Is Pollen a prediction of things to come?
Reading Pollen is a bit of an adventure. The novel plunges in to the world of New Hanoi, a city set in the indeterminate future. The future seems to be what one would hope for, with dazzling levels of every kind of technology you could want. However, the future also has what we fear most – the destruction of the natural environment and food resources. In a world where apps can change every aspect of your physical appearance, and information is circulated in a free-for-all manner, basic things like sugar are heavily rationed and protected. We meet Rome Shackleton an ordinary café owner with an extraordinary past, and Shunka, a spunky teenager living in New Tokyo, with lethal martial arts training. Rome and Shunka live on opposite sides of the city walls. These walls are meant to protect them from the outside world, but Rome and Shunka start questioning whether the walls are really meant to keep them trapped inside.
Pollen has a gritty realistic feel to it; it makes you think that this is a future that has disturbing potential to become our eventual reality. With technology reaching new levels of intrusiveness into people’s private lives, this novel makes you question how much invasiveness we are willing to put up with. An extraordinarily well-thought out novel, Pollen is a fast-paced and addictive read.