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My Progress:


12 / 30 books. 40% done!

2024 Literary Escapes Challenge

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My Progress:


27 / 51 states. 53% done!

2024 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge

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22 / 50 books. 44% done!

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23 / 50 books. 46% done!

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48 / 50 books. 96% done!

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39 / 52 books. 75% done!

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26 / 40 books. 65% done!

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15 / 40 books. 38% done!

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10 / 25 books. 40% done!

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12 / 26.2 miles. 46% done!

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25 / 100 books. 25% done!

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My Progress:


63 / 104 books. 61% done!

Around the Year in 52 Books Reading Challenge

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43 / 52 books. 83% done!

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68 / 165 books. 41% done!
Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Speed Meets The Hunger Games in High-Octane Thriller

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

My husband's favorite feature on his new Tesla Model 3 is its ability to drive itself.  While the technology that makes this possible is, admittedly, pretty amazing, I find it a little ... terrifying.  My husband insists the car is always "learning," but its self-driving programming is far, far from perfect. When the vehicle lurches across the road for no reason or tries to exit the freeway unexpectedly, it's unnerving, to say the least. My husband may be fine with letting the car drive itself, but I am certainly not!

All of this is to say that I'm totally the target audience for John Marrs' new thriller, The Passengers. The plot plays on the fears of people like me who are not entirely sold on "progress," especially when it means an ever-increasing reliance on computers, robots, artificial intelligence, etc.  I, for one, find the novel's premise absolutely horrifying.  


The book is set in England in the near future.  The government has determined to ban all non-autonomous vehicles within ten years, gradually replacing them with driverless cars.  With the government offering huge incentives for people to buy the most advanced model of self-driving cars, British roads are already teeming with driverless sedans, taxis, buses, etc.  Despite guarantees of safety, not everyone is convinced.  Libby Dixon, for one, abhors the idea of autonomous vehicles.  She's even more disgusted by her mandatory summons to be part of a top-secret inquest committee that evaluates fault in accidents involving such.

When an inquest meeting is interrupted by a shocking news bulletin, Libby is sick to see that eight people are trapped in their driverless cars.  "The Hacker" is controlling their vehicles, the routes they are now traveling, and the massive collision he says will be imminent in just 2 1/2 hours.  As the passengers realize what is happening, their every emotion is captured with in-car cameras and broadcast to millions of viewers across the world.  An even greater panic ensues when The Hacker informs all that the public will choose who will live and who will die.  In what appears to be the most macabre and deadliest reality show ever created, no one will escape unscathed.

Aptly billed as Speed meets The Hunger Games, The Passengers is a high-octane thriller that kept me glued to the page.  It's gruesome and depressing, not gonna lie, but it's also a compelling and thought-provoking read.  In a world where every intimate detail of our lives is recorded, broadcast, and offered up for public examination, The Passengers asks some important questions about privacy, trust, bias, justice, and the role of technology and social media in our lives.  If you can handle the grimness, it's a thought-provoking read that would make for a lively book club discussion.     

(Readalikes:  The Passengers definitely reminds me of The Hunger Games, but I'm not sure what else to compare it to.  Suggestions?)

Grade:


If this were a movie, it would be rated:


for language (a dozen or so F-bombs, plus milder expletives), violence, blood/gore, and disturbing subject matter

To the FTC, with love:  I received a finished copy of The Passengers from the generous folks at Penguin Random House.  Thank you!
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Reading

<i>Reading</i>
Tress of the Emerald Sea by Brandon Sanderson

Listening

<i>Listening</i>
The Silent Sister by Diane Chamberlain



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