When the vuvv arrive, they come in peace. They make deals and work with the super-rich to create a world without work, which means the rest of the world has an even harder time surviving. Nice.
Adam and Chloe come up with a scheme to help their families survive, only to realize that making their relationship into a 1950s reality show will kill their respect for each other and any smidgen of love that might have sparked it and leave them wide open for vuvv lawsuits, too. (Litigious aliens… what a concept.) Add in a disease, some art, and absent family, and you’ve got a real recipe for disaster.
Strangely, there is a sort of happy ending here, but it doesn’t involve getting the vuvv to leave or becoming a part of the 1%. Life still kind of sucks, but oh well.
Why did I like this book? I don’t read a lot of sci-fi these days, so it was nice to come across this. Dealing with aliens (or the 1%) is bewildering and absurd here, but it’s mostly Earth-based, not on a ship in space. Adam and Chloe are great characters who aren’t trying to save humanity–just themselves and their families–and they’re not even doing a good job of it. I’d probably loathe Chloe as much as Adam does, but you can’t really blame her for hating him, either. This relationship is toxic all around, which shouldn’t be a reason to like the book, but kind of is.
Maybe none of this matters? Really, it’s just a good story—no surprise from M.T. Anderson. It’s not 500 pages long either, although it’s stayed in my head longer than some of those have. Good enough reasons to read it? Yes, yes.
Landscape with Invisible Hand by M.T. Anderson