The Gone World by Tom Sweterlitsch #BookReview

Title: The Gone World | Author: Tom Sweterlitsch | Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons | Pub. Date: 2018-2-6 | Pages: 400 | ISBN13: 9780399167508 | Genre: Science Fiction | Language: English | Triggers: None | Rating: 4 out of 5 | Source: I received a copy from Edelweiss for review consideration.

The Gone World

Inception meets True Detective in this science-fiction thriller of spellbinding tension and staggering scope. The Gone World follows a special agent into a savage murder case with grave implications for the fate of mankind. 

Shannon Moss is part of a clandestine division within the Naval Criminal Investigative Service. In Western Pennsylvania, 1997, she is assigned to solve the murder of a Navy SEAL’s family–and to locate his teenage daughter, who has disappeared. Though she can’t share the information with conventional law enforcement, Moss discovers that the missing SEAL was an astronaut aboard the spaceship U.S.S. Libra–a ship assumed lost to the darkest currents of Deep Time. Moss knows first-hand the mental trauma of time-travel and believes the SEAL’s experience with the future has triggered this violence.

Determined to find the missing girl and driven by a troubling connection from her own past, Moss travels ahead in time to explore possible versions of the future, seeking evidence or insight that will crack the present-day case. To her horror, the future reveals that it’s not only the fate of a family that hinges on her work, for what she witnesses rising over time’s horizon and hurtling toward the present is the Terminus: the terrifying and cataclysmic end of humanity itself.

Luminous and unsettling, The Gone World bristles with world-shattering ideas yet remains at its heart an intensely human story.

Book cover for The Gone World

The Gone World Review

The Gone World was hard to write up a review for. On one hand, it was absolutely breathtaking in it’s scope and imagination. On the other, I never had the desire to read the book for more than fifteen or twenty minutes at a time. So, obviously something wasn’t quite clicking there. In fact, even though I was super curious to see how he was going to wrap things up with Terminus, I had to force myself to sit down and finish the book at one point. And that just didn’t sit right with me because there’s no reason I should have been so blase about reading the book. It really is gorgeously written.

The ideas and imagery Sweterlitsch uses in The Gone World will stay with me for a long time. They’re nothing extremely new, but the way he tweaks them gives them staying power. The Vardogger tree, the cabin in the woods, Shannon’s scenes with Nestor. They all ink themselves upon your mind’s eye. The author has a way with words at times that paint the scene so realistically it feels like you can step right into it. I can see why so many people absolutely adore this book. I think that when I find time to give it a re-read (which I fully intend on doing) I’ll like it better the second time around. Every time I think about this book, I feel this sense of melancholy settle down around me thinking about what the main character went through.

Of course, it cannot go without mentioning that The Gone World‘s main character is a female amputee. Of even more importance, she is actually hindered by her leg. The author didn’t take the quick and easy way out and give her a disability that is overcome within a few pages. Her disability is something she deals with daily in the course of almost everything she does – and yet she still manages to do almost everything anyways. This is the type of disabled character that makes me cheer.

Overall, this is gloriously imaginative, definitely depressing, and filled with scenes that you won’t be able to easily forget. Gone World didn’t quite hit it out of the park for me, but I’m definitely more inclined to say it was a case of “It’s not you, it’s me.”

Purchase The Gone World via this Amazon Affiliate Link

4 thoughts on “The Gone World by Tom Sweterlitsch #BookReview

  1. I just got the hardcover in my first Nocturnal Readers Box. I’m not sure I’m going to enjoy it. It sounds like it’s going to hurt my head. I didn’t care for Inception but I did enjoy True Detective so who knows. Sounds like you may have to be in a certain headspace to read it. I’ll probably save it for summer. If I read it now it might be too much.

    1. I don’t think it’ll hurt your head. It’s not a book that requires a lot of cross referencing or anything. But I do think a certain headspace and plenty of quiet time is necessary.

  2. I just recently had the same experience with a book. Never could quite pinpoint what the hitch was. Now you have me curious to try this one. Maybe it was just my mood? Or maybe there really was something stopping me from enjoying the book.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *