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Pills and Starships by Lydia Millet
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Pills and Starships

by Lydia Millet

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Pills and Starships is a realistic story set in a dystopian future. Corporations have brought about major climate change, yet the corporations are in control more than ever, feeding the population pills to control emotions and even their time of death. Owning actual food or pets is illegal. Everything is supplied by the corporations. This book is written in the first person in the form of a young woman’s diary, a story of generations of resistance and endurance set in Hawaii. We find in these pages both despair and the possibility of a better future, one where power is held by communities rather than corporations. I recommend this book for those who care about the future of our living planet. May it inspire more people to resist. ( )
  SonoranDreamer | Jan 6, 2017 |
A provocative, absorbing, richly imagined story set in a near dystopic future brought about by global warming. There are echoes of other classic dystopian stories in this novel but Millet's prose is more elegant and storytelling nuanced compared to the many other YA novels in this genre. ( )
  Sullywriter | May 22, 2015 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Pills and Starships has a strong concept, and though in places the execution is lacking, I can picture certain members of its target demographic reading it over and over.

Millet writes it in a first person style using the conceit of a diary, to which our narrator Nat is recording her thoughts. Furthermore, this diary is addressed to an imaginary "Space Friend," which is the only part of the story that contributes the "Starships" of the title.

Nat is bland and uninteresting in a way one often finds in young adult fiction, and even some adult fiction. She is a vessel into which the reader is expected to pour his or her own self. She does not truly develop as a character, except insofar as she discovers more about the world in which she lives. That is, she changes in the same way that the author expects the reader to change. It is a didactic story first and above all.

After the long expository pages at the beginning of the book, my interest did pick up significantly. Millet is quite adept at painting her world, and once we are allowed to see the narrator interacting with that world, the pacing and power of the language increase to match.

The ending is one of hope, unlike many dystopian novels I have read, and the thought-provoking nature of this world should last long after the final page has been turned. Recommended for younger readers, but those with an interest in "saving the planet" and the darker aspects of human nature. ( )
  shabacus | May 18, 2015 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I have pretty mixed feelings about this book. On the one hand, I really enjoyed the concept, and I thought it did a great job of creating a future that could become all too real given our current environmental state. I didn't enjoy the narrative style though-- while I don't mind the conceit of the diary to have a reason for such a personal, first person point of view, the constant reminders that Nat was writing this story in her journal to some imagined space traveler got tired pretty fast. I also found the ending to be unnecessarily preachy, especially in context of the rest of the book.

Overall, a so-so read. It was a quick read, and I thought the world building was fantastic. I might not be running out singing its praises and throwing copies at people, but I wouldn't steer anyone away from it either. ( )
  photonegative | Apr 14, 2015 |
I have pretty mixed feelings about this book. On the one hand, I really enjoyed the concept, and I thought it did a great job of creating a future that could become all too real given our current environmental state. I didn't enjoy the narrative style though-- while I don't mind the conceit of the diary to have a reason for such a personal, first person point of view, the constant reminders that Nat was writing this story in her journal to some imagined space traveler got tired pretty fast. I also found the ending to be unnecessarily preachy, especially in context of the rest of the book.

Overall, a so-so read. It was a quick read, and I thought the world building was fantastic. I might not be running out singing its praises and throwing copies at people, but I wouldn't steer anyone away from it either. ( )
  photonegative | Apr 14, 2015 |
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There was a time, not long ago, when it was illegal to kill people. I almost remember normal life back then.
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Pills to control them
Corporations run the world
Planned deaths resisted

(SonoranDreamer)

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Seventeen-year-old Nat and her hacker brother Sam have come to Hawaii for their parents' Final Week. Global warming has devastated the planet, and the disintegrating society that remains is run by "corporates" who keep the population complacent through a constant diet of "pharma." The few Americans who stil live well also live long -- so long that older adults, like Nat's parents, blow out not by natural means but by buying death contracts. While Nat grapples with the bizarre ritual of her parents' slickly engineered last days, Sam begins to uncover a secret, wilder Hawaii hidden beneath the high-gloss corporate veneer. Their family's Final Week races toward its climax in the face of a looming hurricane as Nat struggles to protect herself and the people she loves -- Along the way forging her own surprising path to hope.… (more)

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