If you like: dystopia * corruption * enhanced abilities
Under the Never Sky is a dystopian future where Aether storms are turning the environment into a violent and dangerous place. Privileged people have fled to secure Pods where they can live without ever interacting with the outside world. Outside the Pod barriers, those who remain have evolved with the planet. They interact differently with the world that many would imagine possible. When Aria is forced into the outside, she discovers that it may be safer than inside the walls.
Rossi has created a strong contrast between these two coexisting worlds. One is sterilized; everything is the same and rigorously controlled. The other is very chaotic; no one knows where the next month’s food will come from, or where the next Aether storm will be. In the Pods, Pseudo is everything; very few things are experienced outside the virtual world. Outside the walls exists an enhanced reality of sorts. Aether has given people super-heightened senses, which gives them an enhanced intimacy with the world. Inside the Pods, the majority of people operate with a herd mentality. They do not question their security or how the Pods are run. Most people are one of the masses who can easily hide everything inside the virtual world and blend in. Outside, the exceptional individuals are prized and their skills sought out.
The world doesn’t need to completely fall apart for the message of Under the Never Sky be relevant. Prejudices keep us from exploring the world. People hesitate to interact with those outside their own circle – not only because they may look down on them, but also out of fear of the unknown. As time goes by, we learn that sterilized and clean isn’t always better. People need coping mechanisms to deal with the monotony. Much like in the Pods, virtual escapism is becoming an increasingly important part of life. Why face a disappointing reality when the illusion of the internet is so much more attractive? Apathy is easier than empathy. No one can predict the future, but Rossi encourages us to ask ourselves what we want the future to be like. Don’t let compassion and altruism become obsolete.
If you would rather stand out than blend in, read Under the Never Sky.
Rossi, Veronica. Under the Never Sky. New York: Harper Collins, Inc., 2012. Kindle Edition.