We Have Always Been Here Review

We Have Always Been Here by debut author Lena Nguyen is an absolute stunner! This young lady hit it right out of the park on her first try. Elbow drop from the top rope! Power bomb through the tables! Call it whatever you want. We got ourselves a winner here. Like everything though, this novel is not for everyone. It’s a slow burner but one that manages to keep you from putting it down. If you’ve been looking for something that deals with humans and android communications and exploring the complex relationship between them, this will be right up your alley.

Machines, too, probably hated to be lonely.

Dr. Grace Park

The story here can be considered your typical space exploration trope where a future Earth is struck by a calamity of epic proportion that forces humans to find a home on distant planets and moons. However, what makes this exciting to me is how claustrophobic the setting really is! We follow Dr. Grace Park, one of two female psychologists on a ship destined for a new planet to see if it can be suitable for human habitation. Of course, things don’t go the way it seems and sure enough, a big mystery slowly unfolds. What I like most about her character is how flawed she really is! Not only does she have many insecurities but also the fact that she doesn’t like working with humans for the most part! That may be very weird for a psychologist as we tend to view people in this profession as perfect beings with the answers to every questions about the human psyche. For her to be accepted as a psychologist is in a way hilarious and a bit absurd but that makes it hit home that much more.

“I understand.”

Family Android Glenn

Due to the length of the novel, I did wish that the doctor would have spent more time with the other androids on the ship. There definitely were a lot of them but she really only got to interact with one. I think this would have made the climax towards the end that much more heartfelt and in a way, scarier. Another minor issue I’d like the author to hopefully address in her next sci-fi novel is to be more brash and hit the readers occasionally with more of that science fiction and geeky/nerdy stuff throughout the story. Rather than baking it all in towards the end, a much better approach would have been to sprinkle it at various places. I think that would have made this novel that much more awesome.

As a debut novel, this was truly a very good read and I have no doubt that she will improve. Will this be that last time we see the planet Eos? Dare I might hope for a spinoff or even a sequel a century or so later? Whatever she decides on, I’m pretty positive I’ll be there to support it. If you found yourself enjoying this novel, definitely check out Klara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro as it expands upon the relationship between humans and androids much further.

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