Unity by Elly Bangs 📚
As I have noted several times that current circumstances make it difficult for me to sit down and read a novel, and I was only able to make my way through this one due to our recent travel days, the first in a very long time. This was a good book for the trip, in that it is well written, interleaving the stories of several engaging characters facing personal and global crises; but at the same time it was challenging to follow the conceptual threads, which pass through increasingly abstract layers of identity to ask fundamental questions about what it means to be human.
The story begins in a future world in convulsion due to catastrophic climate change, with nuclear, biological, and nanotech warfare threatening the end of humanity. The cast of characters seem to be typical post-apocolyptic tropes, but it is soon revealed that some of them are post-human gestalts created using the titular Unity technology. Amid the background of escape and conflict the natures of these post-humans are gradually revealed; it’s not a single facet, but several different paths rooted in earlier decisions (shown in flashbacks) and reflecting the various aspirations and morality of the characters in question.
With such transformative technology followed to its logical conclusion it would be hard to escape a deus ex machina ending, and Unity does not escape this fate; but the characters themselves reach satisfying resolutions of their own, despite disasters both global and personal.