Everything Matters by Ron Currie Jr

The other day Clark persistently asked if an asteroid was headed to Earth and would it hit us? I said no many many times and each time he asked “how do we know?” I told him that if an asteroid was headed towards earth it would be big news and scientists with their big telescopes would have been tracking it for years and told us about it.  And then silently thought, “hmm….well….in the book I just read the scientists keep mum for a while about it”  Seriously-I did not talk about this book when I read it, so it was very weird that he would keep asking about it.  The premise of the novel is that a baby hears voices even while in utero that let him know the end date of the world (due to an asteroid).  That baby becomes Junior, a child who has to grow up with this knowledge.  He is not crazy–the ominiscient voices also tell him other things that prove to be true.  So he has the certain knowledge that the world will end for everyone in thirty-five years or so.  With that knowledge he has to wonder if anything anyone does matters and if life is worth living.

At times this was a difficult book to read.  Contemplating the extinction of all life is a pretty sad and heavy thing.  And yet, when Junior makes bad decisions and seems to be messing up his life you want better for him.  Sometimes funny, always thought provoking, and never maudlin.  This stayed with me a long time after I finished it.  (And now I want to read his other book, God is Dead.


4 thoughts on “Everything Matters by Ron Currie Jr

  1. What a strange and interesting concept for a book!

    Re: whether scientists would tell or keep mum…. I think it’s far less likely that they’d be tracking a big one and keep mum, and far more likely that they would simply have little or no notice themselves. It has happened several times that we have had little near-misses, including some that have come between the Earth and the orbit of our moon — and we’ve not seen them until they’re already whizzing by. Not planet-killers per se, but big enough to do some noticeable damage due to speed. Science isn’t funded terribly well, and there isn’t a lot of money given to detection of potentially hazardous objects.

  2. Amy, yikes! it’s crazy to think, isn’t it, that our planet’s survival is at the mercy of other things flying through space? I will definitely not being telling Clark about the near misses-he’ll never get to sleep!

    • No, I wouldn’t be telling a little one that either! Fortunately, most of those near-misses were not going to wipe out a whole country or anything, but they could have done some damage. (My husband is an asteroid scientist, so this stuff is always foremost in our minds. The good news is that we’re getting a better handle on what the things are made of — there are so many different compositions! — and what they’re made of would be the key as to how to divert or deflect them. But more effort/money needs to be spent on detection.

      I’ve been enjoying your reviews! I can’t even remember how/when I originally found your blog, but I have it fed into my Google Reader so I get to see all the new posts.

      • Am asteroid scientist! I will definitely tell Clark that that field exists.
        Thank you so much for following the blog. I love getting comments and it’s so much fun knowing other people are reading what I write. I’ve quite bad at keeping up this summer, but last night and this morning did a catch up.

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