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Above the Ether

review Above the Ether

Here is a mesmerizing novel of unfolding dystopia amid the effects of climate change in a world very like our own for readers of Emily St John Mandel's Station Eleven and Margaret Atwood's The Year of the FloodIn this preuel to Eric Barnes's acclaimed cli fi novel The City Where We Once Lived six sets of characters move through a landscape and a country just beginning to show the signs of cataclysmic changeA father and his young children fleeing a tsunami after a massive earthuake in the Gulf A woman and her husb. There are so many things I want to relay about Above the Ether by Eric Barnes that I am not uite sure I can give this book the justice it deserves Set in the near future we are thrust into the lives of ordinary everyday people faced with a ravaging earth There are some characters I can sympathize with while others not so much A father tries to protect his children from the floods as they abandon their home looking for safety A married couple suffering the devastating loss of both of their sons while the landscape around them burns A carousel worker suffering through his own loss and feels so alone A trader who makes money over the suffering of others These are just some of the characters explored in an ever changing worldEric Barnes has created an atmospheric and shocking story that even though is fiction and years ahead of us it is also uite relevant in today’s world He shows in his lyrical prose the stark realities of life the desolation and destruction of a ravaged earth the sense of doom and the sheer terror people face day to day as they try to live in a world intent on destruction One thing that really struck a chord in me is these are ordinary people People that I might run across every day and not realize they are suffering through their own pain I don’t think we ever really think about the person next to us and Barnes shows the reality of this by not naming his characters They are just faces in a crowd trying to live life the best they know how even if they are silently suffering insideEvery character in this story is really fleshed out and you can feel their pain and suffering Even though there might be a character or two I did not like I can also understand what made them this way While there are things I really enjoyed about this story there are also a few things that did make me cringe especially when it came to the investor and the boy Although the boy was never given an exact age for me it bordered on not being age appropriate Other than that one piece of information I can not find anything else that would deter someone from reading this story I definitely recommend if you are looking for something different and so so mainstream Dystopian

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And punishing themselves without relent for the loss of both their sons to addiction while wildfires slowly burn closer to their family home A brilliant investor assessing opportunity in the risk to crops homes cities industries and infrastructure working in the silent comfort of her office sixty floors up in the scorching air A doctor and his wife stuck in a refugee camp for immigrants somewhere in a southern desert Two young men working the rides for a roadside carnival one escaping a brutal past the other a ra. To say that I'm a climate fiction fan never sounds uite right to me because they're usually disastrous human extinction events that completely untether modern civilizations and I find them fairly terrifying but I am drawn to them So when I saw this I knew I needed to read it I have to admit that it was actually hard to read uickly because it was so vivid even though the prose was stark I'd never have expected that dandelions could be expressed as something so suffocating and relentless I needed to put this down a few times but it stayed in my mind pulled me back Once finished I needed a day to think about what I wanted to say about itThe dire situation presaged an ever closer ever inescapable cataclysm and people were simply existing in it with varying levels of acknowledgement Each of the characters followed are also not just dealing with the environmental changes they're dealing with fractured families estranged or missing relatives financial insecurities loneliness isolation and for one in particular exercising the power they have over those who are desperate This is my first read by Barnes and I'd read another I'll likely have to pick up his The City Where We Once Lived as I want to know what happens next Or rather I need to know Recommended Many thanks to the publisher for an Advanced Review Copy

Eric Barnes ê 0 review

Cist present The manager of a chain of nondescript fast food restaurants in a city ravaged by the relentless windWhile every night the news alternates images of tsunami destruction with the baseball scores the characters converge on a city where the forces of change have already broken a city half abandoned with one part left to be scavenged as the levee system protecting it slowly fails until in their vehicles on the highway that runs through it they witness the approach of what looks to be just one violent stor. this is a non formatted book that jumps from part of one story to another while there is no connection until the end of the story if then this is a world that has been destroyed by the deterioration of 'the city' because of the lack of jobs and the loss of production and repairs public works were delayed as the roads bridgeslevees and canals began falling apartBarnes inflicts his people with some bizarre ecological disasters such as when one city is swallowed up by dandelions but after reading how many of the characters came to be on the road they are all stuck on a highway that is below sea level When they are caught in a heavy rain there is a massive pile up on the sub surface road when the local levee collapses the road becomes a river rising to sixth feet in depthpeople from the north side of the city come to the aide of those from the south side who were stuck in the flooded highway the story is incomprehensible at some points or so convoluted that I can't understand why you would spend time figuring it out Read something else Iron Garland (Harbinger Book 3) in a city ravaged by the relentless windWhile every night the news alternates The Ritual images of tsunami destruction with the baseball scores the characters converge on a city where the forces of change have already broken a city half abandoned with one part left to be scavenged as the levee system protecting A Perfect Day for Bananafish it slowly fails until Bloodsworn in their vehicles on the highway that runs through Scene from Hadens POV (Falling Under, it they witness the approach of what looks to be just one violent stor. this Seven Shades of You (Twin Hearts, is a non formatted book that jumps from part of one story to another while there The First King Adventures Volume 2 is no connection until the end of the story Perfect Knowledge if then this Against Nature? is a world that has been destroyed by the deterioration of 'the city' because of the lack of jobs and the loss of production and repairs public works were delayed as the roads bridgeslevees and canals began falling apartBarnes Me and Mine inflicts his people with some bizarre ecological disasters such as when one city Mrs. Robins Son is swallowed up by dandelions but after reading how many of the characters came to be on the road they are all stuck on a highway that Shortchanged is below sea level When they are caught Books and Islands in Ojibwe Country in a heavy rain there Blackening Song (Ella Clah, is a massive pile up on the sub surface road when the local levee collapses the road becomes a river rising to sixth feet The Books of Magic in depthpeople from the north side of the city come to the aide of those from the south side who were stuck Los Libros de la Magia in the flooded highway the story Exclusively Yours (Kowalski Family, is Deep Crotch Mother incomprehensible at some points or so convoluted that I can't understand why you would spend time figuring The Watchman it out Read something else


10 thoughts on “Above the Ether

  1. says:

    I received this book through Goodreads First ReadsThis book reminded me a lot of The Road with the nameless characters and locations However the structure worked for that book I'm not so sure it worked as well with this one One of my favorite genres is dystopianpost apocalyptic so I was really excited that I had the opportunity to read Above the Ether However I was a bit disappointed with how everything came together Yes there is some sort of tie in with all the characters by the end of the book but it's a long confusing time to get there


  2. says:

    There are so many things I want to relay about Above the Ether by Eric Barnes that I am not uite sure I can give this book the justice it deserves Set in the near future we are thrust into the lives of ordinary everyday people faced with a ravaging earth There are some characters I can sympathize with while others not so much A father tries to protect his children from the floods as they abandon their home looking for safety A married couple suffering the devastating loss of both of their sons while the landscape around them burns A carousel worker suffering through his own loss and feels so alone A trader who makes money over the suffering of others These are just some of the characters explored in an ever changing worldEric Barnes has created an atmospheric and shocking story that even though is fiction and years ahead of us it is also uite relevant in today’s world He shows in his lyrical prose the stark realities of life the desolation and destruction of a ravaged earth the sense of doom and the sheer terror people face day to day as they try to live in a world intent on destruction One thing that really struck a chord in me is these are ordinary people People that I might run across every day and not realize they are suffering through their own pain I don’t think we ever really think about the person next to us and Barnes shows the reality of this by not naming his characters They are just faces in a crowd trying to live life the best they know how even if they are silently suffering insideEvery character in this story is really fleshed out and you can feel their pain and suffering Even though there might be a character or two I did not like I can also understand what made them this way While there are things I really enjoyed about this story there are also a few things that did make me cringe especially when it came to the investor and the boy Although the boy was never given an exact age for me it bordered on not being age appropriate Other than that one piece of information I can not find anything else that would deter someone from reading this story I definitely recommend if you are looking for something different and so so mainstream Dystopian


  3. says:

    At once achingly beautiful and terribly sad


  4. says:

    I enjoy dystopian genre all these different ways to end the world as we know it Climate is one way to go Popular enough to command its own subgenre climate related science fiction can be very compelling possibly because it’s so tragically realistic In this book the global warming is very real and it is devastating Wild fires raising waters albeit not in a geographical proximity that would have been a practical solution to both tsunamis earthuakes storms and so on There is a city nameless as all things are in this book that is separated into a distinct North and South end one inhabitable one abandoned But people survivelike they tend to And it is their journeys through this scarred new world that comprise this novel The book is made up of separate occasionally intersecting narratives following different survivors and their stories All of them are nameless but nevertheless distinct and compelling Although the lack of names does contribute to a general distance in the ambiance it is obviously a stylistic choice as is the clipped manner of dialogue and short almost staccato like sentence structure I enjoyed it in a way it provided a certain succinctness to the narration but for a dialogue it didn’t work to the same extent instead making it seem like every single otherwise completely singular individual spoke exactly alike The other thing is that the book and the stories within it seem very episodic like sketches so than actually proper plots It helps to know something inexplicably omitted in the description that this book is set in the same universe as Barnes’ previous book information I found out on GR after the fact Not sure if the two are seuential or merely parallel but maybe both provide a complete picture Or maybe both are just collections of character journeys It works as is especially if you’re in a mood for a relentlessly bleak near dystopian future that’s entirely too plausible for anyone following the news But it is all very one note very sad note uite heavy and probably not for everyone Gimmicks aside it’s well written but words like entertaining or enjoyable wouldn’t really be the appropriate choices to describe this book Not really climate sci fi either too close to reality It reads very uickly too But by no means an easy single sitting one afternoon read Thanks Netgalley


  5. says:

    To say that I'm a climate fiction fan never sounds uite right to me because they're usually disastrous human extinction events that completely untether modern civilizations and I find them fairly terrifying but I am drawn to them So when I saw this I knew I needed to read it I have to admit that it was actually hard to read uickly because it was so vivid even though the prose was stark I'd never have expected that dandelions could be expressed as something so suffocating and relentless I needed to put this down a few times but it stayed in my mind pulled me back Once finished I needed a day to think about what I wanted to say about itThe dire situation presaged an ever closer ever inescapable cataclysm and people were simply existing in it with varying levels of acknowledgement Each of the characters followed are also not just dealing with the environmental changes they're dealing with fractured families estranged or missing relatives financial insecurities loneliness isolation and for one in particular exercising the power they have over those who are desperate This is my first read by Barnes and I'd read another I'll likely have to pick up his The City Where We Once Lived as I want to know what happens next Or rather I need to know Recommended Many thanks to the publisher for an Advanced Review Copy


  6. says:

    Above the Ether takes place the day after tomorrow or so it seems An earthuake in the gulf at the same time as a hurricane creates an epic wave that devours the gulf coast Never ending fires render communities unlivable Drought devastates farmland Dandelions and mollusks and nature in general seems to have run amok Eric Barnes describes a dystopic future that is only a tick of the clock from our present a future where the climate catastrophe we have done little to avoid arrives And yet Barnes does not use the word climate once This is not a polemic this is a storyAbove the Ether follows six narratives a father and his kids fleeing the gulf a husband and wife seeking their runaway son a callous investor checking out the potential for disaster dividends refugees finally getting their release from a border detention facility carnival workers working their route and a restaurant manager just doing his job as best he can These disparate people move by happenstance and necessity toward an unnamed city where they converge in a crisis finding hope in the midst of despairNothing and no one has a name People are described solely by the roles Every location is unnamed leaving it to us to situate it in our own cultural geography So why is it so compelling? Why did I read this in one sitting skipping dinner and reading to the end? I think we value what we work forI remember being taught to put a notecard over the bottom third of the text while I was studying covering the serifs that make reading easier My professor explained that if I was forced to engage and infer while I was reading I would remember what I studied better He also said in the end I would learn to read faster He was right There is this idea in pedagogy that instilling a “desirable difficulty” in the work makes it easier to remember The concept of desirable difficulty might not be related to writing but I think it captures the magic of Above the EtherIt is as though Barnes took the writing advice of “show don’t tell” to its ultimate expression He won’t even tell us who is who and in some chapter fragments it can be hard to tell But that effort makes us engaged So much is unexplained we must bring ourselves into the reading process We cannot just sit back and read We have to think while we readWe care about these people because we have worked to know them and their situation We understand the catastrophe because we had to integrate our own experience Add to that the prose that is as simple as a hymn and as musical There is poetry on these pages as well as great understanding of humanity and compassion for the human conditionAbove the Ether is painful in many ways especially since this dystopia seems inevitable given our desire to consume the inheritance of the next seven generations all in one It feels grounded in the reality of likely outcomes and human potentialAbove the Ether will be released June 11th I received an e galley from the publisher through NetGalleyhttpstonstantweaderreviewswordpre


  7. says:

    this is a non formatted book that jumps from part of one story to another while there is no connection until the end of the story if then this is a world that has been destroyed by the deterioration of 'the city' because of the lack of jobs and the loss of production and repairs public works were delayed as the roads bridgeslevees and canals began falling apartBarnes inflicts his people with some bizarre ecological disasters such as when one city is swallowed up by dandelions but after reading how many of the characters came to be on the road they are all stuck on a highway that is below sea level When they are caught in a heavy rain there is a massive pile up on the sub surface road when the local levee collapses the road becomes a river rising to sixth feet in depthpeople from the north side of the city come to the aide of those from the south side who were stuck in the flooded highway the story is incomprehensible at some points or so convoluted that I can't understand why you would spend time figuring it out Read something else


  8. says:

    beautiful lyrical painful savage I loved this book and couldn't tear myself away from it But it's all too real


  9. says:

    Thank you to Eric Barnes and Arcade for a copy of Above the Ether which I won in a Goodreads giveaway This is a dystopian novel set in our near future In it our Earth is so polluted and changed through global warming that the weather has become deadly and unpredictable Different characters all unamed travel across country This novel was very bleak and dark The end offered some glimpses of humanity and kindness but it was so grim it was tough getting through I was interested in many characters and I found a couple appalling If dystopia is your genre I think you'd like it If like me you only read it infreuently be warned it is not a warm and happy future that Eric Barnes envisions


  10. says:

    Above the Ether by Eric Barnes is a highly recommended preuel to his climate change science fiction novel The City Where We Once LivedThe stories of six sets of vastly different characters are told in short vignettes set in the climate changed world Barnes first created in The City Where We Once Lived The weather patterns are unpredictable and violent while the ground is poisoned and the government is unable to provide any assistance This novel covers the changes before that led to the world he created None of his characters are given names rather they are named by a description We follow the stories of a father and his two children fleeing a tsunami in the Gulf; an investor making money betting on disasters; a couple punishing themselves over their sons addictions while wildfires rage around them; a doctor and his wife living in a refugee camp for immigrants; a young man with a violent past and present is working at a carnival; and the manager of a fast food chain in a city of fierce winds The different characters and their stories converge on the city which is half abandoned and the setting for The City Where We Once LivedThe writing and the stories are presented in a dream like fragmented manner in a harsh apocalyptic setting This is one of those novels that you will either commit to finishing or you will set it aside While the characters are going through turmoil and unbelievable hardships Barnes seems to purposefully keep his characters set apart at a distance from the readers as if they are just another small group of diverse people suffering The writing simply tells their story while holding the reader at a distance until the end It is left up to the reader to decide if they will care or not or if they feel this reality he has created will mirror our own world It is definitely bleak and almost hopeless as there is a glimmer of people coming together and helping each other at the endDisclosure My review copy was courtesy of Arcade Publishinghttpwwwshetreadssoftlycom20190


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