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News & Features » June 2014 » Akashic Intern Amanda Horn Talks Pills and Starships by Lydia Millet

Akashic Intern Amanda Horn Talks Pills and Starships by Lydia Millet

Pills and Starships
To celebrate the release of Lydia Millet’s debut YA novel, Pills and Starships, we’ve asked Akashic intern Amanda Horn for her take on this dystopia, set in a Hawaii very much unlike our own. Amanda, who has lived in Hawaii, gives us “the short story” and “the long story” about Pills and Starships, below:

The Short Story

How old are you?

Ok, so you’re an adult. How often to you read YA books?
Occasionally, when I hear something is really good.

You lived in Hawaii, right? For how long?
Just over two years.

How does the Hawaii in Pills and Starships compare to the real thing?
There are a lot of similarities—Hawaii is a paradise, full of vibrant colors and postcard-perfect sunsets. People in Hawaii take pride in the natural beauty, and they’re very conscientious. If a group of environmentalist freedom-fighters were to have a stronghold anywhere, it would be Hawaii. But luckily there are a lot of differences, too.

How would you describe Nat, in two sentences or less?
Nat is very grounded. She’s practical and realistic, yet she has a fantastic imagination and a true appreciation for the beauty around her.

What surprised you most about the book?
The intensity—intense loss, intense heartbreak, intense hope. This is a futuristic world of extremes, and everything about it is intense and vivid.

What would Nat Tweet, if she was on Twitter?
She’d definitely post a lot of pictures, and maybe the occasional complaint about Sam hacking into her computer. “@HackerKid808 I TOLD YOU TO STAY OUT OF MY STUFF #notagain”

Share a favorite sentence:
“I noticed, as we walked on in silence, that I wasn’t as down as the day before, that I was still scared for Sam, I was full of all this new knowledge I hadn’t really understood yet, my mind muddled with anger and grief and the confusion of my new, unmanaged life—the strange, scary looseness of being at large in the world.”

The Long Story

Pills and Starships is the post-apocalyptic story of a young girl and her brother, who find themselves fighting for the things they love, and realizing that there is more at stake than they ever imagined. This book hits close to home—not because we live in an environmentally-decimated world ran by corporations, where most of the animals are extinct or endangered and catastrophic natural disasters are the norm, but because we could. It is so easy to believe in Lydia Millet’s terrifying future, and Nat’s personal stakes easily become the reader’s own stakes.

It may seem dark at times, but out of that darkness we see the importance of hope, and beauty of the planet Earth. A very inspiring read from an amazing author!

Pills and Starships is now available from our website and wherever books are sold. Additionally, you can hear Lydia Millet read the first few pages of this novel on Arizona Public Media’s “Sound Fiction” program, hosted by Mark McLemore.

Posted: Jun 3, 2014

Category: Akashic Insider | Tags: , , , , ,