Landscape With Invisible Hand

Landscape With Invisible Hand

Book - 2017
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National Book Award winner M. T. Anderson returns to future Earth in a sharply wrought satire of art and truth in the midst of colonization.When the vuvv first landed, it came as a surprise to aspiring artist Adam and the rest of planet Earth - but not necessarily an unwelcome one. Can it really be called an invasion when the vuvv generously offered free advanced technology and cures for every illness imaginable? As it turns out, yes. With his parents' jobs replaced by alien tech and no money for food, clean water, or the vuvv's miraculous medicine, Adam and his girlfriend, Chloe, have to get creative to survive. And since the vuvv crave anything they deem "classic" Earth culture (doo-wop music, still-life paintings of fruit, true love), recording 1950s-style dates for the vuvv to watch in a pay-per-minute format seems like a brilliant idea. But it's hard for Adam and Chloe to sell true love when they hate each other more with every passing episode. Soon enough, Adam must decide how far he's willing to go - and what he's willing to sacrifice - to give the vuvv what they want.
Publisher: Somerville, Massachusetts : Candlewick Press, ©2017.
ISBN: 9780763687892
Characteristics: 149 pages ;,25 cm


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Nov 18, 2019

M.T. Anderson is one of the best writers of YA books. I can't recommend enough "The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing: Traitor to the Nation" and of course, "Feed". "Landscape With Invisible Hand" has a similar theme as "Feed", a dystopic future complete with technologies that seem to damage as well as help. This has an alien invasion that sends the economy further into the have and have-not split it is currently in. Given how prescient "Feed" was (check the publication date and consider how well Anderson is describing social media today), perhaps Landscape is even more frightening and depressing than it already seems. The position of art in society is a surprising major part of the book. In its observations of people and society, Anderson again has what is missing in most YA books, an edge and a bite.

mko123 Apr 28, 2018

Artist teenager Adam Costello has two problems: how does he bring money into the household to keep food on the table since his dad gave up and split (coward) ; how does he keep from being embarrassed by his gasto-intestinal issues? The vuvv aliens have moved into the sky above earth with promises of free healthcare and advanced technology to the whole planet. But so far, it has only worked out for the rich and everbody else is unemployed and living on ramen. Well, it turns out the vuvvs love classic human love stories, art, you name it. So Adam and his girlfriend Chloe sell them a a pay-per-episode reality-show Teenage love story (1950's version). But when the relationship goes south and faking it takes a toll on them, Adam has to figure something else out. Does he dare stand up to consumerism run amuck?

This slim little satire depicts an all-too-possible future, but it is not without hope. Be sure to check out Feed, by the same author. It is like an updated version of George Orwell's 1984 and it is frightenly plausible.

Cynthia_N Jan 04, 2018

This was a quick fun read but it did address the issue of what do we do if everything becomes automated. If there are no jobs because everything is automated, how to we pay for medical care, food, or rent? The art aspect of it added some depth.

Lisa_Marie_C Nov 25, 2017

Aliens have landed! And they simply love 1950’s kitsch in this short and bizarre examination of art, class, and commercialism.

JCLChrisK Sep 29, 2017

Well, that was cheerful and uplifting.

Er, no, that's not quite right. More like bleak, biting, and darkly satirical.

And far too real.

Though science fiction set in a near future, this is all about living at the lowest levels of the global economy, subject to extremes of imperialism, inequality, ethnocentrism, co-option, and poverty. It's an exploration of the dark sides of economic and cultural power. It's just that in this case it's the humans of Earth who have been colonized.

There's just enough humor in Adam's narration to keep his circumstances from being too heartbreaking, and it at least ends with hope. This is a slim book, but it doesn't need to be any longer to be effective as entertainment and fodder for much thought (and discussion). I hope it finds many readers.


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JCLChrisK Sep 29, 2017

We are tiny figures, pointing at wonders, provided for scale, no lives of our own, surveying the landscape that has engulfed us all.

JCLChrisK Sep 29, 2017

"You think you're so great," says Chloe. "You're no one, Adam. You're nothing."

I laugh politely. "No, Chlo, I'm less than nothing," I point out. "I won't be no one without a little hard work."

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