“January 29, 2035.
That’s the day the comet is scheduled to hit—the big one. Denise and her mother and sister, Iris, have been assigned to a temporary shelter near their hometown of Amsterdam to wait out the blast, but Iris is nowhere to be found, and at the rate Denise’s drug-addicted mother is going, they’ll never reach the shelter in time.
Then a last-minute encounter leads them to something better than a temporary shelter: a generation ship that’s scheduled to leave Earth behind and colonize new worlds after the comet hits. But each passenger must have a practical skill to contribute. Denise is autistic and fears that she’ll never be allowed to stay. Can she obtain a spot before the ship takes flight? What about her mother and sister?
When the future of the human race is at stake, whose lives matter most?”
April is Autism Awareness Month, and since two of my four kids are considered autistic (when they were younger, I was told using the term autistic was offensive, now I’m told that saying having autism is offensive and quite frankly, it all depends on who you talk to as to the correct terminology), I thought I’d read or listen to some books where autism was a central factor, whether it be non-fiction or fiction. On the Edge of Gone (Amazon) is a speculative fiction novel set in the not-so-distant future with a comet barreling toward earth. (Coincidentally, I started listening to this book the day the news was reporting on the ginormous comet was heading toward earth, but don’t worry, it’s going to fly past us.)
I really felt for Denise, the biracial teen with her junkie mother and transgender sister, and the plight they faced. Denise has a hard enough time navigating the world with her autism, and holy crap, a comet is going to hit the northern hemisphere soon, Her totally unreliable mom and currently absent sister are no help. They’re currently near Amsterdam, and there are shelters set up, but her mom keeps dragging her feet getting to the shelter. Instead, on the way to the shelter, they run across a generation ship, a massive spacecraft that is meant to fly off to another inhabitable planet like many other ships that have already left.
Just because there’s a spaceship in this story does not mean that this book takes place in space, or is, in fact, super science-fiction-y, which is what I liked about it. I like sci-fi that is grounded in current reality. This book has all the elements of a survival story. The autism plays a part of Denise’s character development, but I didn’t feel it was central to the story. She’s “high-functioning” (I know some people say you’re not supposed to say that anymore, but that’s the term our family uses) and proves useful to the generation ship and others.
As with any survival story, there are moments of peril, and sometimes there are journeys to various shelters and spots where the damage from the comet and ensuing tsunami aren’t as great. There’s tech mentioned in the story, like something sounding like an apple watch or advanced smart phone, I wasn’t sure which, but the book is definitely not tech heavy. Like I said, this is ultimately a survival story, and how an autistic teen reacts in the face of disaster.
Big props for all the diversity in the book; it was refreshing where it seemed to be added almost as an afterthought, and someday in the future, hopefully it will become so normal that it needn’t be mentioned at all.
For more reviews, visit www.bargain-sleuth.com
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