Thanks a lot for sharing your thoughts! I definitely think your criticisms of the novel have grounding, I don’t think that the novel is perfect myself, even if I did enjoy my time with it immensely. It seems to be a common criticism that the story was too short and that we didn’t get enough time with the characters to really understand them, personally I thought their characterisation was very to the point, the novel didn’t waste my time at all, I thought that Yumemi in particular was very subtle with the way she was written, flitting between being very strict and very fluid about the way she carried about her duties, and her attitude towards the world slowly changing from “I will call the other humans for help” to “You can help” to “I will help” Yumemi slowly gains agency through the story and I felt compelled by her struggle.
I definitely wouldn’t give the story a 10/10, as enjoyable as it was to unpack I, well, didn’t feel like I wanted to change my life after reading it. the dialogue about machine vs human is one echoed in plenty of cyberpunk fiction like Ghost in the Shell, Blade Runner, and Observer (anime, movie and video game respectively) so although I found the religious parable to be very interesting and skillfully woven, after reflecting I’m not sure what the story actually taught me, it made me think sure but I’m not sure what I can take from this and apply to my life with conviction other than ‘don’t forget to hope in dire circumstances’ but hey, that’s just me.
Thank you very much for calling him that, it really is the only appropriate title for him I only wish others could see this
The story is very intentionally paced I think, there were times when I was alt-tabbing to take notes that I would end up just sitting and thinking for a good 15 minutes listening to the soundtrack, conversely during the more urgent scenes I wouldn’t take nearly as many. Planetarian is designed for you to take your time with it and just observe this other world so close yet so far away from your own.
OH GOD YES. I’m terribly emotional when reading tragic stories like this, there were a few cracks in the dam wall by the halfway point (the projector scene when I realised there would be no more recharge for Yumemi) and then the floodgates were opened with the ‘broken’ speech, and there a secondary gate had to be released when she repeated her “won’t you come to the planetarium?” speech. It was all too much for me.
It took me 4 and a bit hours as a fast reader who takes a lot of notes at the same time, so 5 hours is a good estimate if you’re a tad on the slow side.