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'Sea of Tranquility' by Emily St. John Mandel: A Fresh Take on Sci-Fi

Rating: 4/5 ⭐️


Emily St. John Mandel's "Sea of Tranquility," is quite different from any of the other Sci-fi novels I've read before. This is the first time I'm reading her novel even though I was aware of Station Eleven and The Glass Hotel. I started this book without knowing too much about it and was pleasantly surprised.


The story jumps through time and interconnected narratives. One of the standout elements of "Sea of Tranquility" is the reflection on the Covid-19 pandemic. Written during the Covid pandemic, Mandel seamlessly integrates our collective experiences into the narrative.


The novel explores time travel and questions the nature of reality. Are we living in a simulation, is this the Matrix? While the question is answered by the end of the book, it is not explored in any detail. Instead, one of the characters sums it all up in a quote, “A life lived in a simulation is still a life” suggesting that that no matter if life is "real" or simulated, our lived experience and connections still have meaning.


"Sea of Tranquility" is quite the journey challenging the perception of reality and time. I think I spent half a day thinking about, the story, the time travel aspect, the questioning of reality and the human story that is in the middle of it all. I really enjoyed listening to it on audible and I highly recommend it. Next, I'm going to check out Station Eleven, which is actually quite popular and there was a TV show based on it.

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