An Absolutely Remarkable Thing
Art school graduate April May nearly walks past the first robot and dismisses it as another cool New York City thing. It’s the middle of the night, after all. She’s tired, she wants to go home, and there are so many “cool New York City things.”
Then she reconsiders. How sad would it be to ignore the 10-foot-tall sculpture simply because it appeared in the middle of a city where remarkable is the norm? April calls her friend Andy. They make a video and post it on the internet. April goes home and goes to sleep.
She wakes up to a new world.
The video has gone viral literally overnight, and the world wants more of April, and more of the robot-sculpture, which she named Carl. In fact, Carls have appeared throughout the world, and people turn to April for insight. She’s convinced that the Carls exist to unify the world, but others aren’t so sure. When a communal dream travels from one person to the next like an infection, popular opinion becomes further divided. April quickly becomes a pundit—the very sort of person she once railed against in her art and conversation.
“It’s so much easier for people to get excited about disliking something than agreeing to like it,” April thinks. “The circle jerk of mockery and self-congratulation was so intense I didn’t even notice I was at its center.”
In An Absolutely Remarkable Thing, Hank Green explores the power of social media. As co-CEO of Complexly, a production company whose work includes the popular YouTube channel Crash Course, Green is well-versed in that realm. He is also known as one half of the VlogBrothers, alongside John Green, his superstar novelist brother and author of such YA bestsellers as The Fault in Our Stars. Green’s debut novel is an adventurous romp that combines science fiction and interpersonal drama to explore identity, relationships, a polarized world and the influence of media and popular opinion. An Absolutely Remarkable Thing is a fun, fast read that invites readers to contemplate their position in the modern world.
ALSO IN BOOKPAGE: Read our Q&A with Hank Green for An Absolutely Remarkable Thing.
This article was originally published in the October 2018 issue of BookPage. Download the entire issue for the Kindle or Nook.