Jukebooks: While We Run by Karen Healey


They always wanted me to sing “Here Comes the Sun.”

It used to be one of my favorite Beatles songs. The lyrics capture so simply the longing for light. The singer talks about the cold, the ice that hasn’t melted in a long time, but he repeats over and over that the sun is coming home.

In 1969, over a hundred and fifty years ago, George Harrison was having a hard winter. He’d been arrested, he’d had his tonsils removed, and he was being forced to comply with the corporate demands of the Beatles’ recording company. He’d even temporarily quit the band.

Then, one winter’s day, he walked around a friend’s backyard with an acoustic guitar and wrote “Here Comes the Sun.”

While We RunIn 2128, Abdi Taalib sings this song with Tegan Oglietti. It should have been impossible, because Tegan had died one hundred years earlier. But thanks to cryonic suspension, Tegan was revived to have a second chance at life. It turns out to be a harrowing second chance. In this sequel to Healy’s When We Wake, Tegan’s friend Abdi takes over the narration. Both teens are coerced to sell  cryosuspension as an option for the world’s desperately poor.  The sales pitch is that refugees in this world can be frozen, sent off on a starship bound for a shining new world, and start afresh. It’s all a terrible lie.

“Here Comes the Sun” is one of the few recorded Beatles songs written by George Harrison. In his autobiography he describes writing the song, exactly as Abdi tells it. He wrote the song in Eric Clapton’s garden. Interestingly, particularly in context to this story, “Here Comes the Sun” was considered for inclusion on a Voyager Golden Record.

2 thoughts on “Jukebooks: While We Run by Karen Healey”

    1. These are gorgeous photos, right? Thank you, Rendersen 25 on YouTube.

      That song works so perfectly to juxtapose Abdi’s internal anguish with the artificial zeal he must project. When he comments that they always want him to sing “Here Comes the Sun,” the reader can feel how wrenching it is to use one of his favorite Beatles’ songs to lure people to their deaths. Very nicely done!

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