Sea of too much Tranquility – Time Travel Fantasy/Science Fiction Meets Book Tour – A Review

The cover of Emily St. John's time travel fantasy science fiction novel, Sea of Tranquility

The time-travel theme and elegant prose of Sea of Tranquility caught my attention, and I enjoyed the opening sequence featuring the utterly lost Edwin who showed both comic and growth potential. But my enthusiasm lagged because the story shifted to several other characters who failed to capture my interest.

Much of the book follows Gaspery, an unexceptional every-man who serves to shark-jump the plot forward.And though author self-insert Olive lives on the moon in 2203, she navigates a world that hasn’t evolved socially much past 2020.

She dodges comments about being a working mom Really? I don’t get those comments in 2024, but maybe Olive projects a “dump retro sexist bullshit on me” vibe. She spends a fair bit of her time whinging about being on a book tour. Book tour? Really? Book tours are almost extinct now, along with much useless work travel. Definitely got a “spare me your privilege problems” feeling while treading through the book tour chapters.

Also a sequence set in 2020, featuring Mirella, seems overstuffed with people and information. Apparently, these characters are from another St. John Mandel novel, awkwardly shoe-horned into the Sea of Tranquility plot.

Hoping for more, I read through to the end, but in the final analysis, I found this novel rather empty. I wish the author had stuck with Edwin.

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