Landscape with Invisible Hand (2017, Candlewick Press, Young Adult Science Fiction)
From the publisher:
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.
Landscape with Invisible Hand, written by M.T. Anderson, is a futuristic satire in which aliens have colonized on Earth and have caused a myriad of unforeseen consequences with their advanced technology. With each chapter titled as a still-life painting, the story has a poetic quality that gives it an other-worldly feel. The emotional connection to Adam is beautifully written, and will keep the reader turning pages to find out what happens to him and his family.
There are a few inconsistencies with what the vuvv supposedly offer versus how life is described throughout the book. It’s implied the vuvv arrived offering everything for free, but then most people can’t afford basic necessities and it’s unclear how other humans have become insanely rich. Still, it’s an interesting concept and the relationships between the characters are what really drives the story forward.
As a satire, it does feel a bit heavy in making a point at times, which might not appeal to some readers. Highly recommended for science fiction fans. Best for ages 13 and up due to some profanity and adult situations.
4.5 stars awarded by an invisible hand
Landscape with Invisible Hand hits shelves next month.
Thank you to Candlewick Press for a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.