Book Notes: An Absolutely Remarkable Thing

An Absolutely Remarkable Thing by Hank Green
Read Sep 16, 2021 - Sep 25, 2021

An Absolutely Remarkable Thing is nominally a sci-fi novel, but the sci-fi elements are a thin veneer on top of an easy-read, lightweight adventure story. There is no textured world-building or alternate visions of society of politics, as the action takes place in contemporary New York. The book is fairly funny, which helps with the unremarkable story and writing.

Perhaps the most interesting aspect of this book is its very “of this moment” depiction of social-media-fueled celebrity. It explores what “virality” does to those who are (un)lucky enough to achieve it, and how it all contributes to and intersects with the so-called “mainstream media” and polarization.

The book ends in a cliffhanger, presumably to be resolved in the sequel, which I’ll probably read. It’s a fun read, if a somewhat forgettable one.

Book Highlights

It is amazing how disconcerting a single vile, manipulative person can be even if you have never and (hopefully) will never see them. The power that each of us has over complete strangers to make them feel terrible and frightened and weak is amazing.

Most power just looks like an easier-than-average life. It’s so built-in that people mostly don’t realize how powerful they are.

That clattering of humanity mixed in all its randomness was as relaxing to me as crickets chirping beside a rushing brook.

When you get stuck fighting small battles, it makes you small.

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