There’s so much to unpack in Gods, Monsters, and the Lucky Peach that I don’t even feel like I’ve processed all of it. There’s a lyrical quality, but at the same time there’s an incredibly depth that I would fall into over and over again.
Discover a shifting history of adventure as humanity clashes over whether to repair their ruined planet or luxuriate in a less tainted past.
In 2267, Earth has just begun to recover from worldwide ecological disasters. Minh is part of the generation that first moved back up to the surface of the Earth from the underground hells, to reclaim humanity’s ancestral habitat. She’s spent her entire life restoring river ecosystems, but lately the kind of long-term restoration projects Minh works on have been stalled due to the invention of time travel. When she gets the opportunity take a team to 2000 BC to survey the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, she jumps at the chance to uncover the secrets of the shadowy think tank that controls time travel technology.
My lasting impression of Robson’s novella is that this entire world building reads effortlessly. At first it’s like you’ve jumped into the deep end of a pool on a hot summer day. The shock is blinding and initially frigid because Robson doesn’t throw us any life boats. There’s no hand holding and incredibly tedious hand holding. We are left to surface on our own and feel the refreshing coolness of the water.
There’s a fantastic lyrical writing quality. Robson weaves these snippets of text at the beginning of each chapter. You don’t know if it’s past or present or folktale. And then it becomes clearer, the fog dissipates, and the pieces begin to fit together. I am still marveling just at the sheer number of pieces that come together seamlessly. Not only the world building, but there are some descriptive character that come together.
I loved the spirit of Kiki, but the soul of Minh. Just like with the world building, you become immediately immersed in their lives. They don’t dwell on the past or conjure up tons of memories, you find out snippets and pieces. It feels like an organic meeting of the spirits, like a crash course in getting to know a friend.
What I haven’t quite grasped is the sheer scale of this novella. The themes, the purpose, the backbone of it is more than just time travel or even helping the planet. There’s the idea of technology impacting history and myths, there’s also this long term planning. At the same time we deal with ideas about body images, humanity, and modifications. And at the end of the day I’m left wondering, how do we prepare the world for the future generations – for any future at all. Make sure you check out Gods, Monsters, and the Lucky Peach on Goodreads.