story resumes with Roland stepping into the Dark Tower.
He realizes that the Tower is not really made of stone, but a kind of flesh: it is Gan ‘s physical body. As he climbs the steps, Roland encounters various rooms containing siguls or signs of his past life. When he reaches the top of the Tower, he finds a door marked with his own name and opens it.
- Roland instantly realizes, to his horror, that he has reached the Tower countless times before, and is trapped in Ka’s wheel as punishment for his ruthlessness and killing.
- He is forced through the door by the hands of Gan and transported back in time to the Mohaine desert, back to where he was at the beginning of The Dark Tower: The Gunslinger, with no memories of what has just occurred.
The only difference is that, this time, Roland possesses the Horn of Eld, which in the previous incarnation he had left lying on the ground after the Battle of Jericho Hill, Roland hears the voice of Gan, whispering that, if he reaches the Tower again, perhaps this time the result will be different; there may yet be rest and redemption, if he stands true.
What is the longest audiobook ever?
1. Fifty Lectures – Gif Via Gifycat.com Takaaki Yoshimoto ‘s Fifty Lectures is what the title would indicate: fifty lectures from Yoshimoto’s long tenure as a philosopher, poet, and literary critic. But the title doesn’t give any indication of the length which is a lot longer than fifty hours.
How many books are in dark?
There are 36 books in the Dark series.
How many pages is reading in the dark?
|Publisher||Vintage International (February 24, 1998)|
|Paperback|| 245 pages|
What is the fastest thing in existence?
So light is the fastest thing. Nothing can go faster than that. It’s kind of like the speed limit of the universe.
Can you get 24 hours of darkness?
This post was updated on May 12, 2023. Believe it or not, there are certain regions on Earth where you can experience 24 hours of darkness or daylight depending on the season. The phenomenon of 24 hours of darkness is known as the “polar night,” while 24 hours of daylight is referred to as “the midnight sun.” If you are looking for a country or area with 24 hours of darkness, you will find it in the polar regions during their respective winter seasons.
Specifically, countries like Norway — called, appropriately enough, the land of the midnight sun — Sweden, Finland, and parts of Russia, including places like Murmansk and Norilsk, all experience the polar night, during which the sun does not rise above the horizon for several weeks or even months. Conversely, if you are looking for countries that have 24 hours of sunlight, you can visit areas within or near the Arctic Circle during the summer months.
Countries such as Norway, Sweden, Finland, Iceland, and parts of Canada, including places like Tromsø in Norway, Reykjavik in Iceland, and Fairbanks in Alaska, have regions that experience the midnight sun phenomenon. During this time, the sun remains above the horizon for the entire day, providing continuous daylight.
For specific information on sunrise time and sunset time in different locations, it is best to consult a reliable online source or use a smartphone application that provides accurate and up-to-date data based on your desired location and date. The exact duration of daylight or darkness can vary depending on the latitude and the specific time of year.
As you move closer to the poles, the periods of continuous daylight or darkness become longer. So, what are you waiting for? Grab your bags, book those cheap airline flights, and get ready to experience something that’s totally out of this world! For the closest-to-home option, at least for those of us in the U.S., a great place to experience the magical midnight sun would be Fairbanks, Alaska. The state’s second-largest metropolitan area is also the American city that’s closest to the Arctic Circle–just about 120 miles away. While it doesn’t have 24 hours of sun, St. Petersburg is famous for its “White Nights,” when the twilight lingers through the night, allowing you to go ahead with usual daytime activities without the need for too much artificial light. Usually occurring every year from June 11 to July 2, the White Nights are also a reason to party, as the last 10 days of June are filled with concerts, ballet performances, carnivals, and a massive fireworks display during what is known as the White Nights Festival, If you’re up for a Nordic holiday with a delightfully different experience, then head to Hammerfest for the spring or summer. Over there, the midnight sun illuminates the night sky from mid-May to almost the end of July. If you’re a fan of the outdoors, you can’t beat the extended hours available to you for hiking, fishing, boating, and mountain biking. Already a travel hotspot thanks to its captivating scenery, Iceland becomes an even hotter ticket during the summer months when the days get longer. Around the summer solstice (June 21), the sun sets just after midnight and rises again at 3 a.m., and there’s no better city to be in than Iceland’s capital Reykjavik. Svalbard is a cluster of islands between Norway and the North Pole. While remote, the area sees a flood of visitors during its polar night season from mid-November to the end of January, when the almost constant darkness makes it an excellent spot to catch a glimpse of the magical Aurora Borealis, or northern lights. The main midnight sun period in Finland spans over June and July and you could get the best experience by basing yourself in the capital city of Helsinki. From here, you can take part in all kinds of classic Finnish summer activities, like hopping a boat to islands just off the coast, heading off to Lapland for the Midnight Sun Film Festival, or catching some swinging tunes at the Kalottjazz & Blues Festival in Tornio and Haparanda. While having most of a day shrouded in darkness may sound downright spooky and depressing to some, the holiday season revelry is celebrated by many locals in Norway. In Tromsø, the polar nights last for six weeks between late November and mid-January, but this doesn’t mean there’s a lack of color.
- Sunset-like shades dazzle through the clouds during the day while the absolute dark periods (which can last for weeks) are the best time to see the northern lights in all their glory.
- Q: Can you experience 24 hours of darkness or daylight anywhere in the world? While you can experience 24 hours of darkness or daylight in certain regions near the poles during specific seasons, most places around the world do not have continuous periods of darkness or daylight throughout the year.
Q: Is it possible to see the sunrise and sunset during the midnight sun phenomenon? In areas experiencing the midnight sun, the sun remains above the horizon throughout the day and night, resulting in no visible sunrise or sunset. The sky may change colors, but you won’t observe the distinct daily rise and set of the sun.
Q: How do countries near the poles adjust to 24 hours of darkness or daylight? In regions where the polar night or midnight sun occurs, communities adapt their daily routines accordingly. They may use artificial lighting to simulate daylight during the polar night, and during the midnight sun, they may adjust schedules and activities to take advantage of the extended daylight hours.
Q: Can you observe the midnight sun or polar night from any part of a country? While countries near the poles may experience the midnight sun or polar night, the phenomenon may not be visible in all parts of the country. It typically occurs in specific regions closer to the Arctic Circle or Antarctic Circle, so it’s important to research specific locations within a country to determine where you can witness these unique natural occurrences.
Which is faster light or sound?
Light waves travel much faster than sound waves. Light waves do not need a medium in which to travel but sound waves do. Explain that unlike sound, light waves travel fastest through a vacuum and air, and slower through other materials such as glass or water.
At what depth is there no light?
Light in the ocean decreases with depth, with minimal light penetrating between 200-1,000 meters (656-3,280 feet) and depths below 1,000 meters receiving no light from the surface. – This unpatterned, brown cusk eel (probably an undescribed species) has color typical of many fishes living near the bottom between 0.5 and 3.6 miles (1,000 and 6,000 meters) down in the ocean, where no light penetrates.
- The eye is large and can detect dim light produced by other animals, but it may not be able to see full images.
- Image courtesy of NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research, 2016 Deepwater Exploration of the Marianas.
- The importance of light in the ocean is reflected by the description of the ocean’s vertical zones of the water column in terms of how much light these zones receive.
The ocean is generally divided into three zones which are named based on the amount of sunlight they receive: the euphotic, dysphotic, and aphotic zones.
How deep is midnight zone?
Layers of the Ocean Epipelagic Zone This surface layer is also called the sunlight zone and extends from the surface to 200 meters (660 feet). It is in this zone that most of the visible light exists. With that sunlight comes heat from sun, which is responsible for wide variations in temperature across this zone, both with the seasons and latitudes – sea surface temperatures range from as high as 97°F (36°C) in the Persian Gulf to 28°F (-2°C) near the North Pole.
- Wind keeps this layer mixed and thus allows the sun’s heat to be distributed vertically.
- The base of this mixing layer is the beginning of the transition layer called the thermocline.
- Mesopelagic Zone Below the epipelagic zone is the mesopelagic zone, extending from 200 meters (660 feet) to 1,000 meters (3,300 feet).
The mesopelagic zone is sometimes referred to as the twilight zone or the midwater zone, as sunlight this deep is very faint. Temperature changes are the greatest in this zone because it contains the thermocline, a region where water temperature decreases rapidly with increasing depth, forming a transition layer between the mixed layer at the surface and deeper water.
- The depth and strength of the thermocline varies from season to season and year to year.
- It is strongest in the tropics and decrease to non-existent in the polar winter season.
- Because of the lack of light, bioluminescence begins to appear on organisms in this zone,
- The eyes on the fishes are also larger and generally upward directed, most likely to see silhouettes of other animals (for food) against the dim light.
Bathypelagic Zone The depths from 1,000-4,000 meters (3,300 – 13,100 feet) comprise the bathypelagic zone. Due to its constant darkness, this zone is also called the midnight zone. The only light at this depth and lower comes from the bioluminescence of the animals themselves.
The temperature in the bathypelagic zone, unlike that of the mesopelagic zone, is constant. The temperature never fluctuates far from a chilling 39°F (4°C). The pressure in the bathypelagic zone is extreme and at depths of 4,000 meters (13,100 feet), reaches over 5850 pounds per square inch! Yet, sperm whales can dive down to this level in search of food.
Abyssopelagic Zone The Abyssopelagic Zone (or abyssal zone) extends from 4,000 meters (13,100 feet) to 6,000 meters (19,700 feet). It is the pitch-black bottom layer of the ocean. The water temperature is constantly near freezing, and only a few creatures can be found at these crushing depths.
- The name (abyss) comes from a Greek word meaning “no bottom” because they thought the ocean was bottomless.
- Three-quarters of the area of the deep-ocean floor lies in this zone.
- Hadalpelagic Zone The deepest zone of the ocean, the hadalpelagic zone extends from 6,000 meters (19,700 feet) to the very bottom, 10,994 meters (36,070 feet) in the Mariana Trench off the coast of Japan.
The temperature is constant, at just above freezing. The weight of all the water over head in the Mariana Trench is over 8 tons per square inch. Even at the very bottom, life exists. In 2005, tiny single-celled organisms called foraminifera, a type of plankton, were discovered in the Challenger Deep trench southwest of Guam in the Pacific Ocean.
Which part of the Earth is in total darkness?
Locations around Earth’s equator only receive about 12 hours of light each day. In contrast, the north pole receives 24 hours of daylight for a few months in the summer and total darkness for months in the winter.