An Ab­so­lutely Re­mark­able thing

SFX - - Reviews - Jayne Nel­son

RE­LEASED OUT NOW! 352 pages | Hard­back/ebook Au­thor Hank Green Pub­lisher trapeze April May is walk­ing through Man­hat­tan one night when she stum­bles upon a giant ro­bot. It’s just stand­ing there, like an Easter Is­land statue, with no ex­pla­na­tion. Weird. Be­cause she’s a 21st cen­tury woman, she promptly calls a pal, who films her talk­ing about the ro­bot, and they post the footage on YouTube. And then things go ballistic – as not only does the video go vi­ral, but the ro­bots are found all over the world. What do they want? As the first per­son to meet one, April be­comes a global su­per­star... but fac­tions of the in­ter­net start caus­ing trou­ble.

It’s no sur­prise that so much of this book fo­cuses on so­cial me­dia, given that its au­thor, Hank Green, is CEO of a com­pany with videos that have been viewed two bil­lion times on YouTube. That’s why ev­ery­thing feels so au­then­tic: ev­ery tweet, ev­ery livestream, ev­ery troll. It’s a per­fectly ex­e­cuted study of what would hap­pen on­line if giant ro­bots did rock up and watch us, while April May is a per­fectly re­alised, fame-hun­gry YouTu­ber.

The cen­tral mys­tery is, ad­mit­tedly, a bit silly at times, and you could ar­gue that the last act stretches credulity. Nev­er­the­less, this is still a fas­ci­nat­ing look at some­one view­ing one of the great­est events in hu­man his­tory through Twit­ter.

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