The science of robotics has a hypothesis called "uncanny valley" which states that people are comfortable with "cute" robots (think R2D2) but as the machines start to look more like humans, the uneasiness factor increases. This queasiness quotient is also why California makes your skin crawl.
The dystopia that debut author Edan Lepucki imagines is not some outlandish Hunger Games-like landscape. Instead it is a setting that looks and feels very much like ours. The natural disasters that are glancingly mentioned read like logical extremes of what's already unfolding around us: wildfires in Colorado and Utah, and wild snowstorms across the Midwest and the east coast. These massive disasters have been enough, however, to push society over the tipping point. Los Angeles has gone to hell in a handbasket and even the most basic supplies are hard to come by. Cal Friedman and his wife, ...
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