mood music: big jet plane – Angus and Julia Stone
This was my second read of 2024, again I picked up this book becuase it’s been adapted into a film starring Saoirse Ronan and Paul Mescal. It was much better than my first read of the year, Eileen, although I was left with questions once I was done with it.
Foe follows Junior and Hen, a married couple living on an isolated farm in the near future (the film has the story set in 2065). Modern technology has advanced, with all cars being self operating and most people using a screen of some kind to communicate. But the couple’s life remains analog, in a metaphorical sense. Junior works at a grain mill, Hen also works but its never explained what her job is. The couple are home one night when they are visited by a mysterious stranger, a government contractor named Terrance. He arrives at their home unnanounced and explains that he is working on behalf of OuterMore (a take on SpaceX), and that Junior has been selected as a potential participant for something called the Installation, which is a space station that OuterMore has built in order to expand human life outside of Earth.
Terrenace continues to visit the couple over the course of a few years, with each visit bringing more news. Junior has been selected for the shortlist of potential participants, and eventually he is selected as a participant for the Installation. But there is a catch – while Junior is away, for the duration of his 2 years on the Installation Hen will remain on Earth, and will be accompanied by an exact replica of Junior. This turn of events puts stress on the couples marriage, with Hen becoming increasingly distant from Junior. Junior, while trying to work things out with Hen, is also suspect of Terrance and his intentions. He begins to doubt that Terrnace is who is says he is, and that the Installation is something that actually exists (Google is free, and no one seems to use it).
A very interesting take on the sci-fi thriller, Reid is able to create a believable story, as these kinds of events don’t seem that farfetched in our timeline. The idea of replicas may be a bit farfetched, but we know these billionaires are trying to figure out a way to colonize outerspace somehow.