Julie Riley is two years too young to get out from under her mother's thumb, and what does it matter? She's over-educated, under-employed, and kept mostly numb by her pharma emplant. Her best friend, who she's mostly been interacting with via virtual reality for the past decade, is part of the colony mission to Proxima Centauri. Plus, the world is coming to an end. So, there's that.
When Julie's mother decides it's time to let go of the family home in a failing suburb and move to the city to be closer to work and her new beau, Julie decides to take matters into her own hands. She runs, illegally, hoping to find and hide with the Volksgeist, a loose-knit culture of tramps, hoboes, senior citizens, artists, and never-do-wells who have elected to ride out the end of the world in their campers and converted vans, constantly on the move over the back roads of America.
File Under: Science Fiction [ #VanLife | Driving Out and Growing Up | No (wo)man left behind | Cube Route ]
"Greene creates an all too realistic world filled with very real people. A tale of growing up and what it means to be an adult, this is one not to be missed."
- Gerald Brandt, international bestselling author of Threader Origins
"Our collective fear of being left behind, brilliantly captured. Greene nails it!"
- Jason M. Hough, New York Times bestselling author of Instinct
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 19 members
Spaceships have left for Proxima Centauri, carrying the lucky few who get to leave an Earth devastated by climate change. The rest of humanity are left to hide in government sponsored cubes and spend their lives logged into Third Eye, or if they're a little more reckless, join the Volksgeist, a network of caravans and tramps slowly traveling what remains of the USA. That's what the book’s main character Julie Riley does, two years before she reaches the age of twenty-five, when she will officially be considered an adult. Following a timeless search for individuality and meaning amid a stark and relatable future, “Twenty-Five to Life” explores the fine line that separates segments of society living a dystopian reality from those living a post-apocalyptic one. R.W.W Greene’s sci-fi novel is a skilful blend of dystopian literature and a moving coming-of-age story. I thoroughly enjoyed not only Greene’s well-drawn characters, but the journey of the protagonists across a future America that is reimagined yet recognizable. This novel will appeal to anyone who has searched for purpose in life and a place to belong. It is engaging and memorable. Thanks to NetGalley and Angry Robot for the chance to view an advanced reading copy of this title.
I received this book as an ARC That being said, I can't wait until August to get a hard copy of the book. In a near future ruined by basically everything we do today, and where legal adulthood doesn't start until you are 25, life kind of sucks as a 23-year-old. When everyone is either trying to eke out life in the burbs before they end up in a cube in the city on the government dole, what are you supposed to do if you want more from life? Do you try and find the weirdos that have turned their back on that cube-city life and caravan across what is left of the US? OF COURSE YOU DO! This book is as much about how we are pretty close to a crap future if we don't get our stuff together, as much as its about growing up in a time where things are probably just going to stay bad (which hits kind of close to home). I loved this book and if you have a chance, you should read it, too. I am keeping this short because there is too much that would give away the good parts, including the author poking fun at himself. Buy(or borrow) this book and enjoy the ride--pun intended. R.W.W. Greene's second book is a fun and exciting read right from the start and you won't be disappointed.
Nicely done. This won't be for those seeking a story with a lot of action, since it's mostly conversations. It's well-written, and it's both dark and a bit uplifting in ways. Recommended for both sci-fi and literary fiction fans. Thanks very much for the free ARC for review!!
Just think for a moment of all the things you did before you were 25 that you couldn't have done if you lived in Julie's world. "Twenty-Five to Life" was a very thought-provoking story as well as being a thoroughly enjoyable one. The writing is perfect, the characters are not (they are far too real to be perfect!). I absolutely loved this book and think everyone should read it! My thanks to the author, publisher, and NetGalley. This review was written voluntarily and is entirely my own, unbiased, opinion.
Finding a SF book that presents the reader with something new and thought-provoking seems to be R.W.W. Greene's forte - Twenty-Five to Life takes the classic "the Earth is dying so we must escape" trope and flips it on its head. Greene continues to show why he is one of the better writers pushing the bounds of SF; his characters feel authentic, lifelike and flawed, and he does an admirable job of just allowing them to live within the world he's defined. As you progress through the story, Greene presents the reader with situations and ideas that are slowly expanded and mulled over, allowing for thought and internal conversation without ever feeling heavy-handed. With The Light Years (Greene's first novel) having been one of my favorite books of 2020, Twenty-Five to Life is presenting a strong case for a repeat.
Twenty-Five to Life is an exciting alternative history with aliens, an immortal misanthrope and sci-fi tropes aplenty. Set around seven decades from now, America has been hit with cataclysmic climate change and has limited the ability of those under the age of 25 to vote and receive full citizenship. Apparently, this is to solve some of the first world problems currently blighting the country and to protect the job market, lower the extreme shortage in housing and to help an overwhelmed infrastructure run more smoothly. The elite are to be ferried away to Proxima Centauri, their new home planet by six colony ships. However, the rest of humanity is left behind to die out including 23-year-old Julie Riley. 10 billion people left to just fade away, disintegrate. The bulk of the story is about Julie’s attempts to survive and to push the thought of the apocalypse she is experiencing to the back of her mind. This is a compelling, thought-provoking and thoroughly original science fiction novel peopled by engaging yet flawed and authentic characters who inhabit a well-built world. It's dark, but the humour and optimism brighten the mood every once in a while, and I found that it was a stark reminder of what is to come for our species if we don't start making changes regarding climate. If you're looking for plenty of action and thrills then this is not the book for you, however, if you enjoy books that consider and ruminate upon deeper real-world issues in intriguing contexts then this will be as captivating to you as it was for me.
This book is apocalyptic, but we live in apocalyptic times. Still, it's about finding community (even when everything is falling apart), about not accepting the roles we're given, about hanging onto hope and fighting for a future, even a little one. If you liked Cory Doctorow's Walkaway, you'll like this book (they have somewhat similar premises and political outlooks, but the stories are very different).