Title: Sleeping Giants
Author: Sylvain Neuvel
Summary: One day a girl falls into a hole, except that hole is home to a giant hand emitting a strange turquoise light. An unnamed interviewer begins collecting a team of individuals to begin working on finding the missing pieces of this giant figure and on assembling it. Several things do not add up, including the metal makeup of the giant, the weight, and the light emissions. The team works together to discover its secrets and its capabilities, although not without dire consequences.
Reaction: Love. I love the way Neuvel writes this novel. It’s set up on an interview format minus some journal logs, and the dialogue flows so well. It fascinates me that people can write an entire book in dialogue form. The writing style is engaging and it refuses to dumb itself down. The author trusts his readers and the read is deeply rewarding. The cast of characters is diverse in gender and there are plenty of females in powerful positions which in my history of sci-fi books, is rare, very rare. All characters have their own desires and their own respective issues. For a seemingly outlandish book, Neuvel keeps it real with character responses and portraying the human condition in the onslaught of a technological reinassaince.
Aside from being a story, it’s much more than that. It asks questions, hard questions. Would you kill in the name of future peace? How many lives are worth this project? Can other countries really work together and not use a weapon of mass destruction for an offensive strike? Are citizens really expendable to governments? Is it right to alter bodies to perform better even if that meant making unethical changes? Do the people involved in bigger-than-themselves projects have a right to make any choices about their personal selves?
These are questions that we must ask ourselves as society continues making weapons that remove the human from the physical destruction site. These are questions society and governments must ask themselves: who’s worth losing and who isn’t? Neuvel clearly shows that the western world, while promoting “equality” never really believes that everyone is equal to some. He also showcases a very capitalist point of view: you’re helpful to the government until you’re not, then be willing to get cut from the program and tossed out on your own.
The ending is a twist, one I never saw coming. The sequel which comes out in April of this year is a book I’m definitely going to buy.
Some really good quotes that I highlighted in the novel include:
“You train your soldiers to kill using video games. They blow enough people up on their computer and it becomes easier for them to kill with a real weapon. Why do you think your government funds so many war and terrorism movies? Hollywood does your dirty work for you. Had 9/11 happened twenty years earlier, the country would have been in chaos, but people have seen enough bad things on their television screen to prepare them for just about anything. We do not really need to talk about government conspiracies.”
“I suppose that’s why people are disenchanted with politics. They expect whoever they elect to change their lives.”
“Every major religion has to adjust to this revelation. Whatever god you believe in can’t just be about humans anymore. He, or she, has to be a god for the whole universe. Heaven, Hell, Nirvana, whatever, all these things have to be rethought, reshaped.”
“Redefine alterity and you can erase boundaries.”
Give it a read and then give it some thought; it’d be a great book to discuss a lot of topics that plague society today.