FICTION: Yume Kitasei's sci-fi novel depicts our planet on the verge of collapse.
"The Deep Sky" by Yume Kitasei; Flatiron Books (416 pages, $14.99)
What happens when you spend most of your life trying to get to space, only to realize everything you love is back on Earth?
In the near future, Earth is close to environmental collapse and on the verge of a war between the U.S. and China. Radical environmentalists, men's rights groups and white militias carry out acts of violence as forests burn and species blink out.
The planet's first trillionaire, Linda Trembling, has launched a program to train 80 female and nonbinary teens to launch toward a nearby star system, all giving birth to the next generation on the way.
Chosen at the last minute, Japanese American Asuka Hoshino-Silva feels like a fraud before the Phoenix even launches. Then an explosion on the ship kills the captain and two crew members, and she becomes a suspect while the ship's AI begins to run amok.
With the clock ticking on their survival, crew members scramble to find the saboteur while hashing out old grudges and competing models of leadership.
Yume Kitasei braids two threads as her introspective thriller unfolds: In one, young Asuka struggles to connect with others as her family falls apart and she competes for a ticket off the planet.
Meanwhile, Asuka's mother joins an increasingly violent group called Save Mother Earth. Both responses raise a similar question: What level of disaster will it take before humans cooperate to ensure our own — and our planet's — survival?