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Sci-Fi Meets Suburban: Exploring 'On Earth as It Is on Television' by Emily Jane

Rating: 3/5 ⭐️

I came across this book as I was scrolling through Goodreads and was instantly intrigued by the premise... the aliens show up, hang around for a while and just leave!? Wait, that's not how it's supposed to happen... what about the plot of Independence Day or Star Trek? Well, Emily Jane's "On Earth as It Is on Television" is quite different, it blends the extraordinary with the mundanity of everyday life. The novel, set against the backdrop of an enigmatic First Contact scenario, focuses less on the aliens and more on the human response, a refreshing angle in the sci-fi genre.


The story unfolds with spaceships suddenly appearing over major cities, a scenario ripe with potential. We see how different people react to it, some clear out the shopping malls of essential supplies and ready for their survival bunker. Some people load up on booze. Some want to establish contact with the aliens and start trading resources and technology. For some people, it's a break from the normal mundane existence of everyday life. It was refreshing to read the multitude of human perspectives on the arrival of aliens. This is pretty much how we are going to react if something similar happens. There won't be consensus, we will be divided, and it will be exciting and chaotic.


The narrative follows three distinct characters: Blaine, a family man anxious about changes in his wife. Heather, a young woman in Malibu seeking excitement in life, who feels the aliens' arrival is just not it; and Oliver, emerging from a long catatonic state, trying to figure out this altered world.


A sci-fi novel about alien visitors but focusing on human perspective can get stale quite quickly, this is where the humour and cats add to the story. Where the novel falters is in its exploration of the sci-fi elements. The spaceships, a catalyst for the story, remain a largely unexplored backdrop. Additionally, the pacing is uneven. Some chapters are gripping and move with purpose, while others linger on details that do not significantly add anything to the narrative.


"On Earth as It Is on Television" is a book that had me chuckling at its humour and nodding in recognition at its observations of life. However, it leaves some of its potential untapped, particularly in the realm of science fiction. It's a good read, one that I enjoyed, but it falls short of being a memorable addition to the genre. Thus, it earns a solid 3-star rating - a book worth reading but not without its shortcomings.

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