Landscape with Invisible Hand
National Book Award winner M. T. Anderson returns to future Earth in a sharply wrought satire of art and truth in the midst of colonization.When the vuvv first landed, it came as a surprise to aspiring artist Adam and the rest of planet Earth - but not necessarily an unwelcome one. Can it really be called an invasion when the vuvv generously offered free advanced technology and cures for every illness imaginable? As it turns out, yes. With his parents' jobs replaced by alien tech and no money for food, clean water, or the vuvv's miraculous medicine, Adam and his girlfriend, Chloe, have to get creative to survive. And since the vuvv crave anything they deem "classic" Earth culture (doo-wop music, still-life paintings of fruit, true love), recording 1950s-style dates for the vuvv to watch in a pay-per-minute format seems like a brilliant idea. But it's hard for Adam and Chloe to sell true love when they hate each other more with every passing episode. Soon enough, Adam must decide how far he's willing to go - and what he's willing to sacrifice - to give the vuvv what they want.

Landscape with Invisible Hand Details

TitleLandscape with Invisible Hand
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseSep 12th, 2017
PublisherCandlewick Press
ISBN-139780763687892
Rating
GenreYoung Adult, Science Fiction, Fiction, Dystopia, Humor

Landscape with Invisible Hand Review

  • Ameriie
    January 1, 1970
    Wonderful. I really enjoy Mr. Anderson's voice, as well as the parallels he makes in his stories. His books are raw and immersive, throwing you in without preamble, trusting you to figure out the world.
  • Emily
    January 1, 1970
    Futuristic satire so sharp I'm probably now bleeding internally in a few places. Novella-length short, would make a good YA classroom read - super discussable. And not 100% bleak. More like 80-20.
  • Jen
    January 1, 1970
    I got a copy of this signed for a friend who didn't like Feed. I loved Feed, so hoped that maybe he would like a different book by Anderson.After reading to page 57, I skipped to the end and am asking forgiveness from my friend. This was really quite bad.Setting/World. Takes place in the near-future, after benevolent, if business-minded (not benevolent if they only want $, just my two-cents) aliens come to Earth with amazing tech. That only the rich can have. So far, I'm seeing it. Then it goes I got a copy of this signed for a friend who didn't like Feed. I loved Feed, so hoped that maybe he would like a different book by Anderson.After reading to page 57, I skipped to the end and am asking forgiveness from my friend. This was really quite bad.Setting/World. Takes place in the near-future, after benevolent, if business-minded (not benevolent if they only want $, just my two-cents) aliens come to Earth with amazing tech. That only the rich can have. So far, I'm seeing it. Then it goes off the rails.The aliens decide no more clean sources of drinking water for the poor masses. They don't say WHY, maybe to make more money when the poor get sick from untreated water? Main MC has a nasty stomach bug due to dirty water. Never thought to boil it, really? So that's kinda weird.Then the statement that alien made food is cheaper than American grown. Ok, I can see that. But then to say everyone was out of work, so no money for food, BUT cheaper to buy food than to grow your own?!? Really?!? Cuz if the parents had no job prospects, they had a back and front yard. GROW food for your family for crying out loud! How is that more expensive than spending money you don't have on food? I think this was supposed to be some sort of awesome social commentary that completely missed the mark for me. Maybe my friend can explain it to me, because I just didn't get it at ALL. I hope he likes it, I know I didn't. 1.5 stars, not sure which way to round, since I really almost hated it, but I did want to see what happened at the end and I liked the ending, so up to two stars.
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  • Brandy
    January 1, 1970
    Terrifying in how timely this is. Aliens invaded Earth, sure, but it's really more colonization than invasion. They've brought technologies, and automation! They will help the economy! Except that automation means fewer jobs, which means higher unemployment, and everything goes downhill accordingly. (This is why the "realistic" tag, despite the aliens.)Adam is an artist. He's struggling to support his family and be true to his own ideals. Whether he's trying to hold a failing relationship togeth Terrifying in how timely this is. Aliens invaded Earth, sure, but it's really more colonization than invasion. They've brought technologies, and automation! They will help the economy! Except that automation means fewer jobs, which means higher unemployment, and everything goes downhill accordingly. (This is why the "realistic" tag, despite the aliens.)Adam is an artist. He's struggling to support his family and be true to his own ideals. Whether he's trying to hold a failing relationship together (for the ratings) or struggling with an embarrassing disease (because his family can't afford the medical treatment), Adam has a unique perspective and voice. It's a bleak portrait of the future, but not a distant one--a near future, one where automation has put millions out of work, where healthcare is only afforded to the super-rich, where teaching is replaced by one-size-fits-all videos and the arts are utterly unsupported. Publishing schedules being what they are, this had to have been written before the Trump administration took hold, and yet. ... this is a harsh, unflinching look at Trump's America. Monetize everything; you're only worthwhile if you're wealthy; fuck the poor and sick. I want this book everywhere.
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  • Jill
    January 1, 1970
    Ever since I fell hard for Feed as a teenager, I’ve followed M.T. Anderson’s career. His repertoire is eclectic to say the least, regrouping children’s adventure novels, historical nonfiction, and award-winning YA. In Landscape with Invisible Hand, he returns to the lands of trenchant satire that I first discovered and adored so much in Feed. If he could write one of these tomes every single year, gradually taking on everything that ails us—racism, capitalism, consumerism, imperialism, and so on Ever since I fell hard for Feed as a teenager, I’ve followed M.T. Anderson’s career. His repertoire is eclectic to say the least, regrouping children’s adventure novels, historical nonfiction, and award-winning YA. In Landscape with Invisible Hand, he returns to the lands of trenchant satire that I first discovered and adored so much in Feed. If he could write one of these tomes every single year, gradually taking on everything that ails us—racism, capitalism, consumerism, imperialism, and so on—I would be a happy reader forever.Here the tone is similar to Feed’s but more focused. The vuvv, an alien species with high tech and voices like sandpaper, have colonized Earth, leaving its human inhabitants to scrabble in the mud leftover. Anderson throws the reader directly into this dystopia, leaving her to draw the lines between Earth in 2017 and his fictional Earth of the near future. Although I enjoyed figuring it out by myself, I would have appreciated more detail on the hows, whens, and whys, simply to take advantage of Anderson's imagination. The book clocks in at a scant 160 pages, and I can't help but wonder why it wasn't expanded to novel length since there is more than enough material to support it.In this vuvv-conquered Earth, humans have nothing left to sell: vuvv technology can make everything better, faster, and cheaper. That’s why our hero Adam must sell the only things he’s got: love and art. Anderson dissects the dangers of commodifying that which was once considered sacred, even if on present-day Earth, Match.com and pop music are doing their darndest to break this commodification barrier without any extraterrestrial corrupting influence. The ensuing hijinks become zanier and zanier as the story moves forward, ramping to deliriously comic heights with one of the grossest and funniest break-up scenes in memory before climaxing with a laugh-out-loud speech about monetary policy and the metric system (American exceptionalism on the metric question persists even post-apocalypse). Faced with this cracked mirror of a story, I groaned, I guffawed, I shuddered. The satire flies so high, it may be in orbit, but it works because Adam is a believable and empathetic protagonist. He not only has to worry about the end of life as he knew it but also mundane concerns like “Is it embarrassing to be seen with my teacher out of school?” and “Will that hot girl maybe kiss me?” Landscape with Invisible Hand is too short to saw away a piece of your heart like Feed but it’ll certainly stab you in the stomach a few times in between your fits of laughter.
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  • Erin
    January 1, 1970
    Woooooooooooooooooooooow"Feed" was the last M.T. Anderson book I read, and that was probably over a decade ago. Needless to say, I was beyond thrilled when I saw that he had some new material coming out in the fall. That said, it can also be a bit nerve racking when an author has been out of your life for so long. I mean, I loved "Feed" and Anderson's writing style is one of my favorites, but what if after so long, it just didn't have the same effect? I mean I've changed, he's probably changed, Woooooooooooooooooooooow"Feed" was the last M.T. Anderson book I read, and that was probably over a decade ago. Needless to say, I was beyond thrilled when I saw that he had some new material coming out in the fall. That said, it can also be a bit nerve racking when an author has been out of your life for so long. I mean, I loved "Feed" and Anderson's writing style is one of my favorites, but what if after so long, it just didn't have the same effect? I mean I've changed, he's probably changed, so many variables! Well, I shouldn't have worried, because "Landscape with Invisible Hand" definitely reminded my why I love Anderson's work so much. This is a slim book, just cresting over a 100 pages, but my goodness does it pack a powerful punch. The desolation and deterioration of not only Adam and Chloe's relationship but Earth as a whole and its inhabitants is heartbreaking and, quite honestly, an interesting commentary on our country's current state. Additionally, with such sparse language, Anderson does an exceptional job of not only captivating his reader but he's also able to do so in a weirdly brutal and beautiful way. I think my favorite aspect of this book, though, is just how much discussion power it has for teens. I can seriously picture them talking for hours over this book and for that as well as all of the other reasons I mentioned, this is an absolute necessity in all YA library collections. Seriously. I'm probably going to re-read it right now . . . and maybe again after that . . .* Received this copy from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.*
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  • Brenda Kahn
    January 1, 1970
    Another brilliant dystopian science fiction that hits pretty close to home. Sly, satirical, bleak and believable.
  • Shannon (Mrsreadsbooks)
    January 1, 1970
    This was quite the interesting book. I am not really into science fiction, but this is more in the dystopian category I guess? Aliens have come to earth, they are called the vuvv. It isn't really an alien invasion, they landed and then they offered their advanced technology free to humans. However, with the advanced technology, comes a loss of jobs and a loss of money. However, these vuvv are obsessed with "classic" Earth culture, like 1950's type culture. The book actually opens with a scene th This was quite the interesting book. I am not really into science fiction, but this is more in the dystopian category I guess? Aliens have come to earth, they are called the vuvv. It isn't really an alien invasion, they landed and then they offered their advanced technology free to humans. However, with the advanced technology, comes a loss of jobs and a loss of money. However, these vuvv are obsessed with "classic" Earth culture, like 1950's type culture. The book actually opens with a scene that sounded like it came straight from a movie about the 1950's. So our main character Adam and his girlfriend Chloe decide to make money off of these true love, 1950's loving aliens but sort of creating their own little show for the vuvv to pay to watch, even though they don't particularly like each other anymore. I thought the book was interesting and it's written in a bit of a different way. The chapter titles alone are quite creative. I liked Adam as a main character and the premise of the book is a really interesting one; aliens coming to Earth but not wanting to take anything from humans or really staging an invasion. I am just not really a fan of alien-related stories, which is why I only gave this book 3 stars, just wasn't my thing. It is interesting and well written and if you are a fan of sci-fi or alien stories, I imagine you will find it quite interesting and a short, unique read.Thank you to the publisher for sending my an ARC of this book.
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  • Laura
    January 1, 1970
    “We are tiny figures, faceless, pointing at wonders, provided for scale, no lives of our own, surveying the landscape that has engulfed us all.”Grim! This book is extremely disheartening. Powerful, but wow! it brings ya down.When an alien race—the vuvv—first landed on earth offering technology and cures, humans jumped at the chance. BUT the consequences are now hitting home. Unemployment, sickness, poverty, and more start chipping away at Adam Costello’s family. He soon learns people will do any “We are tiny figures, faceless, pointing at wonders, provided for scale, no lives of our own, surveying the landscape that has engulfed us all.”Grim! This book is extremely disheartening. Powerful, but wow! it brings ya down.When an alien race—the vuvv—first landed on earth offering technology and cures, humans jumped at the chance. BUT the consequences are now hitting home. Unemployment, sickness, poverty, and more start chipping away at Adam Costello’s family. He soon learns people will do anything to survive. Or will they? Will Adam sacrifice his integrity as an artist to help his family? Drop in for visit to see.I liked Adam. His voice was so matter of fact and hilariously sad at times. Especially dealing with a certain chainsaw artist. :D Adam’s story will definitely get you thinking and talking.This succinct, little book with a whole new alien look is a quick read, but one that will linger with you. A read full of shit, aliens, art, class struggle, and so much more life throws at us.Recommended.***Quote taken from ARC***
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  • Michael Earp
    January 1, 1970
    Darkly funny, this alien colonisation story is a fantastic critique of market economics and the value of everything. M.T. Anderson is so great!
  • Trisha
    January 1, 1970
    Interesting and unusual.
  • Flannery
    January 1, 1970
    I adored this. It was a quick read, and should appeal to teens who like dystopias or bleak stories.
  • Melissa
    January 1, 1970
    M.T. Anderson is a wizard who writes sharp, dark, painful visions of terrifying futures (and pasts) that are nevertheless hilarious and infused with heart and hope.
  • Veronica
    January 1, 1970
    It was really well thought out and written. I liked how the vuvv were so different than the alien stereotype/ what we usually see. It was neat to see it all through an artist's perspective.
  • Mal Warwick
    January 1, 1970
    Science fiction is full of clichés about alien invasions of Earth, some evil, some benign. The murderous rampaging monsters that lay waste to the planet. The enigmatic species so different from the human race and so far advanced that communication with them is virtually impossible. The humanoid invaders who blend into contemporary society, either by morphing into human shape or because they themselves resemble human beings since we share common roots. You might think that every possible take on Science fiction is full of clichés about alien invasions of Earth, some evil, some benign. The murderous rampaging monsters that lay waste to the planet. The enigmatic species so different from the human race and so far advanced that communication with them is virtually impossible. The humanoid invaders who blend into contemporary society, either by morphing into human shape or because they themselves resemble human beings since we share common roots. You might think that every possible take on an alien invasion has been done before. Not so. In his new novella, Landscape with Invisible Hand, M. T. Anderson proves the point."We were all surprised when the vuvv landed the first time," Anderson writes. "They'd been watching us since the 1940s, and we'd seen them occasionally, but we had all imagined them differently. They weren't slender and delicate, and they weren't humanoid at all. They looked more like granite coffee tables: squat, wide, and rocky. We were just glad they weren't invading. We couldn't believe our luck when they offered us their tech and invited us to be part of their Interspecies Co-Prosperity Alliance. They announced that they could end all work forever and cure all disease, so of course, the leaders of the world all rushed to sign up."Big surprise! This was not a good idea. The story of the sad (and sometimes hilarious) consequences of this peculiar alien invasion is told through the voice of Adam Costello, a seventeen-year-old art student. Adam lives in a decaying middle-class home with his out-of-work parents and his younger sister. Because the vuvv give nothing away free of charge, and jobs are extremely scarce, everyone on Earth has essentially gone broke, with the exception of a small number of super-wealthy people who live in palatial homes that float above the land. The dollar and every other human currency is virtually worthless in exchange for the vuvv currency, the ch'ch. ("The lowliest vuvv grunt made more in a week than most humans made in two years.") Adam, his family, and practically everyone he knows are on the verge of starvation. He takes it upon himself to earn money so the family can eat, first with one crazy scheme, then another.Landscape with Invisible Hand, reflects the same inventiveness and sarcastic humor that so enlivens his popular dystopian young adult novel, Feed. The heading of each short chapter ("A Food Cart in Front of a Strip Mall," "My Parents' Bedroom, with the Covers Askew") represents the title of one of Adam's paintings. The book is full of surprises.M. T. Anderson (Matthew Tobin Anderson) wrote fourteen previous novels as well as a number of short stories and picture books. He writes primarily for young adults and children. Anderson won the National Book Award for one of his novels, among other awards.
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  • Alicia
    January 1, 1970
    An intelligent and short social commentary on a futuristic world where aliens have colonize Earth and Adam, the artistic child in the family who has lost their jobs due to the aliens automating everything is trying to earn some money. Well, aliens like watching love, so Chloe, who lives in the house now and him make some money. Adam also paints and his landscapes are plot points that move the story along. I must say that sometimes I don't "get" Anderson's books but this one was odd and deeply sm An intelligent and short social commentary on a futuristic world where aliens have colonize Earth and Adam, the artistic child in the family who has lost their jobs due to the aliens automating everything is trying to earn some money. Well, aliens like watching love, so Chloe, who lives in the house now and him make some money. Adam also paints and his landscapes are plot points that move the story along. I must say that sometimes I don't "get" Anderson's books but this one was odd and deeply smart in a way that I got and find fascinating. Without explaining each detail and issue that gets discussed, it's worth a read. And as I mentioned, it's a brief little thing-- almost a long short story-- that is accessible for those that dare...
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  • Zach
    January 1, 1970
    A great YA book about how aliens have basically already invaded. Commercialism and all that.
  • Alexandra
    January 1, 1970
    My AP Economics class was finally worth something! This was a quick and fantastic read that worked in allegory and literalism to paint (no pun intended) a scary--but not altogether unrealistic--image of the future. It was poignant, humorous, honest, and it had aliens. What more could you want? It had me cyclically racking my brain for allusions to free market theories, laughing at not-so-subtle digs at rich Conservatives (in the town I work, no less! There were literally scenes that took place i My AP Economics class was finally worth something! This was a quick and fantastic read that worked in allegory and literalism to paint (no pun intended) a scary--but not altogether unrealistic--image of the future. It was poignant, humorous, honest, and it had aliens. What more could you want? It had me cyclically racking my brain for allusions to free market theories, laughing at not-so-subtle digs at rich Conservatives (in the town I work, no less! There were literally scenes that took place in the my plaza), and cringing with existentialism. Somehow simultaneously pessimistic and optimistic, it "packed a punch." Anyway, I'm rambling a lot. Just read it! It's 150 pages, you'll make it through.
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  • Keitha
    January 1, 1970
    As usual, I found Anderson's writing tough to read but well worth the pain.
  • Jennifer
    January 1, 1970
    In this slim novel, Adam is an artist trying to help his family make ends meet after the vuuv, an alien race has arrived on Earth and ruined it through economic means. It's certainly an original premise and spurs questions such as: what is art? what is the value of art? of health? of integrity? It's not my favorite by Anderson, but it's definitely worth a read. Review from galley.
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  • Danni
    January 1, 1970
    I got an ARC of this at BookExpo and it's such a slim novel (also I love all of MT Anderson's other work) that it moved to the top of my reading list. It's a really quick, thought-provoking read — at times funny and sad. The text is sparse yet evocative. Every sentence is necessary and beautiful with not a word out of place. When the vuuv come to Earth, they provide advanced technology and manufacturing and medicine — and thus wipe out the world's economy. Adam and his family are broke, his moth I got an ARC of this at BookExpo and it's such a slim novel (also I love all of MT Anderson's other work) that it moved to the top of my reading list. It's a really quick, thought-provoking read — at times funny and sad. The text is sparse yet evocative. Every sentence is necessary and beautiful with not a word out of place. When the vuuv come to Earth, they provide advanced technology and manufacturing and medicine — and thus wipe out the world's economy. Adam and his family are broke, his mother has been searching for jobs but to no avail. They barely have money for food and clean water. The vuuvs love anything "classic," including a 1950s-style of romance, so Adam decides to sell a virtual reality dating experience. Think cameras and translators strapped to his chest and lots of cheesy phrases with Chloe, the girl who just moved in downstairs. Until Chloe and Adam don't even like each other anymore and faking love for money only causes more issues… Adam loves to make art, and not just virtual images or paintings of (boring) still life. He creates intense landscapes of the places he knows, surrounded by the vuuv technology looming in the background. Maybe he even has a chance at winning the interplanetary art contest? But he has an untreated disease since he can't afford the expensive vuuv medicine (get ready for some intense diarrhea scenes… I promise it's more fun than it sounds) — will his poor health ruin everything? Absolutely mesmerizing. Clever ending. Definitely recommend.
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  • Cat
    January 1, 1970
    As has doubtless become clear in my Goodreads reviews, Anderson is one of my favorite writers, and this George Saunders-esque exploration of a near-future Earth colonized by coffee-table-shaped aliens known as "vuvv" is both dark and powerful. In the vein of Feed, the teenage voice is usually aware of less of the implications of what he is saying than the author is, though in this case, unlike the enclosing narcissism of the Feed narrator, Adam's awareness grows through art, a powerful commentar As has doubtless become clear in my Goodreads reviews, Anderson is one of my favorite writers, and this George Saunders-esque exploration of a near-future Earth colonized by coffee-table-shaped aliens known as "vuvv" is both dark and powerful. In the vein of Feed, the teenage voice is usually aware of less of the implications of what he is saying than the author is, though in this case, unlike the enclosing narcissism of the Feed narrator, Adam's awareness grows through art, a powerful commentary of what art does, not just reflecting or recording our world but helping us see it.Each chapter title comes from one of Adam's paintings, and he does landscapes, beginning with the romanticism of a fantasy world and ultimately starting to draw the bleak combinations that he sees around him. There's a twist in the middle (note: I suddenly realize that this phrase applies literally, since Adam experiences gastric distress) that seems pure scatalogical humor (tonally odd for sardonic Anderson), but then it turns out to be thematically key to this novel, which is about how some bodies are consigned to illness and vulnerabiliy, preserved at a picturesque distance, while others (the vuvv overlords, the wealthiest of Americans) literally float above those things and refuse to see or care.Anderson takes aim at imperialism (including neo-imperialism and corporate imperialism) and class divides and the bodily tolls that they take through this science fiction. The contemporary resonances proliferate, both globally and domestically, as people in the Global South die of diseases long since eliminated in the metropolitan North and this loss of life is glossed over and ignored in the U.S. At the same time, so many conservative Americans oppose nationalized health care because of their perception that healthy people are better and sick people are worse. So the unexpected emphasis on illness and especially indigestion in the text takes on a central thematic and political role, especially since the "invisible hand" of the market seems particularly inimical to healing.Anderson also satirizes the colonizer's delight in the presumed authenticity of the colonized, which resonated with me because I teach Anglo-American modernism, and this period celebrated tribal masks and "savage" simplicity. The vuvvs decide that 1950s pop songs, religious icons (no matter how confused and non-referential), and still lives define human culture, and they buy these products. This is reminiscent of Philip K. Dick's The Man in the High Castle when the Japanese occupiers of the U.S. compete to buy the most kitschy Americana. Adam uses his art to push back against these expectations and to offer a political perspective on the real state of things. Anderson's love of classical musical and its expressivity comes through at the end when Adam meets a pianist who uses Robert Schumann to protest the regime.Sardonic and heartfelt, taking aim (like Feed) at media (like reality TV and social media) that make it harder for us to hear/see/feel our situation in the world. I actually thought the reality TV aspect of the novel was going to be more prominent than it is; the set-up of the book is that Adam and his "girlfriend" Chloe perform their love affair in online videos for vuvv. This works as an indirect poke at the The Hunger Games as well, where Peeta and Katniss's love affair may initially be for the camera and turns out to be sincere. In Anderson's world, hyper-mediation only leads to estrangement. The only answer is to get off the grid.
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  • Emma
    January 1, 1970
    "We all have to find some way to live with the world as it is now."When the vuvv first landed they told humanity that they could cure all illnesses. No one would have to work anymore. New technology would change lives.It should have been perfect.But no one thought about what no one working would mean for the economy. No one considered that all of this wondrous technology would be behind a pay wall. The early adopters--the ones who could buy into vuvv tech and tap into things the vuvv might want "We all have to find some way to live with the world as it is now."When the vuvv first landed they told humanity that they could cure all illnesses. No one would have to work anymore. New technology would change lives.It should have been perfect.But no one thought about what no one working would mean for the economy. No one considered that all of this wondrous technology would be behind a pay wall. The early adopters--the ones who could buy into vuvv tech and tap into things the vuvv might want to buy--they're doing fine. The rest of the world, the people like Adam's family, not so much.His mother used to be a bank teller but vuvv tech handles that now. His father, a former car salesman, can't sell cars to people who can barely afford food thanks to rampant inflation. Adam processes everything that's happening through his art--gritty and meditative landscapes painting the world he sees not the shiny, retro world the vuvv think of when they look at Earth and certainly not the bright, opportunity-filled one inhabited by the rich living in their elevated houses above the planet.When Adam and Chloe start dating, they think they can capitalize on their love by broadcasting their dates to vuvv subscribers. Their pastiches of 1950s hangouts with slang and affectations to match are just what the vuvv ordered. But it turns out dating someone and loving someone authentically while aliens watch isn't easy. As Adam's relationship falls apart he realizes that sometimes the only way to win the game is to stop playing all together in Landscape with Invisible Hand (2017) by M. T. Anderson.Landscape with Invisible Hand is a strange, caustic, and sparse. Adam's near-future world changes when aliens arrive but his struggles are depressingly timely as his family is left reeling in the wake of unemployment and skyrocketing costs.The skies around his suburban home are filled with vuvv tech and floating buildings while malls and stores are abandoned and looted in the changing economy. Thanks to the polluted water supply Adam suffers dangerous complications of Merrick's Disease while trying to save up for a visit to a vuvv doctor who could treat him almost immediately.Instead of chapters this short novel (160 pages, hardcover) is framed in vignettes based on the art that Adam is creating--painted landscapes of his dilapidated house, portraits of Chloe when they first meet and fall in lust, drawings of the stuffed animals his younger sister wants to sell and ultimately throws out in her desperation to help and also to grow up. Adam's first person narration is incisive and introspective. Anderson uses minimal details to vividly descibe the vuvv and Adam's bleak and absurd world.Landscape with Invisible Hand is a provocative and engrossing novel. Adam's journey and his ultimate realization are surprising and completely satisfying. There are no neat answers or tidy resolutions here but that makes the story all the more authentic and shocking. An excellent choice for readers who aren't sure about sci-fi yet as well as devoted fans of the genre. Read this one with a friend because so you discuss all the plot points and twists. Highly recommended.Possible Pairings: The Thousandth Floor by Katharine McGee, The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness, A Long, Long Sleep by Anna Sheehan, The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey*An advance copy of this title was provided by the publisher at BookExpo 2017 for review consideration*
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  • Samuel
    January 1, 1970
    This is a story narrated by Adam Costello, a teenage artist living in a near-future Rhode Island. An alien race called the vuvv have made contact with Earth, bringing amazing technology, lifesaving medicine -- and completely destroying the human economy. The vast majority of jobs are now obsolete, and while a few rich people live in floating cities among the clouds, most humans live in misery, struggling to find anything to eat, drinking contaminated water, and threatening each other with physic This is a story narrated by Adam Costello, a teenage artist living in a near-future Rhode Island. An alien race called the vuvv have made contact with Earth, bringing amazing technology, lifesaving medicine -- and completely destroying the human economy. The vast majority of jobs are now obsolete, and while a few rich people live in floating cities among the clouds, most humans live in misery, struggling to find anything to eat, drinking contaminated water, and threatening each other with physical violence over part-time food court jobs, for which there are dozens, even hundreds, of applicants.Landscape with Invisible Hand, from its mocking, Adam Smith-referencing title to its final period, functions as a blistering satire of modern America. The vuvv are patronizing colonialists, self-congratulatory about their efforts on behalf of humanity, but either blind or indifferent to the immense suffering their arrival has inflicted. Despite the fact that there are nowhere near enough jobs remaining, humanity's leaders and rich elites blame the suffering of the majority on the majority's sloth and greed, refusing to do anything that might actually help the situation. Most art and music consists of shameless attempts to please the vuvv, whose concept of human culture is built out of the detritus of the 1950s -- warmed-over doo-wop, uninspired still-life paintings, rockabilly clothes. Even the novel's ending casts some serious shade on the very concept of the "American Dream."This being an M.T. Anderson book, Landscape does also have a bruised, but beating heart. Even the most odious of the core characters is recognizably human, and Adam's unbreakable desire for meaning and beauty manage to carry him through even the lowest points of the plot. I don't want to give it away here, but his monologue at the end of the chapter titled "A Small Town Under the Stars" is possibly the emotionally moving thing I've read this year.Four stars for now. I may revise it up after I've sat with it for a while.*A slightly different version of this review appears at For Those About to Mock (abouttomock.blogspot.com)
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  • Blue
    January 1, 1970
    M.T. Anderson's Landscape with Invisible Hand is an incisive look at human nature. Every detail of the transformation the human race goes through during the alien colonization is an accurate reflection of the many times peoples and nations were colonized by others here on Earth. Just like the economic class divide that grows exponentially when a peoples is colonized by a greater force, the human race suffers a great divide when the vuvv, the super-tech aliens that can cure any human disease and M.T. Anderson's Landscape with Invisible Hand is an incisive look at human nature. Every detail of the transformation the human race goes through during the alien colonization is an accurate reflection of the many times peoples and nations were colonized by others here on Earth. Just like the economic class divide that grows exponentially when a peoples is colonized by a greater force, the human race suffers a great divide when the vuvv, the super-tech aliens that can cure any human disease and manufacture anything without effort, decide to expand their technological empire to our planet. While the rich humans live in comfort and plenty in the sky (literally), the masses are left jobless and without basic infrastructure. To the vuvv the humans are a primitive, spiritual race; they do not see the point in lifting the masses up from the filth. To the rich humans, the vuvv present opportunity and a good life. And just like any colonizing power that is alien to the natives, some vuvv find the human race fascinating, their art amusing, their notions of love intriguing, yet all from a sanitized distance.Anderson's attention to detail is, as usual, noteworthy. There are many little things that evoke past and current situations all around the world. There are also some universal themes that comically weave their way into the story, like the humans who shave their hair and start walking on all fours, to be like the vuvv, all with a mixture of egotistical zeal and complete shame. The ending, the solution to Adam's problems, is perhaps the most incisive criticism of our world and society today; though it makes perfect sense and should be expected, since it is how things are here and now, it still manages to surprise.Recommended for those who like dining rooms, family photos, intestinal explosions, and broth.Thanks to LibraryThing and the publisher for a copy of this book in exchange of my honest review. I read it in one sitting!
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  • Zachary Houle
    January 1, 1970
    M.T. Anderson (whose full name is Matthew Tobin Anderson) is best known for being a National Book Award-winning author of children’s and young adult fiction. His latest novel, Landscape with Invisible Hand, is a return to a Future Earth impacted by an alien invasion, his first novel in this setting since Feed in 2002. This is a short novel, readable in about two hours, that details how an alien species known as a vuvv has taken over Earth by means of peace: they’ve given Earth their alien techno M.T. Anderson (whose full name is Matthew Tobin Anderson) is best known for being a National Book Award-winning author of children’s and young adult fiction. His latest novel, Landscape with Invisible Hand, is a return to a Future Earth impacted by an alien invasion, his first novel in this setting since Feed in 2002. This is a short novel, readable in about two hours, that details how an alien species known as a vuvv has taken over Earth by means of peace: they’ve given Earth their alien technology and medical science in return for a co-existence on the planet. Unfortunately, the increased quality of technology puts the Earthlings out of their jobs as bank tellers and salesmen (and such). Nobody has a need for Earth-created things since the vuvv do it so much better.The novel is about a seventeen-year-old named Adam, who lives in poverty with his family. His father has run off to find work where he can be successful, and his mother endlessly applies for jobs beneath her just to hopefully land something that will help the family make ends meet. The home’s tap water is dirty and unsafe to drink. Adam, though, becomes the breadwinner when he and his girlfriend make romantic ‘50s-style reality TV for the aliens. It turns out that the vuvv are suckers of kitsch art, from doo-wop music to still-lifes to chainsaw art. However, when Adam and Chloe, his girl, break up, the pair is faced with a lawsuit for defrauding the aliens. Being an artist, though, Adam is entered into an intergalactic art content. Can he win and help his family leave debt behind?Read more here: https://medium.com/@zachary_houle/a-r...
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  • Courtney
    January 1, 1970
    M.T. Anderson makes a return to satirical science fiction in this yet-to-be published novel (novella?). An alien species, the vuvv, landed on Earth years ago, offering an end to work and disease. How could the human race turn down promises like those? It doesn't. Flash forward several years later and find that an end to work is only good if money isn't necessary (which it still is) and an end to disease is only useful if one can afford it (very, very few can). The vuvv currency is the only one t M.T. Anderson makes a return to satirical science fiction in this yet-to-be published novel (novella?). An alien species, the vuvv, landed on Earth years ago, offering an end to work and disease. How could the human race turn down promises like those? It doesn't. Flash forward several years later and find that an end to work is only good if money isn't necessary (which it still is) and an end to disease is only useful if one can afford it (very, very few can). The vuvv currency is the only one that matters, but all work is now automated and nearly everyone is out of work, including Adam's parents. Adam is an artist who realizes that his painting won't do much to help his family. He and his girlfriend Chloe, whose family lives with Adam's, agree to have their relationship recorded for the viewing pleasure of the vuvv, a species that reproduces asexually and thus has no need for romantic relationships. The vuvv also believe that human love looks a lot the stereotypical 1950's teen movie variety (think soda fountains, drive-in movies and necking in classic cars). The money isn't great, but it helps keep their respective families afloat. The biggest problem? Adam and Chloe have grown to despise each other, but must keep up appearances to keep the steady paycheck. Each chapter heading reads like the title to a work of art with the following chapter reading like a vignette detailing an episode in Adam's life as the world falls apart around him. The result is a darkly satirical vision of a possible future. Adam's sardonic tone, combined with the absurd quirks displayed by the vuvv, makes for a story that is far funnier than the depressing plot would suggest. The end result is a short but potent read that is far more than the sum of its parts. Highly recommended for fans of weird/quirky speculative fiction.
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  • Erica
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you to NetGalley and Candlewick Press for sending me an Advanced Reader Copy of this book in exchange for an unbiased review. I requested this book because I recently read Feed by MT Anderson and I enjoyed it so I thought I should give this book a chance, too. While I didn't like Landscape with Invisible Hand as much as I did Feed, this book does have its moments.This book started strong but got a little muddled along the way, as if it didn't know what kind of book it wanted to be. It was Thank you to NetGalley and Candlewick Press for sending me an Advanced Reader Copy of this book in exchange for an unbiased review. I requested this book because I recently read Feed by MT Anderson and I enjoyed it so I thought I should give this book a chance, too. While I didn't like Landscape with Invisible Hand as much as I did Feed, this book does have its moments.This book started strong but got a little muddled along the way, as if it didn't know what kind of book it wanted to be. It was sci-fi that toyed with a romance story that didn't quite fit comfortably into the overarching storyline. A few things didn't make sense. This book was also satirical touching on topics such as immigration, socio-economic divide, and it also made fun of the political logic that if poor people are so hungry, they should go get jobs instead of begging for food they didn't work for.I know what it's like to be Adam for a lot of this book; the hardships of being poor and trying your hardest to bring money into your home to feed your family. A father who walks out on you and your family. Hoping for something that will come along and save you financially. I want to talk about the end a bit more since it was so charming for me, but I don't want to include spoilers so I guess I'll just stop here.Overall, a decent book that I mostly enjoyed. I still might try reading more MT Anderson in the future.
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  • Tasha
    January 1, 1970
    The author of Feed returns to dystopian science fiction in this short and thrillingly sharp novel. Adam can remember the time before the vuvv came to Earth. They brought technologies, medical breakthroughs, and new money for the economy. But as everything was replaced with alien technology, it moved behind a pay wall that made clean water, medical treatment and safe housing impossible for most humans to afford. The lucky wealthy humans live in floating cities high above the decaying world. Adam The author of Feed returns to dystopian science fiction in this short and thrillingly sharp novel. Adam can remember the time before the vuvv came to Earth. They brought technologies, medical breakthroughs, and new money for the economy. But as everything was replaced with alien technology, it moved behind a pay wall that made clean water, medical treatment and safe housing impossible for most humans to afford. The lucky wealthy humans live in floating cities high above the decaying world. Adam though is trapped on Earth, looking for a way to save his family. He and his girlfriend decide to make films of their lives for the vuvv, but it all has to be 1950’s style romance and nothing kills real love faster than having to produce it on a schedule. As Adam’s romance fizzles, he comes up with one last chance to save his family but his illness from drinking polluted water may take away his one shot.Anderson’s writing is refreshingly frank. Adam narrates the book with a bleakness that is understandable and exactly the right tone. There is a sense of horror as the book continues; the ramifications of pay walls, levels of society, and the denial of simple necessities ring very true and very close to home. Even without an alien invasion, this could be the future of our society, one that is brutal, unconscionable and desperate. It is the frenzied need to attract the vuvv’s attention that makes this book so riveting. One can’t look away, particularly as the climax becomes so horrifying.Anderson skillfully places fine art into the mix of the book, giving Adam the gift of art and the decision of what to capture with his old-fashioned paint and canvas. It is art that shows the desolation of Earth but also what might prove to be Adam’s salvation if he is willing to modify what he does for the vuvv.Get this one into the hands of dystopian fans. It is also short enough at 160 pages that it could be shared in a classroom setting and would lead to fascinating discussions about society today and in the future. Appropriate for ages 15-18.
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  • Jamie
    January 1, 1970
    M.T. Anderson uses an alien invasion (or colonization) to make some profound statements on colonialism, cultural appropriation, artistic expression, and free market capitalism. Adam, our narrator and protagonist, takes the reader through a kind of museum tour of his works with each chapter focusing around a different piece of artwork; its inspiration and context. While the artwork is the primary focus, each landscape sketch or painting reveals the harsh reality that surrounds Adam and his family M.T. Anderson uses an alien invasion (or colonization) to make some profound statements on colonialism, cultural appropriation, artistic expression, and free market capitalism. Adam, our narrator and protagonist, takes the reader through a kind of museum tour of his works with each chapter focusing around a different piece of artwork; its inspiration and context. While the artwork is the primary focus, each landscape sketch or painting reveals the harsh reality that surrounds Adam and his family as they suffer the turmoil of an economy drastically transformed by the colonization of an alien species, the vuvv. Adam's trials stack one onto another as he attempts to find success through his art, but the vuvv only want what they deem to be the classic art and culture of Earth (a not so subtle depiction of cultural appropriation and the bias placed onto a people's cultural traditions and development). Subversion to the vuvv's desires only leads to greater consequences with Adam unable to express himself truly or his art to reflect his reality. Ultimately, Adam finds a new perspective in response to the social upheaval caused by the vuvv. This resolution is not simple or a complete solution, but it is does offer a satisfying conclusion that made me immediately want to re-read this work and continue to analyze its message and themes.
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