Tackling complex concepts in straightforward language (“No one consents to existing”), the Does explain that their children were conceived in love, encourage them to be existentially aware, and recommend a non-religious, joy-focused worldview. They punctuate their lessons with clever poems referencing Occam’s razor, Plato’s cave, and Fermi’s paradox. Discussing possible solutions for overpopulation in an age of dwindling resources, they explicitly reject eugenics, instead advocating to “make access to genetic technology a universal human right,” but readers may struggle to believe that individuals choosing which of their traits to eliminate would be much improvement over authoritarian eugenics programs.
Those who read widely and are acquainted with the philosophical and scientific concepts underpinning this story will have a leg up on enjoying it, but the conceit of the letter being written to young children makes it surprisingly accessible. The unusual concept, epistolary form, and surprising playfulness of the writing result in something special, perfect for both casual reading and philosophy classroom discussion.
Takeaway: Science fiction readers and philosophy students will enjoy contemplating the ideas in this provocative epistolary work.
Great for fans of Kazuo Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go, Nancy Kress's Beggars in Spain, Neal Shusterman’s Unwind Dystology.
Design and typography: C+
Marketing copy: B