on June 09, 2011
When I first started reading this novella, I couldn't tell if Neville was actually falling off the world or if Gould was using this as a metaphor for trying to keep up with the fast nature of the modern world we all live in. I am happy to say that, after completing the book, I still am not sure if the entire novella was just a long extended metaphor for dealing with the struggles of keeping up. I believe it is and I say bravo to Mr. Gould for such an outstanding piece of work.
Clearly, Jonathan Gould is channeling the spirit of Douglas Adams in his clever wordplay, ironic similes, and even with his simple-minded everyman of a main character who accepts the absurdities that he faces with such aplomb that you have to wonder if he is daft or brilliant.
Gould takes jabs at patriotism, organized religion, modern technology, and numerous other examples of the absurdities of modern life in very a delicate way. Some satirists paint their satire with the bluntness of a can of spray-paint. Gould does it with a fine-tipped brush.
My favorite part of the story was the "aimless" asteroid that Neville visited. The fast-paced dialogue was good for a few laughs but also made me think about how many times I've had such aimless conversations with people about things that were really serious, or at least seemed as though they were at the time.
Ultimately, the reader is left with a simple message after experiencing Neville's travel through the asteroids and his quest to save the world: "Slow down. It'll be okay." I am glad Neville learned this lesson and I hope I remember it the next time I feel like I need to fall off this fast-moving world.