A House Between Earth and the Moon

Penguin Random House Audio. Mar. 2022. 11:39 hrs. ISBN 9780593553077. $22.50. F
Scherm’s (Unbecoming) gripping novel is set in a nightmarishly plausible near-future. Just over a decade from now, global warming has made death by natural disaster a constant risk, with evacuation warnings transmitted through Sensus phones, stranding offline extremists to their fate by fire, hurricane, or heat wave. The aural implants provide constant connection at the cost of privacy. As total ecological collapse looms, Sensus founders Katherine and Rachel Son stand to profit from two new endeavors: their space station Paralaxis, a billionaire escape route currently staffed by environmental scientists tasked with creating sustainable luxury habitats; and Views, behind-the-eyes streaming video of the scientists’ every action, filmed by their nextgen phones. When Katherine recruits coding genius Tess to train history’s most sophisticated predictive algorithm on Views, Tess becomes an invisible, increasingly obsessed witness to unwitting subjects. She sees, then joins, the acceleration toward confrontation aboard Paralaxis and a new global paradigm. Xe Sands skillfully commands pace and pathos for a cinematic listening experience, slipping between voices as distinct and believable as the tragically flawed characters Scherm has created.
VERDICT Superb speculative fiction anchored by human drama, informed by genuine threats, and compellingly narrated.
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