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Thursday, July 15, 2021

Reader's Diary #2218 - Jim Shepard: Phase Six

I don't often feel like I read to escape, but I'm not sure that Jim Shepard's Phase Six provided enough of one.

About a pandemic that begins in Greenland, it's very, very plausible. It turns out that this one is much worse, but the masks, the conspiracy theories, the politicizing, etc are all still there. I have to think Shepard had started to write this before Covid was on the scene, but still there are occasional references to the "recent" Covid disaster and these felt like late-game publishing choices, which is fine and understandable considering.

But if you're not exhausted of the pandemic and want to read about another, you could do worse than Phase Six. In addition to plausible science and society, the Greenland setting was well done as well. I mean, not having been there but having lived across Northern Canada, it comes across as accurate in any case.

Sometimes I felt the balance of character building and plot was off and by the time Shepard got back from the global scene or science and into the characters again, I was forgetting who was who. That wasn't true, however, for an eleven year old survivor named Aleq who I found endearing and tragic. 

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