Stupid Perfect World

March 22, 2018

Author: Scott Westerfeld.


In this future-set novella by bestselling author Scott Westerfeld, Kieran Black lives in a “perfect” world. Disease and starvation have been eradicated, sleep is unnecessary, and it takes no time at all to go from the Bahamas to the moon. But now Kieran has to take Scarcity, a class about how people lived in the bad old days. And as if sitting through an hour of Scarcity every day wasn’t depressing enough, it’s final projects time. Each student must choose some form of ancient hardship to experience for two whole weeks. Kieran chooses having to sleep eight hours a night, which doesn’t seem too annoying.

Maria Borsotti has never thought much of Kieran, but she decides to take pity on him and help him out with his project. Soon, Kieran is sleeping and having vivid dreams, while Maria, whose Scarcity project is to give up all teenage hormone regulation, is experiencing emotions she never knew she had. As their assignments draw them closer together, they begin to wonder if the olden days weren’t so bad. Maybe something has been missing from their perfect lives after all?

(Published Summary)

My Thoughts:

Is this what you call romantic comedy? Hmm… Anyway, Stupid Perfect World is a silly little novella set in the far future where “every problem has been solved”. Everyone’s hooked up to the internet constantly, everyone can teleport anywhere in an instant, and no one gets sick or has to sleep (that sounds pretty good, actually).

Since the focus isn’t on the sci-fi, there’s no explanation of the new tech and no exploration of what adult life in this world is. Rather, the story is just two teenagers and their school project. Maria is giving up hormonal regulation, and Kieran is going back to sleeping at night for his project. As you can imagine, hi-jinks ensue, as Kieran is introduced to the wonderful world of sleep-deprivation, tossing and turning at night, and dreams; at the exact same time as Maria is learning what it’s really like for us to be teenagers for the first time. The actual story is barely forty pages long, so that’s all it is: one science project report. There’s not much to it, but it is funny.

Content Review:

Sexual Content: “Sixteen is too young to have a bed in your room” and the father goes on to ask if there are any girls he’s seeing right now.

Language: 4 scatological terms.

Violence: None.

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