frayadjacent: Buffy smirking over Giles with quarterstaff (BtVS: Faith)
[personal profile] frayadjacent
I wrote this on an airplane nearly a month ago, then forgot to post it till just now. I loved After Atlas and nominated it for a Hugo, to no avail.

After Atlas turned out to be a book I could stay up late reading -- something I rarely do. I always get sleepy! But I found the book totally engrossing, because the story was interesting, the world-building engaging, and because Carlos is such a well-written character. Highly recommended, with content notes that the book has references to male-on-male sexual assault and abuse and also deals with suicide a lot. As always, feel free to comment or pm me if you want more details about content notes/warnings.

And now onto the spoilers:

First of all, I spent the entire book convinced that Alejandro had been forced to commit suicide. I was able to predict most of the reveals that were specific to Alejandro's case, but that one -- the fact that Alejandro learned what he had been involved in was a lie, and that he was going to be left behind in the horror it helped create, and that's why he killed himself -- was a genuine surprise.

Holy shit with that ending! It was shocking and upsetting and horrifying. (And I'm still a little unclear how it happened -- obviously the order for the nuclear attack was given by people on Rapture, but it still would have had to have been carried out by/approved by/done in conjunction with people still on Earth. Right? Like, not ALL of the US ruling class was on Rapture, right? Even now, there's more than 10,000 elites in the US, and most of them aren't particularly good at science.)

Part of me feels like that ending was maybe unnecessary, although it does underscore how both Rapture and Atlas were about a select group getting to start over while everyone else is left being in the shit waste. The starting over of Atlas was a lot easier to sympathise with than Rapture, but it still was about a few people escaping the problems created by capitalism and white supremacy and environmental desctruction rather than solving them. Sorta like Ursula K Le Guin's Odonians.

And damn, I remember parts of Planetfall where Renata was wondering how people on Earth were doing. I don't remember exactly how long Atlas was in space, in Atlas's reference frame or Earth's, but I'm pretty sure they travelled near light speed, so a lot more time would have passed for Earth than for them, and so the events of Planetfall would have been  much after the nuclear war on Earth, I think.

As soon as I finished the book I searched for information about the next one. I'd always had the impression that Planetfall was a stand-alone novel, and that After Atlas was set in the same universe but only very loosly connected. And Planetfall *is* described as a standalone, on goodreads and on Emman Newman's website. And I couldn't find any mention of a third book being planned. But it's SO CLEAR that there's at least one more story to tell -- what happens when the group on Rapture arrives?

I'm still not 100% thrilled with how Planetfall ended -- for one thing, it means that any subsequent novels won't have Renata, and I want more of her like burning -- but the ending works much, much better for me now. Now it doesn't feel like an end, but a step toward the chaos and holy shit who knows what that will ensue when Rapture arrives.

And it's interesting to think how that would work, because both of the previous two novels have been so personal, so intimate, even as they tell big epic stories. The epic is still sidelined for the personal, for being so deeply enmeshed in one point of view that there is no pretending you know the full story. Who's POV would a third book be in? Dee's? Someone unknown's?

All I know is I really want this book to exist, and while we're at it can we have canon Carlos/Dee/Travis?
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