We are the only Humans left…
In the furthest, coldest, darkest reaches of our solar system, Paul Munro is on a mission from which he can never return. A desolate ice-covered moon will be his home for the rest of his life. And only from here can he see what humanity has become.
A thriller to freeze your blood. To absolute zero.
WE is another book that I recently received and, with a quick look at the lovely cover and interesting blurb, I wanted to read pretty much right away. With the synopsis vague enough not to spoil the story, it raised my interest and made me wonder just how John Dickinson was going to approach a subject such as this – separation and isolation within the solar system. The first thing that struck me was the writing and how effortlessly he pulled me into a story that is much more than it first appears.
Paul Munro is separated from the World Ear, the one thing that almost all the population of Earth now use to communicate. It can allow instant discussion and interaction while providing a platform to have feedback and opinions at a mere thought. Once this has been removed, Paul feels very lonely and had to adjust to life with what feels like inferior and slower interaction. However, he has done this for a reason and soon embarks on an eight year frozen voyage across the solar system to his new home where he will take up the position of communications officer on an ice moon where only four humans live, and the World Ear is a distant memory.
On this moon he lives with three others -Lewis, Van and May – and must be a vital part of the team that keeps the moon in operation. He must deal with the loss of the World Ear, learn to engage in conversation and human interaction in a way he has never before needed to do, and he must solve the problem that is plaguing the communications to Earth. With all of these little things adding up it gets too much for Paul and events take an interesting turn.
The setting is definitely one of the highlights of WE and John Dickinson does a fantastic job of creating a haunting atmosphere and the feeling of complete isolation. The explanations and detail given of the station is realistic and believable and it felt like the fifth member of the group. The distance involved between the station and Earth mean that communication can take up to eight hours, and with the absence of the World Ear on the station it can feel like an completely alien civilisation.
The characters are also great and help bring the story to life. Munro is our main character and it’s through his eyes that we see what Earth is like before heading into the outer reaches of the solar system. It is his struggle to adjust that pushes the story forward and his determination that shows just how much of his humanity was lost on Earth. His new colleagues – Lewis, Van and May – are supportive when they can be, but are also trying to deal with a new member of their group that has very little social skills. The views each of these characters hold also become a key part of the story and it allows Dickinson to explore what it is to be human very effectively.
I found this such a great read and I was very pleasantly surprised by the prose and style of WE – I’ll look forward to anything else John Dickinson writes. Highly recommended.