Prime Meridian

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 15 Dec 2017

Member Reviews

In general, I’m not a big fan of novellas. I like a long story that I can really sink my teeth into. Too often, an author tries to do too much in a novella. They cram in world building, character development, a plot and a message, and none of it gets enough attention. I’ve read some novellas that spent so much time setting up the situation that it felt like the actual conflict got wrapped up in 30 seconds.

Prime Meridian by Silvia Moreno-Garcia is the rare example of a story that fits just right into the novella length.

Much of the success of this book is due to the author’s deft hand. Moreno-Garcia doesn’t spend a lot of time on exposition, yet she still manages to convey a sense of...

See Full Review
Was this review helpful?

There’s a candour about Prime Meridian that won me over from the start. Amelia glowers off the page, her daily frustrations and challenges all too familiar to anyone desperate to hang on to their dreams when faced with an uncaring world. This is a future so near you can smell it, made up of daily trade-offs – the value of Amelia’s time vs the cost of reaching her clients; the need for privacy vs the expense of drinking coffee in cafes; friendships vs social utility. She navigates snobbery and casual sexism, avoiding the gangs as assiduously as she avoids her sister.

It’s hard not to consider Amelia as lonely as she is frustrated, stewing in her own self-loathing. She takes money from...

See Full Review
Was this review helpful?

Set in a near-futureish time, this novella revolves around main character Amelia's struggle to eke out a life in Mexico City and her unceasing (if out of reach) desire to move to a colony on Mars.

Though it is set in the future, it is a future that seems scarily imaginable: The untenable life of a young person without means; The out of control gig economy; The society so divided by class that it's falling apart.

As with all Moreno-Garcia's work, her characters are fantastically rich (which is no easy feat in a novella). Amelia's humanity really shines through and carries the novella.

I would recommend this book to all of the disenfranchised millennials returning to...

See Full Review
Was this review helpful?

In the foreword, Prime Meridian is described as a ‘quiet masterpiece’ and I have to agree. I can’t find any other description that sums this novella up more succintly. I can only say that through Prime Meridian, the author documents the internal struggle and frustration faced by current younger adults at about 20-25ish years old, especially concerning their career life. It is often during this age that most people have just graduated from some kind of tertiary studies and are at that stage where rejection is norm and dead-ends are all you seem to face.

After I’ve figured out the theme that this book revolves around, I had originally thought that ‘this doesn’t look too good, the protagonist...

See Full Review
Was this review helpful?

I received an e-ARC of this book via NetGalley. Thank you!

Going into this book, I felt that there would be a more in-depth discussion of Mars, the main character Amelia's life on Mars. But as I progressed through the book, I was wonderfully surprised about what I encountered: a meandering story, much akin to real life, and how we go about our lives trying to reach that one goal. Whatever that goal maybe, we try to reach there. Yet there are many days when we stumble, fall and make the wrong decisions, which seem right or worthy in the pursuit of our goal. The author brings out these dilemmas, ability to get up from a fall, and the general thought that: life is completely...

See Full Review
Was this review helpful?

Prime Meridian is a rather quiet novella, following the low-key struggle of life in Mexico City for its protagonist, Amelia, while she dreams of life in the colonies on Mars. There's no intense action, just an emotional undercurrent of bitterness and the fear that she'll never escape Mexico City and her life there. There's an honesty about Amelia's character -- not always likeable, for the reader or for the people around her -- but always truthful, doing what she can to live her life and not kidding herself about it.

To say too much about this book wouldn't spoil it, but I don't think I can go too deeply into it. It's wrenching in a way that has nothing...

See Full Review
Was this review helpful?
A fantastic novella of extremely realistic and grounded science fiction. Actually, it this story is barely sci-fi or even speculative fiction and while it may exist in a near future where resources are scare and the divide between haves & have-nots is wider than can be imagined, it is less a fantasy than it is a gritty coming-of-age tale.
Was this review helpful?
An affecting and nuanced novella that examines everything from class, poverty, gender, generational conflict, capitalism, nostalgia, and how to hold onto dreams of something more in the face of dreams stymied and deferred. Fascinating world-building that feels very much like it grew out of the world we live in today, so much so that I wish I had been able to see more of it in the short text.
Was this review helpful?

(I received an early ebook copy of this book from the publisher through Netgalley. My opinions are my own)

Wow. I had no expectations going into this. I knew three things: the cover was gorgeous, it was listed as Sci-Fi, and the main character wanted to go to Mars.

What I got was leagues above and beyond.

The first thing you should know is this is a quick, fast paced story. It's written in the clipped, straightforward style reminiscent of the Lost Generation. This does not mean the writing is not beautiful and full of precious gems (it very much is). Ideally what I want you to understand here is, you don't need to commit yourself to an epic, sweeping tale. You can sit down on...

See Full Review
Was this review helpful?

Wow I'm not sure what I expected from Prime Meridian, but this wasn't it. This novella is a raw portrayal of life at the fringes, scraping dollars together, of clinging to a dream when every little thing seems to go wrong. At times it's hard to like Amelia, although to me it stemmed from how much she hated herself, but I think this barrier to really falling for her amplifies the story and gives it an essential depth. She's the kind of character you really root for, even if you'll never call her "your baby".

Also. Lucía. I love her. I love the unlikely bond between Amelia and her, the way it shifts as the story progresses. I love the unclear, human...

See Full Review
Was this review helpful?

Prime Meridian tells the story of Amelia, a girl whose biggest dream is to move to Mars. she now has to deal with disillusionment and with her own insecurities and problems so she can finally see the red planet.
this is a very short book, a novella, in fact. it can be easily read in one sitting. also, it is what we can call soft sci-fi. the sci-fi is there, the colonies of mars, the changes to the cities and to the planet, but it is all background information. the most important part of the narrative is Amelia.
i quite liked the story and could relate a lot to Amelia. that feeling that all your opportunities are gone and that you failed in life, that feeling of helplessness is something...

See Full Review
Was this review helpful?

This is from an advance review copy for which I thank the publisher.

This is a very short story (56 pages in Bluefire reader on an iPad), and it's less of a sci-fi (notwithstanding the cover which I pay little attention to anyway!) than it is a 'sigh and fie on you!' story, but in the end it was just the right length. Any longer and it would have been padded, and I would not have liked it so much. Any shorter, and it would have been inadequate.

The world this is set (Mexico in the near future) reminded me very much of the kind of world William Gibson created in Neuromancer. This author does it just as well if not better, but here it's nowhere near as hi-tech, so...

See Full Review
Was this review helpful?

Amelia is me in many ways and I think that's why I enjoyed this book. There's something about feeling like you've "passed your prime" and lost all opportunities you once had. I think the best thing about this book was that it's a novella. It is a snapshot of a life that once had dreams, close enough to touch, blow away in the wind.

The sci-fi aspect was more of a subtle theme than a major plot point and I really liked that. It focused on real circumstances faced by those who aren't privileged to be living luxuriously. I also love the use of the main character that dances on the thin line of these two worlds (not including Mars) that co-exist but never...

See Full Review
Was this review helpful?

<i>”Mars, Amelia’s Mars. Always Mars, in every stolen and quiet moment.”</i>
What a gorgeous novella. Though not without its flaws, this was a sincerely refreshing read and it satisfied my need for a good scifi story.

The world-building is way more exquisite and deep than most novellas and even some full-length novels, and it was believable in a way that I totally believe that the Earth could devolve into this in a few generations. It’s set not in a dystopia, but in a near-dystopian universe where no one knows their purpose and everyone just meanders around, filling the days with nothing. There’s no work and everyone is poor and the world is moving at a slower pace.

Amelia...

See Full Review
Was this review helpful?
Prime Meridian is an engrossing novella, set in perhaps the near future in Mexico, and starring 
Amelia. She dreams of going to Mars, but I feel that she really wants independence and control over her life and destiny. 

The burden of being or feeling trapped and impotent is soul-destroying, but the hope of hope and having a purpose or a goal to work towards feeds the will to live. 

I am intrigued by this author, and would like to read more.

*eARC Netgalley*
Was this review helpful?

This novella creeped me out. It was a snapshot of stymied dissatisfaction, a life arrested on its course and plunged by force into a stagnancy leading nowhere. If I sound overly flowery, like I'm trying to write a literary-sounding review of <i>The Great Gatsby</i> or some other profoundly uncomfortable classic work, it's because that's what <i>Prime Meridian</i> was like. <br>
<br>
Only I don't need any American Lit teacher to tell me, "You see, <i>Gatsby</i> was so influential because it encapsulated the essence of the 1920s-" because I KNOW exactly what this novella is encapsulating. It's encapsulating...

See Full Review
Was this review helpful?