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Robots take over NYC in ‘An Absolutely Remarkable Thing’

September 25, 2018 By Lincee Ray The Associated Press
"An Absolutely Remarkable Thing," a novel by Hank Green, takes readers on a sci-fi adventure, tackling social media obsession and global humanity. Dutton via AP
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What if a huge, stagnant robot appeared out of nowhere on the streets of New York City? And what if you were the key to solving the mystery of what it wants? Hank Green takes readers on a sci-fi adventure, tackling issues such as social media obsession and global humanity in his novel, “An Absolutely Remarkable Thing.”

April May pays her dues working at a Manhattan-based startup by logging in a ton of hours. So it’s no surprise why she stumbles into a 10-foot-tall Transformer-style robot on the sidewalk at 3 o’clock in the morning. What is surprising is the robot seems to have materialized out of thin air.

Baffled by the presumable piece of art before her, April calls her best friend Andy to come and see the robot. Andy videotapes April with the structure, whom she affectionately names Carl, and uploads the project. The next day, both are dumbfounded to learn that the video went viral. They are overnight sensations, and when the world discovers that other cities have their own “Carls,” April is thrust into the spotlight as an expert.

Of course, every coin has a flip side. While some find the Carls intriguing and mysterious, eager to solve why they are here, others consider them a threat. April finds herself in a media whirlwind defending the robots, the possibility of aliens, humanity and her personal life. She begins to crack under the pressure of social media, fear and uncertainty. The only thing that anchors her to the real world is a tight group of trusted friends and a unique challenge presented to her by Carl.

News for those who live, work and play in Brooklyn and beyond

“An Absolutely Remarkable Thing” is a thrilling journey that takes a hard look at the power of fame and our willingness to separate a person from the brand. Green manages to blend humor, mystery and science fiction in his fast-paced debut novel.

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