Review: Radio Sphere by Devin terSteeg

★★★★★ Radio Sphere by Devin terSteeg

In the not-so-distant future of “20XX,” the world has changed dramatically. Human innovation has advanced far beyond our ability to truly stay in-touch with the latest news and technology, leading to a social stagnation of endless consumption. We have greatly elongated lives, and yet we have so much more to experience; we’re a progressive society, progressed beyond our limits.

It should have been obvious humans were weak, and now it’s too late.

When human foolishness brings an abrupt end to our golden age of technology, an alien force dramatically alters the Earth in fantastic, unknowable ways. Our world is dying a slow, suffocating death, transformed into a psychedelic wasteland of forgotten glories and withered excesses. Yet humanity persists, and the seeds of a new beginning find themselves in the hands of two unassuming survivors, Elizabeth and George…

Radio Sphere is an unusual science fiction novel from debut author Devin terSteeg that handles the concept of a post-apocalyptic Earth in a refreshing new way. The world both before and after the collapse of modern society is alien and mystifying, delivered to the reader in stimulating snippets that really illustrate where we as a people, and the characters, are. The tone of a world that has run away from our full understanding is depicted wonderfully and does a good job of keeping the reader enchanted.

“Charming” is a word often misused when reviewing fiction, yet the term suits the book so well – there’s a lot of unique and engaging charm in the book that gives it a distinct personality and a sharpness that really makes it a memorable read. Once you break through that thin shell of the abstract, it’s a wonderfully rich and substantive novel – not to mention possessing a really deep cast who reflect the broken world that they have emerged from. A close analogue might be the film “The Congress,” which is both eerily alien, but also true to life’s excesses.

There’s plenty that could be said about the read but to really dig into what makes it so brilliant would take something away from the pure joy of discovery that Radio Sphere offers to a potential reader. It’s a bit of a weird little piece, to be sure, but that’s not in any way a criticism of the book. The book, in fact, elevates this weirdness to an artform. What’s not to love?

Relatedly, the book has evidently had a few covers, all doing a fairly solid job of depicting the bizarre and lonely remnants of the world that has been created. It’s surprising to find that a cover can do so much and yet say so little, and that feeling is definitely best shown through this particular version. It demonstrates everything good about the piece while answers very few of the questions it provokes, and that is absolute brilliance.

Radio Sphere is a charming and fascinating take on the post-apocalyptic genre that richly deserves attention for its artful delivery of a really stand-out and sophisticated plot.


Radio Sphere

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