No. 118 (essentialsaltes) wrote,
No. 118

Cloud Atlas, by David Mitchell

Cloud Atlas takes six lightly linked short stories, and folds them up into a nested sandwich. Each time you jump into the next layer story, you jump forward in time some decades. In all, the book spans from the 19th century into the indefinite post-Whoops period. Each story is well-written, and each has its own tone, and even mode of story-telling (epistolary, interrogation, diary, etc). In that way, it's somewhat reminiscent of Hyperion.
Overall, there are only tenuous connections between the stories, so it's hard to evaluate it as a novel. Oh sure, there is the telltale birthmark (I half-typed bookmark) that lets you identify certain souls. And certain themes reappear, mainly about human beings being schmucks to each other. Another theme or element I noticed was that each story involves a stolen book, or stolen papers, or (for the future) unauthorized data access.
Maybe my own genre preference is leaking out, but I found the speculative stories to be quite excellent, with well-realized future worlds. But all of the stories have their good points, even if I don't see them adding that much to each other, or the interleaving to add very much to the whole. But that one theme is well worth repeating, so I will.

Don't be schmucks to each other.
Tags: book

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