Sea of Tranquility

It’s 2203, and Olive Llewellyn has traveled from her home on the moon to earth, where she is on a book tour. The book concerns a pandemic, and as she navigates the globe, rumors swirl of a new virus emerging out of Australia. (This, it should be noted, eerily echoes Emily St. John Mandel’s own experience, whose 2014 book, Station Eleven, concerns a global pandemic that prefigures the collapse of civilization.) But as Olive sits down for yet another interview, she learns that her interviewer shares a name with one of her characters—a very unusual name, making this a very unlikely coincidence. It’s here where things get weird. Later, while Olive is under lockdown on the moon colony, someone asks her what she’s currently working on, and she describes her present draft as somewhat “deranged.” But Sea of Tranquility isn’t so much auto-fiction as it is a referent for modernity—in which pandemics are familiar bedfellows, and time travel is less a technology than a cultural condition.