When I bought this a few years ago, I was sure it was SF. Maybe it was the cover. Maybe it was the cover blurb. Maybe it was the opening:
“I was reading about how to survive the end of the universe when I got a text message from my friend Libby. Her text said, Can you be at the embankment in fifteen minutes? Big disaster. It was a cold Sunday in early February, and I’d spent most of it curled up in bed in the damp and disintegrating terraced cottage in Dartmouth. Oscar, the literary editor of the newspaper I wrote for, had sent me The Science of Living Forever by Kelsey Newman to review, along with a compliments slip with a dealine on it. In those days I’d review anything, because I needed the money.”
End of the universe, disaster, disintegrating, Science, future… SF, right?
There’s also the epigraph, a quote from the philosopher Jean Baudrillard’s Simulacra and Simulation.
I took it off the shelf as my SF of the week.
And, indeed, the narrator, Meg, is a waifish, depressed science fiction writer with a deadpan voice, a ghostwriter of the Zeb Ross Y.A. series and the Newtopia series.
So, yes, it was going to turn into SF. I knew it.
Somehow Meg can’t finish the literary novel she started years ago, and keeps deleting it down to 43 words. She doesn’t love her boyfriend and rarely has sex with him, is in love with a married museum director who is too ethical to have an affair, has fought with her friend, Vi, an anthropologist who theorizes about the narrative of nursing homes, has a psychic dog, B, and a close friend, Libby, a deli owner and inspired knitter whose life is equally complicated, as she is cheating on her boyfriend.
Meg’s limbo world of deadpan humor, numbers, narrative, philosophy, poverty, and powerlessness is curiously static, but I can’t stop reading.
It’s not SF, and I don’t mind at all. I just wonder where I got the idea that it was SF.