This won’t be one of my favorite books, but I have to admit it’s original. It talks about the end of our planet as we know it, but not in a typical way of a nuclear disaster or a big meteor colliding with North America; just the physical rules of the Universe change, and that changes everything else.

One day the news all over the word starts to talk about the Earth’s rotation speed: it is said it has became to slow down and the days last a few minutes more than 24 hours. It’s the end.

Immediately, people leave their jobs, pack their things and go away, but where are they going, if the Earth’s rotation is the same in the whole planet? In California, Julia, an eleven year old girl, sees all these things happening, but her dad’s opinion is that things must continue to work and he doesn’t let the panic come into their home; he is a doctor and he has decided to keep going to the hospital where he works, although many of his colleagues have gone. Julia’s mother doesn’t agree with him and, for the moment, she is trying to lay up a lot of food and water in case the world ends.

Of course, Julia is not allowed to leave the school, and she keeps on waiting at the bus stop with fewer students day after day. One day, Julia’s best friend goes away with her family and she begins to stay alone: she hasn’t got good friends and the boy she likes, Seth Moreno, ignores her. Some of the teachers disappear too and, as the days are longer, people begin to create communes in the desert where they adapt their routines to the new sun’s timetable, whereas the government sets that the day will be kept to 24 hours, like days before, so there will be nights when the sun will be bright and there will be days of darkness, if the real time doesn’t come together with the people’s one. Days can last more than 70 hours now.

And deceleration brings other consequences with it: gravity increases and animals begin to look sick. Birds are the first to die, insects proliferate and one day the beach dawns with several stranded whales in the sand; and for the first time, as a rotation’s miracle, Seth asks Julia for going to help and take water to the whales together. At the same time plants die too and the food for people and animals is in danger. Also a strange illness appears in the patients at the hospital where Julia’s father works: people suffer attacks and die. Even the solar radiation increases and Julia and Seth get sunburned although they have their clothes on.

All the same, people get adapted and go on with their lives, apart from the light or darkness. They thought it would be the end of the planet, but now they use the technology for producing food and, at the moment, Julia told us this story when she is twenty.

The only thing I didn’t like was those strange consequences and their importance. I mean, if birds and fish die, I’m sure it will be impossible to survive, because nature is a circle and, if birds disappear and the amount of insects grows, the crops will disappear too and a lot of illnesses would be transported by the insects, so a lot of animals, and perhaps humans, would also die. I know the writer wants to talk about human adaptation, but I think it’s impossible in that situation.

The most interesting thing for me has been that, after the reading, I looked up information about the Earth’s rotation, and it’s true! Days last a very little bit more than 24 hours and, at the moment, our years last 365 days and one second, which is added at the end of New Year’s Eve. I have read that the planets’ normal evolution routes to deceleration and this also happens with their satellites, and there will be a time in thousands of years when the Earth and the Moon will rotate at the same speed, so we will see the Moon rising and setting always at the same hour.

Anyway, the story shows a different kind of apocalypse, and it’s original, but the score is only 3/5 just because I think adaptation is impossible in a few days living in the new Earth’s situation, like the book.

My review in Spanish: here

The age of miracles
Karen Thompson Walker
384 pages