Valente’s signature wit is on display in The Sun in Exile. It’s a tale similar to the emperor with no clothes, featuring a version of the world where a leader has exiled the sun due to its betrayal of humanity. As expected, there is no blame accepted by the human race for the devastating climate change that has ravaged the Earth. I’m consistently floored by Valente’s wordsmithing abilities. It’s a Jackson Pollock-type explosion of descriptors that vividly display a world on the verge of literally burning out. You’ll find yourself laughing and shaking your head at the same time.
A couple of spoilers ahead, so stop if you want the collection unspoiled!
The Sun in Exile is a piece of brilliant climate change fiction. It amplifies the current absurdities of a population that doesn’t believe climate change exists, imagining a future where those opinions went unchecked for centuries. People are dying of heat stroke and they decide that it’s actually freezing. The mindset is impossible to fathom, yet reminiscent of the daily lies so many tell themselves about the state of our planet. Society will always find a way to push blame onto someone else, and this is one of the more absurd conclusions imaginable.
It’s also a look at the use of commodities in exchange for loyalty to a failing government. Everyone wants to be in his favor and goes on with the lie, afraid they’ll be overlooked. To see the truth is to die in this version of the world.
To conclude, you’ll love Valente’s writing style. It’s truly explosive, giving you lurid descriptions and humor alongside absurdity and the depressing possibilities of a future where people decide their own truths.
The Sun in Exile is included in the brilliant anthology, A People’s Future of the United States, available for sale on February 5. Order it now!
NOTE: I was provided a free copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for my honest, unbiased review.
A People’s Future of the United States
Publication Date: February 5, 2019
Ed. by Victor LaValle &
John Joseph Adams
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