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Literature / On the Edge of Gone

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"Whether someone is useful only matters if you value people by their use."

January 29, 2035.

That’s the day the comet is scheduled to hit—the big one. Denise and her mother and sister, Iris, have been assigned to a temporary shelter near their hometown of Amsterdam to wait out the blast, but Iris is nowhere to be found, and at the rate Denise’s drug-addicted mother is going, they’ll never reach the shelter in time.

Then a last-minute encounter leads them to something better than a temporary shelter: a Generation Ship that’s scheduled to leave Earth behind and colonize new worlds after the comet hits. But each passenger must have a practical skill to contribute. Denise is autistic and fears that she’ll never be allowed to stay. Can she obtain a spot before the ship takes flight? What about her mother and sister?

When the future of the human race is at stake, whose lives matter most?


On the Edge of Gone is the second novel by Corinne Duyvis, after Otherbound.

This series provides examples of:

  • Addled Addict: Denise's mother. Her drug problems cause Denise and Iris no short amount of grief. In fact, her very first scene involves wanting a fix, which ends up delaying her and Denise's chances of making it to a shelter on time.
  • Apocalypse How: With a comet impact causing something analogous to nuclear winter, but with some hope for the future. With the Low Countries in particular being flooded.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Denise and her mom get on the ship, but Iris decides to stay behind to help the other survivors. There's hope that in a year the ship will touch down and she'll be able to see her sister again.
  • Brutal Honesty: Ms. Maasland and Captain van Zand, about their limited ability to take in people, and how much Denise and her mother have to contribute.
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  • Child Prodigy: For once in a story about autism, averted. Denise is clever and determined, but she's also a high-school student with no special gift to justify her inclusion on a generation ship.
  • Cold Equation: The generation ships can only hold a limited number of people, which forces these to be made in regards to every person. This gets deconstructed as the book goes on, as it's shown that there is no real equation for who will be useful in an unprecedented situation, and a lot of the initial assumptions are disproven.
  • Disappeared Dad: Averted; their dad isn't living with them, but it's because he's taking care of his ailing parents, and the two sisters keep in regular contact with him.
  • Heroic BSoD: Denise has one when her scooter runs out of power on her way back to the ship.
  • Literal-Minded: Denise gets metaphors, but admits it took her a while growing up, and she occasionally still thinks about them and how odd they can be when she hears one.
  • Mauve Shirt: Mirjam gets a lot of characterization, but ultimately dies.
  • Mercy Kill: Because they don't have resources to save them, the animal shelter Denise volunteers at puts all their animals down to spare them from a much worse death when the meteor hits.
  • Mistaken for Romance: Max and Sanne, by Denise. Nope, her attitude towards Denise isn't because she considers her a romantic rival.
  • No Antagonist: Characters all have their own motives throughout the story, but there's no true antagonist.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • When Denise realizes Iris had stockpiled the washed-away barrels in the stadium.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Captain van Zand is really not happy about any part of the situation, but is willing to listen to others and even help out, so long as it doesn't threaten the community he is personally responsible for.
  • Sensory Overload: Happens to Denise a few times, mostly when she's already stressed everything becomes too loud and too bright to deal with. Her mother is used to her wanting to lie down in the dark and collect herself.